Defining Metadata Framework (MDF) objects

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Understand the Metadata Framework to maintain (MDF) objects
  • Enable MDF and assign permissions for access

MDF Overview

Metadata Framework (MDF) is a platform functionality that allows extension to existing SuccessFactors HCM suite capabilities. MDF has capabilities to add new custom objects and maintain existing objects called Generic Objects. 

With MDF, you can create and manage objects, link them, or even create a hierarchy of objects. MDF is well integrated with workflow, rules engine, and reporting. It also has inbuilt capabilities like support for importing and exporting records, and security with Role Based Permissions (RBP). This means any of the objects available within MDF have all these features. You then have different ways to manage data the way you want. For example, using Import/Export, a UI, or oData. You also have ability to control who gets access to these objects.

The manage data tool allows system administrators to better understand and manage the data volume consumption of MDF objects in the system. They can also rely on the statistics to decide whether and when to purge MDF data.

The data volume information is collected periodically for every company in the production environment and is available for viewing with proper permission. Alternatively, you can also export the data volume information with Import and Export Data.

The data volume information is collected periodically for every company in the production environment and is available for viewing with proper permission. Alternatively, you can also export the data volume information with Import and Export Data.

  • MDF Audit Data Volume: Use this object to check the volumes of audit data available for a given MDF object.
  • MDF Association Data Volume: Use this object to check the volumes of association data available for a given MDF object.
  • MDF Transactional Data Volume: Use this object to check the volumes of transactional data available for a given MDF object. Transactional data refers to the day-to-day business data that's available in a system.

Using MDF, you can easily extend Employee Central (EC) entities for customers. It allows you to customize objects and behavior needed to meet customer needs. Several key applications of SAP SuccessFactors suite like Position Management, Time Off, and Manage Business Configuration (BCUI) are built using MDF capabilities.

The tools used to manage MDF Objects are available at Admin Center.

Administrators are able to create 250 custom MDF objects by default. This limit can be raised to 400 from Provisioning → Company Settings.

MDF components

MDF has several different layers. The most basic layer is the Object  Definition. This is where all the configuration decisions for an object is made and where the  object is "built". Object behavior, fields, associations, and security are all set within the object  definition. 

Once the object definition is built, you can then add business logic to the object. This is done using Business Rules. Business Rules can be used to default data, set values based on data chosen, raise informational or error messages, and trigger actions to occur when data records are saved or deleted.

Once the object is built and business logic is integrated, you can start toimport, create, and manage data related to that object.

Finally, you can create different "views" or UI’s for your object. Within the Configuration UI, you can change the layout of the object, add or remove fields, update labels, and add text or hyperlinks to the object view.

Enabling MDF and granting permissions

Enabling MDF

To enable MDF, go to Provisioning → Company Settings.

  • Select the Enable Generic Objects checkbox.

  • Select the Enable the Attachment Manager checkbox.

Scroll up to the top of the screen and select Save Feature.

If you want to use other related features, such as workflows and Rules you must also enable the following features from Provisioning:

  • Employee Central Foundation Objects

  • Effective Dated Data Platform

  • Enable Business Rules for Workflow Derivation

Do not turn on these switches in Provisioning for your THR80 training instance as it will interfere with completion of the labs. For example, employee imports work differently when Employee Central is active.

Grant Permissions

Access to tools to manage MDF configuration and Data is controlled by (RBP). Once MDF is enabled you need to grant access to it by granting specific RBP permissions.

  1. Use the Action Search to navigate to theManage Permission Roles.

  2. Choose an existing role or create a new Permission Role.

  3. Click Next

Navigate to the Metadata Framework section and choose all permissions you would like to grant to that role. To learn more about these permissions you can review the following guide on the SAP Help Portal:

  • Configure Object Definitions: You need this permission to be able to create rule types and lookup tables.

  • Access to Business Rule Execution Log: You need this permission to be able to access the log that shows how business rules are executed.

  • Configure Business Rules: This is the only permission used directly for the Rule Engine. You need this authorization to be able to access the Rules Engine UI.

  • Manage Data:

    You need this permission to be able to create MessageDefinitions for raising messages.

    Manage Sequence: You need this permission to be able to create Sequence objects for defining sequences.

    Both MessageDefinitions and Sequence objects are MDF objects.

  • Import permission on Metadata Framework: You need this permission to be able to import and export data for generic objects or business rules using the Import and Export Data link in the Admin Center.

Note
There are other RBP sections that allow a user to work with objects that have been built using MDF (for example, Miscellaneous Permissions or Manage Time Off). Some of these permissions like Manage Position might not be available for you if related features are not enabled from Provisioning.
  1. In the Miscellaneous Permissions section, you can grant access to tools that manage data, as well as the ability to view, edit, import, and export data for specific MDF objects. There is also an option ‘Field Level Overrides’ to define a more restrictive permissions (no access or read only) on specific fields for an object. To learn more about these permissions you can review the following guide on the SAP Help Portal and related KBA (SAP Knowledge Base Article):

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