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Workflow tools

This section gives a very brief outline of Workflow tools, which, with exceptions, are embedded within SAP NetWeaver.
Recently, there have been many questions about workflow capabilities in SAP NetWeaver; what options we have, the difference between the tools, when to use which tool. Therefore, this page is created in order to share thoughts on our workflow tools.

When some business process experts hear the word workflow, they immediately think SAP Business Workflow. However, when other people hear the word workflow, they may think of other SAP tools, or even non-SAP tools that your company uses to model, design, and implement workflow.

When you hear the word workflow, do you think of design time/modeling activities, or do you think of runtime capabilities as well? Whatever you think of, we've got the tool that you can use to help you in the definition of your workflows. We will divide the tools into the following categories: human to human, human to system, system to system, and modeling tools.

A few ground rules before we begin:

  • Each tool will be discussed BRIEFLY. If you are the expert in the tool, please add to the content - that's the point of wiki!
  • There are sub-pages for each tool. If you have good FAQ's for that subarea, please create a page for specific FAQs. We have already started one for Universal Worklist. You can update existing FAQs and add new pages as well.
  • For each tool we will list one to three advantages, implementation considerations, and example business scenarios. These are all according to opinion. Feel free to disagree, but be nice about it.
  • Please respond with how you have used the tools and even how you would like to see our toolset expand and change in the future.

Task-oriented Process Automation

Now let's see the list of different tools. The first list contains task-oriented process automation tools:

BPEL Process Automation

The next tool is focused on BPEL processes, i.e. SOA processes in a system integration environment.

Business-level Modeling

And the following tool focuses on business level modeling, that is the description of the process and its goals without process automation.



Collaboration Tasks

Guided Procedure

SAP Workflow

Business Process Management (as part of SAP XI/PI)

Universal Worklist (UWL)


- user-centric
- ad-hoc processes

- user-centric
- departmental processes

- data- and application-centric
- company-wide processes

- system-centric
- cross-company processes

tasks and notifications from all kinds of process types

involved systems

- client-PCs of end-user and a few colleagues
- one SAP-Systems

- clients-PCs of a department
- cross-application

- clients of an enterprise
- one or a few SAP-Systems

- clients of one or more enterprises (partner, customer, supplier) 
- cross-application and cross-system

any kind of system interacting with an user

implementation done by


end-user, power-user, IT-Department 




technology available since

SAP NW 2004

SAP NW 2004s SP7

since SAP R/3

SAP NW 2004

SAP Enterprise Portal

definition of the process






Design Environment

SAP NetWeaver Portal and Visual Composer (single point of work)

SAP NetWeaver Portal and Visual Composer (single point of work)

scattered over different Transactions in SAP ERP 6.0 e.g. SWDD-Workflow Builder

SAP XI/PI BPM-Component

SAP Enterprise Portal/
SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio (iView)

Runtime Environment

SAP NetWeaver Portal

SAP NetWeaver Portal and SAP Workflow Engine (Application Server)

SAP Workflow Engine (Application Server)

SAP XI/PI BPM-Component

SAP NetWeaver Portal


easy to setup

-easy to setup
-process status and history always available

extensive monitoring and reporting tools

-extensive monitoring and reporting tools
-excellent connectivity due to usage of Integration-Platform

- single entry of all requests (tasks, notifications, ...) to an user


limited functionality

limited monitoring and reporting functionality

complex implementation

complex implementation

not supported without Portal installation

Other information

An overview of business process that come with SAP standard delivery can be found in the Solutions Manager.

In addition there is a business process management toolset used by SAP Research for validating their research and creating fast prototypes of methodologies. Names associated with this are BPMS (from SAP Research) and Nehemiah. It is is not part of SAP NetWeaver or any product, because the focus is research.