N/A is a reserved value in the SuccessFactors Application used in reporting to find records that are blank in system and custom fields. We cannot remove this system value from report filters.
For this reason we recommend that you should not use N/A in any fields when you want to indicate that it is not applicable for this person. Also we recommend that you do NOT leave fields blank. N/A is a default custom field value to help you find blank rows in a custom field. N/A = “” when they do exist.
To illustrate this functionality, consider one of the CUSTOM fields in your user file that you have never used before and where no data exists in the column. Even though you will note that no-one has any value, if that field was to be enabled as a filter field, the filter would by default already include the value N/A in the drop down.
If by chance you did enter the value N/A for people's records, this is recognized NOT as the letters N/A, but as a blank record and can lead to erroneous results in reports and when creating forms.
- You use the field CUSTOM09 for Favorite color.
- You import values for people (such as black, white, red etc.) but some people have no favorite color.
- When importing data rather than leaving the field blank for them, enter some other value. Any value other than N/A is acceptable. For example use "None".
- If no-one had a value in this field, then selecting N/A would find everyone since no one has data in CUSTOM and N/A represents a blank field..
- If everyone had a value in this field, then selecting N/A would find no-one, as everyone has a value.
- If some people had values, and some people had blank values, then selecting N/A would find only those people that were blank records.
To illustrate this point further consider this example. If there was only one person in CUSTOM09 that had any value, and that value was N/A, and you then ran a report selecting N/A for CUSTOM09, you might expect to get just one result; that being the record of the one person you set as N/A.
The reality is that since N/A represents "", what you will actually get is EVERYONE in the results as opposed to just the one record you expected.
Rather than use N/A, if you changed this one person and set the value as "None" or "n/a" (any value other than N/A, and re-ran the report, then in the report filter you will now see the new value populated in the dropdown. So in addition to N/A you will now see the value "None". If you selected None, then now you will only get one record returned in the results, the one user you set to "None".
It is for these reasons that we recommend you never leave fields blank, and never use N/A as a value. That makes the dropdown values in your reports much more intuitive, as now users can select values where every value represents a real value within the data. Even if a person selected N/A by accident in the report filter, that would match nobody since no-one has a blank field anymore.
Entering values for everyone in all fields also makes setting permissions more definitive, as everyone has a value. To prevent someone from seeing "None" in reports you can remove reporting permission for the value "None".
Blank fields are acceptable, and will be found using N/A, however we find tht the use of blank fields and using N/A may cause some confusion in expected results for those that are unaware of the above parameters. It may also result in forms not being created via the Mass Create Form Scheduler for people you assumed met the filter options.
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