SAP Commissions
Transition from Callidus/SAP Commissions to SuccessFactors Incentive Management on HANA
Navigating the Transition from SAP Commissions to SAP HANA

Table Of Contents

A few years back SAP acquired Callidus Software Inc., transforming CallidusCloud to SAP Commissions. The platform, based on Oracle, Informatica, and Unix, was an ICm workhorse at that time, but as part of the acquisition SAP has decided to rewrite the old code one-to-one in SAP’s environment. While this initial step did the job, it wasn’t precisely optimized.

It became clear that direct rewriting was not the best approach as customers were grappling with stability and performance issues. Not only that—the old Oracle-based version of the platform is still present, if not dominant, across the customer base, leading SAP to embark on another architectural overhaul. This time SAP has rewritten the code into microservices, moved the data integration layer into the datasphere, and adopted native SAP cloud reporting. In product terms, SAP Commissions was moved to SuccessFactors Incentive Management on HANA.

Introducing the new architecture SAP announced that the oldest architecture would be operational but would no longer be supported by September 2026. This leaves customers with a tough decision: migrate to SuccessFactors Incentive Management on HANA or consider alternative vendors.

Migration Considerations

Migrating to the new SAP platform isn’t a simple one-to-one switch. While organizations can migrate repositories and compensation rules, everything else—data integration, reporting, approval workflows—requires manual rewriting.

The lack of a Landing Pad, an intermediate data processing stage, makes migrating data integration and reporting to SAP HANA particularly difficult. Since there’s no Landing Pad in the new architecture, organizations relying heavily on this Oracle/Informatica/Unix service must find a new way to process the data.

On the other hand, SAP may offer an appealing financial package for a specific group of enterprise customers. Moving to SuccessFactors Incentive Management on HANA makes perfect sense if an organization has excellent internal skills to operate that system and doesn’t have significant data integration components to migrate.

Some businesses might find that exploring other options makes more financial sense, considering the total ROI. The old Callidus software, while powerful, has a steep learning curve. Though perhaps not as powerful, modern solutions offer enough functionality with quicker, easier operations. Experienced integrators, like Sands Partners, can make that migration a much more streamlined process and in the end provide a cost effective and easy to operate solution.

Evaluating Migration Options

When evaluating migration options, it’s essential to consider several key factors to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Assessing Current and Future Requirements

  • Evaluate current system performance and future needs.
  • Compare SAP’s new platform with modern Incentive Compensation Management solutions like Captivate IQ, Varicent, Xactly, or others
  • Note that these alternatives may not have exactly the same features as  SAP, but usually can provide necessary functionality with less hassle.

Budget and Cost Analysis

Skillset and Training Needs

  • Identify the skill sets required for the new system.
  • Plan for necessary training or hiring.
  • The transition might be smoother if your team is already skilled in SAP. Otherwise, the learning curve could be steep, and training costs could escalate.

System Audit and Workflow Optimization

  • Perform a detailed audit of your existing systems and workflows to understand the scope of required changes.
  •  This step is crucial whether you stick with SAP or move to a new vendor.

Testing and Implementation Strategy

  • Develop a robust testing strategy to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption.
  • Plan to run parallel systems for a while to verify that the new setup produces the same results as the old one.
  • Make sure the cost of parallel runs is taken into account in overall ROI calculation.

Exploring Modern ICM Solutions

Look into modern ICM solutions like Captivate IQ, Varicent, Xactly and others

These platforms may not match SAP’s power in some aspects. but offer significant advantages in ease of use and implementation speed. Modern systems can process calculations in near real-time, a stark contrast to Callidus’s batch processing.

To properly evaluate alternatives, initiate a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. This helps to compare functionalities of different software packages in your specific scenario, ensuring you choose a solution that best fits your needs.

Decision-Making Criteria

Consider the importance of data integration and reporting in your decision process. If your current system relies heavily on these components, migrating to SAP’s new platform could be more challenging. In such cases, an alternative solution might be more practical. In case when your solution relies mostly on SAP’s calculation engine and your team is proficient in the good old Callidus rule writing, it makes perfect sense to stay with SAP.

Think about your future business plans. Do you aim for self-sufficiency, or are you comfortable relying on external vendors? Are you planning to implement aggressive compensation strategies that require frequent changes? Your answers will guide your decision.


Migrating from SAP Commissions to SuccessFactors Incentive Management on HANA or considering alternative ICM solutions is a significant decision with far-reaching implications. You can navigate this transition smoothly by thoroughly evaluating your needs, assessing costs, and planning meticulously. Whether you stick with SAP or explore new vendors, ensure your choice aligns with your strategic objectives and operational requirements.

If you’re unsure what the next step should be, consider auditing your existing infrastructure with Sands Partners. We can help you make the right choice and are fully capable of migrating to SAP HANA and other ICM vendors.

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