SAP Business Workflow
What it is
SAP Business Workflow is a workflow management system that comes delivered with every SAP NetWeaver Application Server. The tool enables you to engineer repeatable business processes that follow specific business rules, including rules for routing each task to the right person.
- Many SAP applications deliver workflows as content with the SAP application. ERP, CRM, SRM are examples of SAP applications that provide ready-to-use workflows. You can change these workflows to reflect your company processes by using the graphical workflow builder or build your own from scratch.
- SAP Workflow is used to automate the Business process and it also takes care that the right person performs the right action at the right time. It takes care of the overhead spent in looking for the right approver to approve one request(E.g.: Purchase Order). Think that we have raised a Purchase Order and we don't know who will release the Purchase Order for a particular Release Code. If this would have been done manually you had to search the person who is responsible to release the PO and you would have wasted a lot of time. Workflow automates the process and the PO automatically appears in the SAP Inbox of right approver.
- You can do detailed reporting on the process itself. For example, reporting on how many times each workflow executed, what was the average execution time, how long did it take people to react to items in their inbox, etc.
- There is a great deal of knowledge available on business workflow. There are more than 5,000 members in the Americas' SAP User Group. I do not have statistics on how many members are in other regions' user groups.
- You need upper-management support for a business workflow project to be successful. SAP Business Workflow will change how business processes are executed, for it to be successful you must have appropriate management support.
- SAP Business Workflow works best with functions inside of one SAP system. It can do external calls, and Universal Worklist can be used to enhance external service calls, however, most customers use SAP Business Workflow to manage specific business processes that occur frequently in one SAP application.
Example business scenarios
- Approval processes, such as purchase requisition, purchase order, and invoice approval.
- Processes that are repeated often and that must follow specific business rules. For example, for each employee new hire, a specific process must be executed for each new hire.
Another example is business partner creation. After each business partner is created you need to set up additional information such as credit limit, contact information, and technical information for data exchange with the business partner.
Yet another example would be follow-on activities after creating a material, perhaps you need a plant views in different country. Each plant is responsible to add the relevant plant view information.
- Processes that could be audited, or areas where you want proof of execution for Sarbanes Oxley compliance, or other government or corporate policy regulations.
- Travel and Expense Workflow. This Workflow is very useful and will attract a lot of professional because this Workflow is used in a day to day basis and does not require much explanation. Employee first creates a Travel Request and Workflow sends this Request to the Line Manager for approval. If the Line Manager does not action on this this Request is send to the Line Manager of the Line Manager as an Escalation mail to approve. This process continues unless someone approves or rejects. If the approver approves then the amount is checked whether the amount is within the authorization level of the Manager´s approval. If yes a notification mail is sent to the Initiator that the request has been approved. If not it goes to the upper level Line Manager for approval. If at any point of time Manager rejects the request he has to give an explanation as to why he has rejected it. The rejection reason is sent to the initiator after which he can either modify the request or discard the request. At any point of time the Initiator can change the Trip for which the existing Workflow instance will end and a new Workflow Instance will start. This takes care of the real life scenario of manually approving the trip from standard transaction and also the initiator realizing some claims was missing that can be appended in it.
- Wf-XML 1.1
Where to get more information
- At help.sap.com you can find great information and tutorials.
- Each region offers training classes in workflow. BIT600 and BIT601 are great starting points.