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University of Toronto: 
Modernizing HR to enhance employee experiences

Explore the University of Toronto’s journey with SAP

When the University of Toronto began its digital transformation, it knew the value of modernizing HR. The University deployed SAP S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors solutions to update its talent management suite and enhance the employee experience. Now, employees save time and effort using SAP solutions for core HR, research, and finance functions.



improvement in financial month-end closing time.



faster general batch processing.


minute to run custom reports that used to time out at 15 minutes.

The conversion to SAP S/4HANA provides this institution with a robust digital foundation for the future. The idea of creating an intelligent enterprise with an optimal employee experience and an integrated platform experience was why we selected SAP SuccessFactors solutions.

Cathy Eberts
Director – Enterprise Applications and Deputy CIO
University of Toronto

The Challenge

Reshaping talent management and decision-making for the future

Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has since evolved into the largest university in Canada, leading the way in learning, discovery, and knowledge creation. With a strong focus on innovation, it offers diverse and extensive areas of study organised around intimate learning communities.

To support such a vibrant ecosystem of students, scholars, and alumni, the University’s technology services division maintains core business processes and systems across finance, HR, and research administration, connecting approximately 33,000 users to a wide variety of services. These include employee self-services and online applications for research administration, payroll processing, and financial and procurement decisions.

After launching the “Towards 2030” plan to enhance and strengthen its standing as a globally ranked research powerhouse, the University needed to align its technology foundation to this vision.

With support for its legacy software environment coming to an end, the University of Toronto began an extensive review process. External consultants engaged with staff and academics from the university’s governance structure to listen to their needs. Based on those needs, the University decided it needed to migrate its administration management systems from the SAP ERP application to SAP S/4HANA and adopt SAP SuccessFactors solutions.  

Adopting SAP SuccessFactors solutions has been a monumental game charger for us, dramatically improving the employee experience and elevating HR as a single strategic partner in our organisation.

Cherilyn Nobleza
Executive Director, HR Transformation and Analytics, Division of HR and Equity
University of Toronto

The Solution

Improving performance and paving the way for continued modernization

Embarking on its three-to-five-year enterprise modernization program to transform core HR, research, and finance systems as well as its entire talent management suite, the University of Toronto migrated these systems to Microsoft Azure in advance of its move to an intelligent infrastructure for ERP.


For its system conversion to SAP S/4HANA, the University took advantage of the SAP Early Adopter Care program, which provided access to a project coach. This coach helped minimise project risk by identifying specific conversion and integration preparation steps.


To support its “Towards 2030” plan, the University also needed to transform the role of HR. For this, it needed to automate transactions that consumed HR resources, freeing them to focus on acquiring and developing the best talent to realise business objectives.


With 116,000 vacation requests annually, this and other routine HR processes, such as timesheets, required a substantial amount of human effort to process paper-based tasks. To digitalise these and other talent management processes, the University adopted the SAP SuccessFactors portfolio. This included adopting the SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals, SAP SuccessFactors Learning, and SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solutions.


Read how the University of Toronto is using change management to transform HR


Listen to a podcast on how University of Toronto drove SAP SuccessFactors adoption through a strong change management plan

The Result

Delivering a competitive employee experience from hire to retire

With the move to SAP S/4HANA, the University of Toronto’s financial month-end closing process completes in half the time. Batch processing runs 25% faster, and some customised reports are now available more than 90% faster than before. No fewer than 10 systems have been decommissioned to create an optimised landscape and reduce costs. At the same time, by providing a consistent, intuitive, and streamlined user experience from hire to retire, the University now has a single point of access to its suite of powerful talent management solutions.


By consolidating disparate learning applications onto a single, unified learning management system with SAP SuccessFactors Learning, the University better supports employee training and compliance. With this modern learning management system, the University also leads the way in educating its people on the digital workplace and identifying the skills it needs in future people leaders. This approach aligns with the institution’s business strategy and employees’ personal learning goals and elevates HR to a strategic business partner.


SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals has made performance assessments a more meaningful experience at the University. With this intuitive solution, employees summarize their annual achievements and identify other coworkers and managers who should be consulted as part of the performance evaluation. An automated workflow communicates with these coworkers, which speeds up the request for and submission of this feedback as part of the finalized assessment and eliminates 100% of the manual work.


The University has always had a longstanding reputation as an employer of choice, attracting more than 150,000 applicants from around the world each year. Using SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting better supports recruitment efforts through direct integration with the University’s HR information system. The solution also provides a smooth and responsive user interface for recruiters and hiring managers, as well as a simplified application process for applicants.

Future Plans

Planning for a post-pandemic university life

The University of Toronto is looking ahead to its post-pandemic workforce and academic structure, supporting more automation and digital collaboration as part of its strategic priorities.


The University plans to implement the SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central solution and integrate it with its suite of existing SAP SuccessFactors solutions. This will create one source of truth for all employee data and an intuitive platform for HR analytics and reporting.


Also on the horizon is a project to roll out the SAP SuccessFactors Succession & Development solution. The plan is to accelerate the advancement of individuals and talent pipelines calibrated for particular roles with targeted pipelines supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion priorities.


In a world where many recruitment processes are likely to remain virtual and online, adopting electronic signatures will be crucial. The University hopes to integrate the SAP Signature Management application by DocuSign to make e-signature offers to candidates using SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting.


With its core systems upgraded to SAP S/4HANA, and improved speed and reporting capabilities for its core HR and research information systems, the University of Toronto has a solid foundation for the future. This will empower the University to innovate with modern technologies and take advantage of data-driven decision-making.

SAP helps the University of Toronto run better

Key business outcomes and benefits

  • Created a foundation for modernizing core operational performance, eliminating manual processes and paper-based systems
  • Streamlined the user experience for employees and administration staff from hire to retire using integrated HR solutions in the cloud
  • Established a harmonised and streamlined employee experience using advanced and integrated digital HR solutions
  • Gained the ability to save an expected $1.5 million from automating vacation request processes

Featured solutions and services

  • SAP SuccessFactors solutions help enhance the employee experience with people-centric solutions designed around the needs and goals of your unique workforce.
  • SAP S/4HANA provides a foundation for digital transformation with an intelligent ERP that integrates with core business solutions and intelligent technology.

About the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is the largest university in Canada and has led the way in learning, discovery, and knowledge since 1827. The University has a significant impact locally and globally with more than 560,000 accomplished alumni around the world.

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