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    One of the first things about HCM P&F that I wanted to understand was how the actual data a user enters or that we default into a form gets carried along through a process and somehow “magically” ends up into the database correctly. In documentation, I had often seen mention of the “process object” and had some abstract idea of what it was and what it was doing in our technical structure. However, it was not until I actually dug into Case Management that it all made perfect sense. Not only did it make sense, but it gave me a whole new set of tools to troubleshoot, audit and support my own HCM P&F processes!

 

    CASE Management (CASE Mgmt) is a world unto itself, so to speak. It is rather new for SAP, and it was it’s introduction that made new flexibility with HCM P&F possible. HCM P&F actually uses only a very small bit of the capabilities of CASE Mgmt….but it is a VERY important part in order to make the HCM P&F solution work. You will not need a deep understanding of CASE Mgmt., however, it will help to know how it is utilzed for HCM P&F.

 

    Where Workflow is responsible for modeling and controlling the flow of our process itself, Case Management  is how our data is actually carried and persisted throughout the process until (and if) the actual database updates are made on the backend. This was not possible previously with Personnel Change Requests (PCR) in which the data actually had to be carried along in Workflow (or other means such as custom tables). With CASE Management, not only can we see what data was stored for our process overall, but even down to the granular level of exactly what was entered/stored by each user at each step in the process itself. This provides us with a much better tool for debugging, tracking, auditing and support for processes. The following is a brief guide for locating and viewing the data saved for an HCM Processes and Forms process.

 

(*note: this assumes that you have done all of the initial IMG configuration steps required for HCM P&F to set up Case Mgmt. correctly such as copying necessary objects from client 000, setting up the process object and number range(s), etc. For more information about configuring the process object in Case Management, see the Implementation Guide (IMG) for HR Administrative Services under Configuration of Forms/Processes > Process Configuration > Technical Settings > Set Up Process Object. Also, insure you have proper security to access Case Mgmt transaction code SCASE.)

 

1. Run transaction SCASE.

 

 

2. On the initial SCASE screen you may receive a pop-up asking you for an initial RMS ID object.

 

  

From the drop-down list on the pop-up window, select ASR_POBJ.

 

 

 

3. You will now have access to HR Administrative Services portion/objects of CASE Mgmt. Expand the folder tree on the left side as shown below and navigate to: 

    HR Administrative Services -> Cases -> Process Search

and double-click on Process Search to open the search screen on the right side. 

 

4. On the right side of the screen you will now see the various search options in order to locate a process.

 

 

 

5. It is easiest to search by the process ID itself and then to locate our specific process number in most cases because the CASE number does not match the process number. In our case, you can search for the cases by using the process IDs (from your HCM P&F). In our example, we will search on ZHR_PDT_INORGA.

 

Enter ZHR_PDT_INORGA in the “Process” input box and click the “Search” button along the bottom of the search options sub-window.

 

 

6. You will now be presented with a list of all existing “cases” for that process in the lower sub-screen on the right side of the screen.

 

 

 

 

7. It’s easiest to filter the first column of CASE IDs from newest to oldest in order to find your most recent processes.

 

Click the column header Case ID to select the column.

 

Then click the icon for filtering newest to oldest.

 

 

 

 

8. Select a CASE ID by double-clicking on the row/number cell. 

 

In order to more easily find the specific Case related to your process, it’s easiest select a row and click the “details” icon.

 

 

 

This will pop-up a window showing you more details about the Case.

 

 

 

 

9. When you locate your specific Case related to your process, as said before, simply double-click the row or case ID cell/number. This will take to to the details about the Case.

 

  

 

The top portion can be considered the “header” and shows us details about the process overall. Key information here is process number, process status, initiator’s userid, start time and end time.

 

 

10. From here, click the “Linked Objects” button along the bottom portion of the Case details sub-screen. This will display the related “objects” in the lower part of the screen.

 

 

These additional “objects” represent the form scenarios and form scenario steps themselves.

 

 

11. Expand the folders below the “Linked Objects” node to navigate down to the actual process steps themselves.

 

   

 

 

These represent the actual “steps” in the process. For instance, a process might consist of an initiator (starts the process) step, an approval step and a step in which HR Services processes the request. The steps you will see here will be listed from the current to oldest. In the example above, we can see the initiator step at the bottom and then the folder above it is for an approval step.

 

 

The folder/node above the “Steps” node is labeled “Data Container”. Under this branch is a node that is the current data container for the process (in other words, the data that is being used now). This is also useful for debugging and support for a process. However, we will look at an example in which we want to locate data as entered/saved at a particular step.

 

 

12. Now, we want to look at exactly what was entered into the form at a particular step. For instance, let’s say in the example above, the initiating manager has told us that they entered an effective date of 5/22/2009 but the approver sees 5/26/2009.

 

 

Expand the folder for the step as shown.

 

 

As the folder name implies, this is the “data container” or “what was saved for the form”. For HCM Processes and Forms, the form and data are actually separate. The Adobe Interactive form merely serves as a template for the data collection. The data itself is saved off separately as a structured XML file.

 

(* note: As you can see, there is also a folder called “Attachments”. From here, if we actually had any attachments attached to our form at this particular step, we could pull those up and view them as well.)

 

 

13. Double-click on the node ASR_SPS_DATACONTAINER.

 

  

 

This action will open the actual XML file that was saved with the form data exactly as it was entered during this form step.

 

 

 

 

As you can see, this XML shows us the exact field names used and then the values that were stored for them. In our previous example, the manager claimed they entered an effective date of 5/22/2009. Therefore, we can scroll down our XML file and locate the field name EFFECTIVE_DATE.

 

 

 

Here we can see that although the manager thought they entered 5/22/2009, they actually entered 5/26/2009.

 

Following similar steps as above, we can locate the data at each level in the process (ie. step level, current data container, etc).

 

As mentioned previously, by expanding the Linked Objects node, we can get a clear picture of our specific process, where it is in the process, and what steps have been completed.

 

 

 

As we see above, this process was initiated by _Portal202 (bottom folder under “Steps” and look at the column “Last Processed”) who is a manager (Initiator Role in top screen). Then we can see that this went to workflow (step above the bottom one was last processed by WF-BATCH). From there, we can see that WF-BATCH/workflow has sent this to user _Portal201 who was the last to work on it (because the process status is “Completed”).

 

 

Well, that’s it….the “magic” behind HCM P&F….the wizard behind the curtain…..secrets revealed! I hope you have a better understanding of CASE Mgmt. for HCM P&F and that you can see how this is a valuable tool for our support of HCM P&F. If you are particularly clever and ambitious, it might give you ideas of how to read the process object information directly from CASE Mgmt. in order to provide alternate views of this information (ie. custom report transactions, alternate HCM P&F interfaces, etc). I would love to share some of the custom reports for HCM P&F support and custom non-Adobe interfaces I have seen and/or written, but then….that would be revealing my own secrets! (haha)

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12 Comments

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  1. Bernhard Escherich
    Hi Chris,

    again an excellent piece from you as always. Great that you highlighted Case management. It is one of our hidden champions which a lot of applications use but not many people are really aware of it.

    Please keep posting – and perhaps some of your secrets in the future -:)

    Best regards,
    Bernhard

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author
      First off, thanks a lot Bernhard. I always like to hear that folks enjoy these…makes me almost believe some folks actually read them! haha

      Second, I totatlly agree about Case Mgmt. I think it really is one of our best tools at our disposal. It is GREAT when debugging a process. And even better for supporting them. I’ve made it a habit to make sure the support folks and our team at least know what I posted here. I’ve found that this really helps understand what is really happening in HCM P&F.

      Lastly, even I want to learn more about using CASE Mgmt even more than I do. I think there is a lot there that could be utilized.

      Secrets? haha nice try. Some things I got keep to myself. hahaha I will say I have seen some pretty awesome custom report code that does all the above for you in a cleaner way…lets you pull up the XML at form step or “recent container” level….and even lets you pull up the actual form as completed by the user at that step. It was pretty slick….but it was all done due to the person knowledge of HOW Case Mgmt works. A parting “hint”…..no one said you couldn’t easily use the same classes Case Mgmt and HCM P&F use. Doh!….I’ve said too much! =)

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  2. Rahul Bhasin
    Hi Chris,

    I have one doubt related to case management based on real time problem which i faced in my project.

    The problem is once form got approved from 5-7 approver and went to last approver for updation their while updation it finds some field value is missing because of wrong customization which we rectified later. So to complete that particluar case we tried to directly put the value in case container using SCASE only but SCASE didn’t allow to directly change.

    So finally we left with two options either cancel that particular scenario and restart again thw whole process which is not possible when we have 10-20 such pending cases or put a break point at FM ‘ISR_PROCESS_EVENT’ where we manually fill that particular field while debugging.

    Is it possible to change the value of case container directly from SCASE ?

    Well their is a change button available from where we select the step container but when we click that button it says no authorization even though with SAP ALL.

    Do you have any idea on this.

    Second my concern is we are also using custom report to track the form where user who has initiated or approved can see the latest real form any time with all comments,status,pending with whom and who all approved and this is what we are using for Archiving as well even though SAP has given option of DPF but that DPF will be created once the workflow completes.

    Here the problem is we have written so much of java script which works at run time when user fills the form but through this archiving that script doesn’t works, we tried to open the form from DPF as well but their also same problem it never goes into script.

    Can you help us on this. I Appreciate if could help us on this or suggest some thing.

    Once again thanks to you for posting Blog on HCM Process and Forms , your blog really help us.

    Thanks,
    Rahul

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  3. Antonio Caldas
    I Chris,

    Again, many thanks for another great contribution.
    I have a question – maybe a lame one. How can I see the actual form in the backend? I’m now able to cheak my processes in SCASE, just as you examplefied in this blog. But I’m not being able to display the form via Portal, in “Open Processes” or “Search Processes” – when I click on the Step name, nothing happens.. Any clue on this? So, would it be an alternative way to display the form in the backend?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Regards
    Antonio

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  4. Ian Stubbings
    Hi Chris

    Revisiting one of your other blogs today to try to track down missing Previous Comments from my form.  It doesn’t look like they are stored in case management though.

    Any idea where they are kept?

    Cheers
    Ian

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    1. Rahul Bhasin
      Hi Ian,

      These comments are the part of case only however u cannot see them directly in XML format.

      If you want to see comments from SCASE then you can see under Scenarios->ASR_SPS_SCASE->Steps->select one step and right click
      Activities->Display.

      You will find comments written by that particular approver of that step.

      Hope this helps.

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      1. Ian Stubbings
        That was perfect Rahul – many thanks!

        This allowed me to prove the comments were saved on the object and therefore focus attention on authorisations. It transpired that the auth for Case Mgmnt Text Notes had recently been changed and the ASR objects had been removed.

        All fixed now.

        Cheers
        Ian

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    2. Rahul Bhasin
      Hi Ian,

      These comments are the part of case only however u cannot see them directly in XML format.

      If you want to see comments from SCASE then you can see under Scenarios->ASR_SPS_SCASE->Steps->select one step and right click
      Activities->Display.

      You will find comments written by that particular approver of that step.

      Hope this helps.
      Thanks,
      Rahul

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  5. Shawhal Abrams

    Hi there Christopher,

    We are using SAP Public Sector Records Management/Case Management. I have a situation within a Case where whenever a user goes into the case, then all documents within the case under the Last Processed changes to the current user with the current date and time. Where do i go to change that setting?

    The thing is we make use of many case types and we seem to get this problem for some case types and not others, but I as well as the developers who implemented these case types know why this is.

    Can you please assist?

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author

      I am guessing you found my blog with a search on something like “SAP case management”. Sorry to say, as mentioned above in the blog, I know *just* enough of CASE Mgmt as where it comes into play with HCM Processes and Forms. Sorry I can not be more help.

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  6. Devang Savla

    Hi  Christopher,

     

    My requirement is to implement the HCM Forms via FIORI. For this i need to create a case in Scase via a FM/Method of a class and trigger the workflow of the form at the same time. Can you please suggest what should be my approach for this.

    Thanks in Advance.

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    1. Christopher Solomon Post author

      No you don’t. You don’t have to do ANY of that. A couple of releases ago, SAP made it so you could trigger a process from anywhere (I wrote a blog about how I did it from workflow). Just look at that and don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

      And I know this works because I had to build custom SAPUI5 (call it Fiori-ish if you want) frontend to HCM P&F and used the same thing.

      It is pretty “high level”, but if you know what you are doing in both worlds (Fiori/UI5 and HCM P&F), you will do fine.

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