The term “Power List, it’s abbreviation “POWL” or the term “Work List” are often used in ways that can be confusing. They are used in discussions about SAP Best Practices, the SAP Portal, mid-market, and other contexts. Many people already have seen them in a demo – however; they do not know the details of how and when to use them.
SAP GUI view & POWER Lists
Working with the “normal “SAP GUI view of SAP ECC a user usually starts with the question “Where is my individual workload?”. The user has to search for his personal information day by day, starts different transactions / reports with his personal selection variants and when an update is required the user has to navigate to the relevant reports and restarts them manually each time.
In addition, when a situation presents itself in which a SAP user is required to do something which is “outside” their normal business activities, they are stumped and become annoyed about their lack of knowledge.
The idea and concept behind POWL´s is to make the day to day work of a SAP user easier. With a POWL, a user needs to log in, get “his personalized” overview screen and then proceed with his daily workload. In this way you can say “a POWL brings the work load to the user – instead that user is searching for it”.
Characteristics of a POWL
To describe a POWL more process and business wise it is worth to list up its characteristics. Hence, the following features shall help to get an understanding. A POWL …
- is embedded in a web-based environment
- can run in SAP Portal or in SAP NetWeaver Business Client (or even stand-alone, called via a URL)
- is mostly grouped along other POWL´s forming a “Business Role” such as the “Buyer” or the “Internal Sales Representative”
- – if embedded in a role – it is hence personalized to a specific target group
- lists specific business objects (sales orders, purchase requisitions, etc.)
- provides a homogenous user-interface and finally
- simplifies business processes.
POWL and Universal Worklist (UWL)
In SAP a lot abbreviations are used and sometimes it’s quite confusing. Hence also the abbreviation “UWL” shall be explained in this context.
The term “Universal Work list (UWL)” also occurs in the context of POWL´s or portal roles in general. However, the distinction between both can be seen in the intention of the lists. A UWL is a generic work list tool and here the user “… is shown those objects he is obliged to process or to notice …” – so UWL´s display are used to display workflow items and alerts.
Both – UWL´s as well as POWL´s – can (and should) be used to tailor the system in a way that all relevant sub-processes of a specific role is comprised in one common framework.
POWL´s and Roles
A single POWL can be called via a simple URL. However, this is not suitable for small and mid-sized companies (although it’s worth also for Large Enterprise to have a closer look at it).
Normally the characteristics of these kinds of companies are
- that they do not have training capabilities
- do not want to spend too much money for IT-Training
- want to cover a complete process comprising all sub-processes
- need ready-to-run solutions.
In this way it makes much more sense to have a bunch of POWL´s grouped together logically – so e.g. per roles. A role in the portal (covered in the framework of the “Business Packages”) enables the user to access the applications and transactions that they need to perform tasks required by their role within the company. The applications and transactions can be called as services on the portal (or business client), irrespective of the backend system they are in (SAP ERP; SAP CRM or SAP BI).