SAP Workflow

Why use SAP Workflow?

SAP Workflow ensures " the right work is brought in the right sequence at the right time to the right people". It is a tool designed to facilitate and automate business processes that require tasks to be performed by people. Ideal for casual or non-SAP users, since all the work items can be performed outside of SAP by simply responding to an email, SAP workflow can be linked to Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes. Each step of a business transaction can be easily monitored and processes are completed from the beginning to the end. Workflow allows process owners to keep an eye on deadlines, provides statistics on the length of time to complete work processes, determine the workload with regard to individual employees and save processing time.

Since Workflow delivers work items to employees automatically via email, they do not have to wait or inquire about the status of a particular transaction. SAP Business Workflow can also be used to respond to errors and exceptions - it can start when predefined events occur. For example, an event can be triggered if particular errors are found during an automatic check of the data. SAP workflow is particularly useful when there is a business process involving more than one person, when an automatic notification can replace a manual communication and when there is a defined set of individuals and/or documents implicated. It organizes one's work, alerts users and directs traffic by sending work items - once the user executes the work item, then another one can be sent to another user. For example, a Manager could use workflow to approve a vacation request from an employee. The workflow application would ensure that each person involved uses the correct online form and successfully completes their step before the planned leave was entered into SAP - either by an Administrator or automatically. By the same token, if someone registers for a training class, Workflow can act as an alert tool by notifying the supervisor in question or reminding the individual of an upcoming class.

Benefits of SAP Workflow

Although the advantages gained by using workflow are not of financial nature, the time saved by optimizing processes could easily be translated into money. - The quality of your processes will be assured by sending relevant information directly to the user. Managers don't have the time to search for information. For example if an employee obtains a qualification as a result of hard work or training, their Managers can be notified immediately. - Cycle time is reduced by providing all the necessary information needed: people can check their list of pending tasks and determine which tasks can be completed the next day without any negative impact. I.e. A Payroll Administrator might be notified immediately of an employee address change via ESS that might implicate taxes. - Workflow allows to monitor deadlines.

It could be used to remind employees of upcoming performance reviews or training or to send payroll year-end tasks items to the relevant Payroll Administrators. Deadline handing ensures that users perform the tasks within the time planned. Escalation measures ensure that the failure to meet a deadline can be corrected by other means. - Users can see at a glance how the process works and who will be selected to perform the different tasks, which creates a transparent work environment. - SAP contains Workflow templates, which can be used as a reference providing more than 200 Workflow samples. - Implementing Workflow will save costs. Ask yourself how much time is spent gathering information, getting hold of people, logging into different systems and trying to understand who to give a task to? How often does this current process fail and how labor intensive is it to fix it? Workflow reduces time and effort spent and the savings in days can be considerable.

Looking ahead…

Workflow is becoming more and more web-oriented which allows external business partners to receive notifications. Companies can adopt Workflow together with "Webflow" where workflows can be initiated via Internet transactions and where different external business partners can receive notifications sent by the workflow. The Web inbox offers access to partner companies logging on to your Web portal and it refreshes itself automatically. Any type of work item can be executed directly from a centralized list of work items, no matter what graphical user interface is needed to run it. Webflow is particularly useful when a company deals with outside partners using different software platforms.

Workflows can make an ERP system more efficient by automating situations in which work processes have to be run through repeatedly, or situations in which the business process requires the involvement of a large number of agents in a specific sequence. It is essential that the Workflow consultant is an expert in ABAP development or has access to ABAP programmers since a good deal of the work is technical. You will also need someone familiar with Lotus Notes / Outlook concepts and development in order to create the interfaces between the systems. The Workflow consultant should also have experience in installing and integrating efficient electronic archive systems.

Prerequisites

Good knowledge in ABAP programming.

Topics Covered:

Workflow Introduction

Workflow Architecture

Creating Task

Organization Structure

Agent Assignment Techniques

Workflow Runtime Tools

Basic Step Types

Special Step Types and Methods of Processing

Deadline Monitoring

Workflow Log

Workflow Customization

Consistency Check

Business Object Repository

Workflow Reporting Tools

Containers

Events

Workflow Triggering Techniques

Testing a Workflow

Business Workplace

Trouble Shooting Workflow

Real Time Scenario's with Examples