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Replacement for Costly Workflow Development

You might use SAP HRC Processes and Forms to process your online HR requests. It comes with a nice Adobe Interactive form editor and a comprehensive list of configuration options to tune up the form behavior.

The challenge is tuning up and adjusting the workflow component. Whether your processes need a minor adjustment or major reengineering, you need a help from pricey workflow developers to make a change.

To fill that gap I have created an HCM Process Manager, a comprehensive tool that business users can utilize to create a new or modify existing processes effortlessly and without costly investments into extensive workflow development effort. 

 

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HCM Process Manager Works with ECC6 HCM Processes and Forms framework

HCM Process Manager is fully integrated with the HCM Processes and Forms framework delivered by SAP with the ECC6 system.

It 100% supports all standard functionality of the HCM Processes and Forms module, plus it delivers new functionality that dramatically enhances it’s capability with a new features like intra-process integration, multi-role support, rich-media automated notifications, process “hot-fix” capability and integration with other SAP components allowing it to use the powerful new Adobe form-based request functionality. 

 

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NEW! EZ Process Designer, Process Integration, Multiple Roles, ‘Hot-Fix’ and more…

HCM Process Manager combines a state-of-the-art Process Designer tool easy to use even for a completely non-technical person, and powerful runtime engine to make processes flow smoothly and as designed. Powerful new features of the HCM Process Manager like event-based process design approach, Real-Time No-Coding Process Integration, Rich-media automated notifications, EZ Deadline monitoring, ‘Hot-Fix’ capability and other enhance standard SAP functionality and significantly reduces development and maintenance costs.

With Process Designer, Processes are modeled as series of follow-up actions assigned to events. Actions, in turn, change system status generating new event – which trigger another follow-up actions, and so on. Advanced features allow for dynamic validations to filter out suitable actions where multiple are assigned.

Example: “Form is approved” is an event. Follow-up actions can include “Process Transfer” or “Approve by executive vice-president”.

 

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Automated Rich-Media Process Notifications

Any number of notifications can be configured per every modeled event. Notifications are based on SAP Smart Forms templates and can be sent as rich HTML email messages to the recipient’s external emails.

This has an additional benefit of clearly separating notification logic from the process logic and can easily be encapsulated into small independent development items without exposing the entire process logic/data. It can be then developed/maintained using inexpensive off-shore resources

 

 

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Low-cost development/Support

The HCM Process Manager allows non-technical users to create and maintain complex business process models with minimum efforts. 

Technical development is minimal (BAdI user exits) and can be easily isolated into small independent components that can be safely delegated to inexpensive off-shore development teams.

 

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Process Linking/ Integration

One of biggest challenge I have encountered working with HCM Processes and Forms is trying to integrate two or more processes together.  Standard delivered tools only allow integration of XI scenarios, but what about two HCM processes? Or, linking eRecruitment Confirmations with an HCM Approval process?

I’ve build in this capability in the HCM Process Manager . One process can start and track any number of child processes. Process can be started and tracked by any parent object via a provided interface. An example of that integration is an approval process started by e-Recruitment confirmation activity, where child process provides feedback to the initiator (e-recruitment) allowing it to react to process events (e.g. adjust confirmation activity status to confirmed/rejected).

 

 

Detailed Overview

The HCM Process Manager allows users to group similar processes into Process Type groups and configure processing logic per Process Type in a form of ‘Event-Reaction’ pairs.

Process Type repository is a central piece of the system, providing a single reference point for the rest of the configuration.

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Existing HR Processes are assigned to one of the configured Process Types to inherit its processing logic. Process Type configuration combines Processors, Actions and Event/Follow-up Action pairs. Processing logic is defined through the Process Events and linked Follow-up Actions and Follow-Up Action Conditions, which allow a great deal of flexibility.

The resulting system is extremely flexible, however if it’s not enough, provided user-exits allow to plug-in custom logic to adjust processing logic to user’s requirements even more.

 

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A “Process Type'” object acts as a grouping parameter for HR Processes sharing the same processing logic/pattern. For Instance, all approval processes for exempt employees which follow the same logic can be combined under a common process type ‘EXEMPT APPROVALS’. All configurations can be performed at ‘PROCESS TYPE’ level, thereby providing a common logic for all included individual processes. It lets users to maintain only one configuration for ‘EXEMPT APPROVALS’ process types versus individual configurations for every associated process/scenario.

Process configuration can also include steps which are specific to a certain process included under a common process type – Process State parameter ‘Scenario’ allows to differentiate process events based on a form used.

For example: processes ‘Leave Approval’ and ‘Terminations’ are both assigned to ‘EXEMPT APPROVALS’ types, but Termination form should additionally be approved by HR Administrator, while Leave Request would require only supervisor sign-off. When any of these processes is started, created form should be sent for approval.

In this case configuration an additional scenario-specific process event ‘TERMINATION FORM CREATED’ will be created with a follow-up process defined as ‘HR Admin Approval’. At a runtime this event will only be triggered when a ‘Termination’ form is created, but will be skipped for ‘Leave Request’.

 

Runtime Processing cycle consists of four steps, as shown on the diagram below. Process is commenced when a new request is created using SAP HCM Processes and Forms tools, and continues following the four-step cycle until a follow-up action of type ‘TERMINATE’ is executed. 

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Processing logic is configured around process events – in a form of very intuitive ‘event-action’ sequences. Instead of specifying step sequences, users will describe how system should react to various process events around the HR form processing.

 

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A ‘Process Event’ in this context is a combination of: Scenario, Stage, Processor Role and Processing Status. It allows capturing a process state as a combination of these attributes, and assigning a follow-up processing to it. Any of the attributes can be omitted to consider all possible values. In the example below: ‘Scenario Step’ is set to ‘APPROVE’ and Status is ‘APPROVED’, but ‘Agent Role’ is left blank, meaning that the event APPROVED would occur when processing status is switched to ‘APPROVED’ at the ‘APPROVE’ stage by ANY processor.  

 

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Actions are defined per process type in a centralized actions repository. Configured actions can be assigned to process events as Follow-Up for Events.

 

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Follow-up Actions are assigned to a certain processor (from Processors repository), and evaluation Rule. Additionally, priority and Expiration period can be specified.

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Priority is used in conjunction with the Rule to select an appropriate follow-up action at a runtime. Rules provide formulas that are evaluated at a runtime to determine if the particular action is suitable or not. When using user rules, priority field is used to determine an order in which rules are evaluated.

Expiration date determines the action latest completion deadline. Empty value means – “No Deadline”.

If the deadline is reached, processing status ‘Final Deadline Reached’ is set and the action completes. The status can be used to configure a business event to process missed deadlines, as in the example below.

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Technical Details

The HCM Process Manager implemented using a handler ABAP class and a single workflow template that handles all the processing.

All Standard HCM Processes and Forms configuration and runtime components are used as delivered. The HCM Process Manager only provide additional business process design and execution capabilities that are missing in the standard edition.

 

 

Contact

For more information on the HCM Process Manager for the SAP HCM Processes and Forms component please contact Mr. Sergey Breslavets at eConvergence LLC via email at sbreslaw@econvergence.us, or reach him directly at 314-716-5217

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