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    The inspiration for this blog came about due to a recent post on the self-services forum. Someone had asked if it was possible with ESS that if an employee submits a “leave request” that they could attach the actual medical note with the request. Furthermore, they wanted the employee’s manager to be able to see that the attachment was made but not actually be able to view it.

 

    Right off I thought “Hey! HCM Processes and Forms does that!”. I don’t know why but I had just always taken this for granted with HCM P&F. I had forgotten that this was not really possible up until now using other solutions. For example, in the “old” PCR way of doing this, you would be looking at doing some custom development to make this all work correctly. Since HCM Processes & Forms is built on top of the recent CASE Management solution, it already has this capability built-in. I guess I had forgotten that this is such a sweet, cool feature of HCM P&F because I hadn’t remembered it coming up much before. Oh yeh…I remember why….because before this, it was such a pain in the ahhhh…..nevermind….let’s continue…

 

    So yes, HCM P&F does in fact allow us to attach attachments. In fact, we can attach attachments of any sort we like. It doesn’t really care. We simply define a “key” for our attachment (like saying “LREQ” equals “Leave Request”). We don’t have to say anything else about it….not that it’s a Microsoft Word document, not that it’s a text file, not that it’s a JPEG even….nothing about the actual attachment’s technical format. Simply, we are saying “here’s an attachment type and here’s what I will abbreviate it as”.  Think of this more as “building our library of attachment types”. This is where we will set them all up to be able to use in all of our processes later.

 

    So now, we get to define HOW we want to use it. This is the really fun and cool part I think HCM P&F did so well! We next go into our process and into the form/process steps themselves. At this point, we can do several things.

 

    First off, we can define which of our “attachment types” are allowed for each step. For HCM P & F, we group “process steps” as “form steps” into a “form scenario”. So here, we are able to define down to the specific process step level which attachments we want to allow. So for example, we could have the employee attach a leave request in step 1, but then in step 2, have the manager attach their own “signed approval form” or some such thing, and maybe even in step 3, have the HR admin attach a digital copy of a fax verification from the employee’s actual doctor. I dunno….add your own examples…let your mind run wild…because it’s most likely possible!

 

    Secondly….and here come the part I like a lot…now that we have defined what attachment types are allowed at EACH step, we now can define their “usage”. This gets pretty slick! For each of our “allowed” attachment types, we can further define their usage as:

 

  • Creation Recommended
  • Creation Mandatory
  • Create/Change Allowed
  • Display Allowed
  • Display Existence Only (this will simply display if the attachment exists or not but will not allow the user to view the attachment if it does exist)
  • Invisible (this means the attachment is not used in the step but might need to be passed)

 

The first two usages are the most often used. We can configure it so that an attachment is “recommended” (ie. optional) or so that the user can not complete the process step unless the attachment is absolutely created (ie. required). However, be warned….this “required” entry can not be validated by the system…it can’t review the attachment and go “oh yeh, that looks like a legitimate leave request….we’re good here”. So yes, if someone wanted to get around that they could simply attach some simple text file or whatever. For the remaining usages, those are typically used once an attachment is passed to another step….which leads us to the next great feature…

 

    Lastly, this all sounds great and fine for each step, but what happens when we need someone needs to see an attachment from a previous step? Hey, SAP’s got you covered! Yes, within configuration, we can also define which attachments get passed along from one process step to the next. So using our previous simple example, suppose the employee requests leave and attaches their medical leave request form, we can then pass this form to step 2, so that the manager can see the form was attached by the employee. This is yet another cool feature….remember how we set up the usage before? So if we set it up for “display existence only“, the manger will see text showing that “yes, the employee correctly attached their required form”, however, they will not be able to click on it to pull the actual document up for review.

 

    I can hear it now….”so great, Chris….we get to add attachments…yippee…..so now what? What happens then?” Yes, this all sounds “neat”…we can add attachments, take one down, pass them around, 99 …..oh wait…wrong topic. So yeh, what do we do with all these attachments now after our process? Well, you get to keep them! Actually, as I said before, since HCM P&F is built on top of CASE Management, we still have access to all of this great information! By going into CASE Management (t-code SCASE), we can pull up any of our currently active or even closed processes. We can view what each person put into their Adobe Interactive forms at each step. Along with this, we can also look at exactly which attachments were included at each step and pull those up as well. Therefore, we have visibility not only to the structured data at each point, but the unstructured data (attachments) as well! Using the HR Administrator business package, there are some, more limited iViews that give us access to this information as well (CASE Management transactions allow you to do much more than is needed via the portal).

 

    Well, there you have it. Like most people, I overlooked one of the “neatest” things about HCM P&F simply because I just took it for granted. It’s straightforward and works well. It also means you get to focus on the work at hand…like configuring your actual process…rather than worrying over “howin the world am I going to get this document related to this information from this user at this point in time”. Thanks SAP….you just saved me lots of money on headache medicine!

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18 Comments

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  1. John Draper
    Chris,

    Do you think it would be possible to integrate an existing WebDynpro ABAP application into the HCM Processes & Forms framework?

    We have some WDA screens that employees will use to report workplace hazards and incidents using the EH&S functionality in the backend.  They already have their own workflows, so there would be no Adobe form or HCM P&F workflow required, and there would also be no HR Administrator involved.

    I would prefer not to have two different entry points for employees to start “forms” via the portal, but just not sure if I can set up some sort of “dummy” process in HCM P&F that will appear in the standard Start Process iView for an employee, but just simply call the WDA applications…..

    Regards,

    John

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author
      Sorry, John. I like the idea and we had a similar situation. To me, it would be nice if the “Start Application” worked like the old Manager’s Desktop where you could include in not only SAP reports but also BW reports and even non-SAP reports/links. But as it is, the only “Processes” that show in the HCM P&F “Start Application” are those tied to HCM P&F config and Adobe Interactive Forms. This is understandable because the “Start Application” is really just a big engine for HCM P&F to handle all the other things for us now that we use to have to do in coding for PCRs for example. It makes a much more consistent experience for the users as well. All we have to deal with now is simply doing the specific config for our processes and attaching in our developed Adobe forms. Much easier!

      Now, for your situation, you could simple provide links to your report processes maybe in the “detailed navigation” panel. Along with the link for the other ones that use HCM P&F. That’s what we did for the time being until the others are transitioned over. So for example, we had “Termination” in HCM P&F but “Hiring” and “Position/Pay Changes” going to the “older” application. So are Detailed Nav looked like…

      -Termination
      -Hiring
      -Org / Pay Changes

      Make sense?

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  2. Saurabh Parikh
    Chris,

    First Off, you have been doing a great job at blogging HCM P&F. I read one of your previous blogs (loved the way you documented it) regarding your experience implementing this framework and as always problems are not unique. We too bumped into some of the issues as you did.

    Question: you mentioned that ‘Yes, within configuration, we can also define which attachments get passed along from one process step to the next’. Do we really have to do anything to transfer attachments from one process step to another? Don’t they get transferred automatically?

    Thanks,
    Saurabh

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author
      I didn’t want to “clog up the drains” with TOO much information, so I didn’t get into the differences between Form Scenarios and Form Steps. To answer you though, yes, WITHIN THE SAME FORM SCENARIO, the attachments are “shared” among “form scenario steps”. We simply set “usage” (hence they include “invisible” so we don’t use it in a step we don’t want to. However, to use an attachment in one form scenario step in a step in ANOTHER scenario, we must explicitly configure this to pass the attachment. That’s what I was really getting into. Typically, you won’t actually have all your process steps in just one form scenario’s string of form steps. Again, I didn’t want to confuse the point of the blog too much for folks new to the whole idea…just want them to understand what is possible. Those that actually get into HCM P&F would of course know the difference right off. Hope this helps clarify.
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      1. muktyar ahamadun
        hi solomon..

        i want know some basic things on HCM p&fs 
        please clarify my boubts

        what is the use of HCM P&Fs
        I’d already searched for “how to create HCM P&Fs”

        do you have any link for this form creation screen shots

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  3. Pavanmeet Dua
    Hey Chris … this is a good blog .. but you have mentioned bout the CASE management through Tcode SCASE – that it can used to retrieve the attachments.

    Is there a cleaner way to retrieve the attachments based on PERNR .. like some portal iview .. … scase looks complicated and I could not find the attachment through personal number of the employee…

    Regards,

    Akshay ..

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author
      Of course, there are HRAS iViews that allow you to do this as well. You can pull up the form as filled out at each step as well as attachments (if allowed via config).
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      1. Pavanmeet Dua
        Thank Chris for your prompt response.

        Are you talking about Search Processes iViews?

        This iview uses the webdynpro abap application
        asr_processes_display.
        So I tried using this iview to check if it suits my requirement of getting the attachment for a process.

        I get a list of the processes – when I click on the detail button it gives me a pop up which gives all the steps in the process . But clicking those steps I get the following error :

        There is no iView available for system “SAP_ERP_HumanResources”: object “employee”. For more information, contact your administrator.

        Am I missing some configuration. And if it works fine. Would this give the attachment in the step.

        Thanks in Advance.

        Akshay

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  4. Ian Stubbings
    Hi Chris

    We are using a variation of the standard SAP requisition form that passes information to our e-recruitment system. We are using an attachment but the attachment gets ‘lost’ when the requistion object is created in the e-recruitment system.

    Do you know of any way this attachment can be passed or retrieved? Must I find a class/function to get it from case management?

    Regards
    Ian

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  5. sridharan s
    Dear Chris,

    Its very good to know about the extended use of the HCM forms. Is there a possibility that the HCM P&F itself can be sent as a PDF attachment to a distribution list on completion of the process? It would be very kind of you to throw some light on this. Thanks.

    regards,
    sridharan

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author
      I “think” I know what you are asking. Bottom line….yes, it is possible. What I would do is have your workflow handle this. There are a number of ways to do it, but probably something along the lines of having the workflow trigger a class/object to regenerate the form, create an email, attach the form and send email to a determined distribution list. It would be some work, but would be fine.
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      1. sridharan s
        Thanks Chris, i could able to get a few tips from the forums and am working on the
        development.

        Im also trying to to understand, if its possible to read get all the documents from the case management in ADS, for a particular form with a specific process state. I would have to build a report to get the data of all the forms that have been completed. im just find it extremely tough to debug the scase transaction to see how the XML content is being displayed on the screen. Could you please give some tips on a few critical tables where the process state is being stored with the form name or the class name that could provide me the data!

        it would be of tremendous help,if you could give your inputs for me to build upon them.

        Thanks!

        sridharn

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  6. Antonio Caldas
    Hi Chris,

    Thanks again for your contribution, always adding value to the HCM community.

    I have a question to you, maybe you can help me out.

    I have defined a single attachment type for a given process, with a description, say, “General Attachment Type”. The idea is that users are able to upload more than one file into the form, throughout the process.

    The problem is that at a certain stage, I have the form with several attachments and all of them display a link like:

    General Attachment Type
    General Attachment Type
    General Attachment Type
    General Attachment Type

    This is kind of lame because I’ll have to click on every attachment to verity it’s contents.

    Do you know of any workaround? Ideally I would have the filename as URL. I have even tried creating the attachment type with an empty description. The result is an empty link and therefor, no URL available…

    Many thanks.
    regards

    Antonio Caldas

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  7. Eric Poellinger
    Hi Chris

    I am a Basis resource and new to P&F (this week!).  We are demoing some functionality using the samples from SAP.  We faced an issue where we did not have an ‘active’ virus scanning profile in our ERP system (VSCANPROFILE tcode that I’ve not seen before!). It seems this is related to connecting SAP to a 3rd party virus scanner to help ensure attached documents do not propogate viruses (great idea).

    However, I’m curious if this is just something with the ‘sample’ forms or something we are forced to do when we build or own (excuse the ignorance of that statement!)? 

    Our ESS/MSS solution is entirely internal and our user machines have virus scanning on them, so potentially we might want to figure out how to turn this off – is that possible?  Now, when we get to internet-based users, that’s a different story!!!

    Thanks for any feedback you can offer!

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  8. Tal Tza

    Hi,

    It’s really great feature of HCM Processes and Forms.

    I tried to add an attachment to a new process that I created (by creating a new type of attachment and choosing its usage in every step of the process).

    Unfortunatly, the option to add an attachment doesn’t appear in the form (WebDynpro form) no matter I do.

    Do you have any idea how to solve it?

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  9. Carla Sousa

    Hi Chris,

    I am facing a new challenge with P&F that i hope you can help with. 🙂

    For different reasons, i need to:

    1. have a scenario step that will be executed in background (background wf task)

    2. the objective of this step/wf task would be to generate an attachment and add it to the process.

    Do you have any hints how to do this?

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.

    (0) 

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