Reducing HR Interface Creation Time From 2 Weeks to 2 Hours – Part 2

By Posted May 30th, 2014

Reducing HR Interface Creation Time From 2 Weeks to 2 Hours – Part 2

The following is the second installment of a two-part post that explains how SpinifexIT’s solutions can be used to create an interface much more quickly and easily than traditional methods. In this post, I will cover the implementation.

Let’s start with a 401K interface as an example. For a 401K interface there can be a variety of files: a census file that contains the eligible employees, a deduction file and perhaps a loan file. For the sake of brevity in this format, we will work on the census file.  I know you would probably say, “Why doesn’t he do the deduction file? That has payroll. It’s harder.”  I would agree if I were writing this in ABAP, but actually payroll deductions and pulling wage types out of the cluster is simple with Easy Reporter.  The census file actually allows me to show off more of the neat settings we have for extracting data with Easy Reporter.

Let’s take a look at the vendor’s spec for the census file.  It is a fixed length file format.

Header Records:
Company Identification code: Length (20)

Body Records:
Employee Number: Length (12) – Zero filled
Last Name: Length (40)
First Name: Length (25)
Full Time Part Time Indicator: Length (9) Values = “Full Time” or “Part Time”
Hire Date: Length (10) – Format YYYYMMDD
Eligibility Date: Length (10) – Format YYYMMDD
Employee Percentage Contribution – Number format 2 decimal places

Footer Record
Record Count

From a reporting perspective, getting the file spec out of SAP without writing an ABAP program is near impossible.  Ad hoc or SQ01 query, despite making the data accessible, do not have the facilities to get the data in an interface format let alone output one line per employee.

I’m going to break down these fields one at a time for you in Easy Reporter to show how we build the report and then we will create the interface.  Employee number, last name and first name are easy. They are a drag and drop away, so I’ll start with the Full/Part time indicator.

In most customer systems, we do not have a field that says you are “Full Time” or “Part Time”. It typically needs to be derived.  In this example, we will say this is based on employee subgroup.  If you are U1 or U4, we will say you are a full-time employee and if you are anything else, you are a part-time employee.  Easy Reporter has facilities to map the values in your system to something else. This lends itself perfectly to all the crazy interface requirements that come up.  Here we will use a mapping field to map U1 and U4 to “Full Time” and the rest of the subgroups to “Part Time”.


Now let’s work on our dates. Hire date and 401K eligibility date are stored on infotype 0041 in our example. (As an aside, it’s my opinion that, other than infotype 0105 and 0008, 0041 is the worst infotype ever created for reporting purposes). Like 0105 and 0008, we’ve solved reporting on infotype 0041.  I can take two Date Type fields from Easy Reporter and tell the fields which date type I would like it to display.  Easy as pie.


The last field we have to worry about is our contribution percentage. This is typically stored on infotype 0169. The problem is that if I wanted to use this field in a standard query tool, I could conceivably get multiple records. In addition to my 401K plan, I could have a Roth plan or something else as well.  Easy Reporter has the ability to display the information for this field based on the subtype, which (for benefits in SAP) is the plan type. You may also have a plan type for 401K as I do in this example.


So the report is actually fairly “Easy”, pun intended.  Once the report is set up the way I like it, I can start to configure my output settings.


Let’s work on the interface output. I said this was a fixed length format. Easy Reporter has the ability to export a report to a file in a few formats. One of them happens to be fixed length. I’m going to output this to my PC, but you could output this to your SAP file system as well for some middleware to pick up and send to your vendor.


Once I’m in the interface file settings, it’s as simple as setting up my file spec. In the format options, I can specify things like zero-filling my personnel number or formatting my dates as YYYYMMDD. There is a header and footer section as well (not shown here) where I can add my company number to the top and add the record count to the bottom.


Once it’s configured, all I have to do is run my report and the file output options will take effect. Below is the file that was produced with my header, body and footer. I said in my last post that the process for building interfaces goes from two weeks to two hours.  This one, while writing this blog post, took 45 minutes using Easy Reporter. Granted, this was a simple census file. Some are more complex, but some are really this simple. If this were a production environment, I’d set this to run in the background and forget about it.

I hope you’ve seen that with Easy Reporter, there are better ways to create interface files than writing code.  The ease of use and time savings is proven.  Happy reporting!