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Business Process Flows (BPFs) are an exciting new feature available in SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 7.5, version for SAP NetWeaver (BPC 7.5 NW).  BPFs are made up of task steps and sub-steps which guide planning and consolidation users through a sequentially defined business process.  In the BPC 7.5 NW system, four main BPF functions are provided:

  1. My Activities
  2. Monitor
  3. Reports
  4. E-mail notifications

The first three topics are documented well in the SAP Help documentation and demonstrated in an SDN How-to article called How to Configure and Execute Business Process Flows in SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 7.5, version for SAP NetWeaver.  However the BPF e-mail notification function described in the BPC 7.5 NW Operations Guide does not explain all the necessary steps to enable e-mails from BPF’s.  So I will explain how to set up e-mail notifications here in this weblog.

A) From the SAP BPC Server Manager application on the .net server

1) Maintain the Web Server Name and Port. This will be used by the backend Business Warehouse (BW) system to send a URL link in the e-mail notifications triggered by the BPF task.

Note: When the BPF is activated, the web server name and port will be transferred automatically to the BW system into field SERVER_NAME of table UJA_SERVER_INFO.  As of BPC 7.5 NW SP02, this field length is only 20 characters.  So if your server’s fully-qualified domain name is too long, then you may be able to use a short name.  Or you could also simply input an IP address and port.  In BPC 7.5 NW support package 03 the field length was increased to 60 characters in the BW system.

B) From the SAP BPC Web Administration landing page

When you launch the AppSet Parameters maintenance screen, there are several items which are used to setup e-mail notifications for Work Status, such as APPROVALSTATUSMAIL and APPROVALSTATUSMSG, as well as the ABAP SMTP service.  These parameters are NOT used by the Business Process Flow e-mail notification framework. 

There are also several parameter items that start with “SMTP…”.  These also are NOT used by the BPF programs.

In fact the SAP Help documentation currently states that these AppSet parameters which start with SMTP… are only used in BPC for the Microsoft platform.  However that conclusion is not believed to be accurate.  Recent findings shared by a colleague indicate that these SMTP related parameters are also used by BPC 7.5 NW for the Distributor and Collector function to e-mail reports or input schedules.

C) From the SAP Business Warehouse system

1) Maintain the SMTP connection settings from the SAPconnect Administration screen. From transaction SCOT double-click on the SMTP node. In the pop-up dialogue screen input the Mail Host, Mail Port, and Code Page which is appropriate for your network.

Note: It is possible to test the SMTP settings using telnet following the procedure outlined in SAP Note 607108 Problem Analysis when sending or receiving e-mail.

2) If the BPC to BW communication user BPC_SYSADMIN is setup in Active Directory (which is not required for installation of BPC) then it can be used as the sender of the BPF e-mail notifications. To do so requires that you define a default domain from transaction SCOT. Follow the menu path Settings –> Default Domain and enter the appropriate domain. For example if BPC_SYSADMIN was a valid e-mail account at SAP (which it is not) based on a default domain such as exchange.sap.com, then all BPF e-mail notifications would be sent by user BPC_SYSADMIN@exchange.sap.corp.

3) If user BPC_SYSADMIN is not an Active Directory user, then it is necessary to assign an e-mail address to BPC system administration user directly in the BW user profile. From transaction SU01 for user BPC_SYSADMIN enter a valid e-mail address to be used as the sender of the BPF e-mail notifications.

Note: You can have some fun here with a buddy while testing the BPF e-mail setup because you can use any valid e-mail address within your organization (e.g. your boss or even the CEO).  This setting together with the designated BPF step owners and reviewers can result in some curious e-mails making their way into your friend’s inbox having been triggered by BPC :).

Of course, I don’t endorse such pranks.  So I suggest you be cautious in your actions.

4) Customizing the E-mail Templates

The BPC 7.5 NW system comes installed with 16 different pre-defined BPF e-mail templates which correspond to the many possible events (activation, task completion, review, etc) that occur throughout the lifecycle of a BPF from setup to execution to archival. Each template has one system default version and allows one customized version. This means all BPF e-mails can be customized. But keep in mind that the templates are used system-wide and are not Application or even Application Set specific.

To customize the e-mail templates follow the steps below.

4.1) From transaction SE38 execute program UJB_MAINTAIN_EMAIL_TMPL
4.2) Leave the selection parameters blank and click execute (F8)
4.3) Note that you cannot modify the type “S” or system-generated templates.
4.4) Select from the list the appropriate template ID and click on the create icon. This will create a template of type “C” for customizing.  (It is a good idea to have a second session of SAP BW open concurrently to display how the standard templates are maintained.  In which case you can use CNTL-C to copy and CNTL-V to paste between sessions from the system template and the customized one.)
4.5) In customized e-mail templates, multi-language texts can be used in the e-mail body.
4.6) E-mail templates can be enabled or disabled through a status indicator.
4.7) Save your custom template.

D) From BPC Administration

Before you can create a BPF template which should trigger e-mail notifications you have to decide which dimension will be used to store the owners and (optionally) the reviewers of the BPF steps.  The entity dimension is typically used for this purpose.

As opposed to Work Status which expects the Owner property be named Owner, the owner property for Business Process Flows can be any name you wish.  The same is true for the reviewer property, it can be any name.  Simply add these properties to the appropriate dimension.  Then maintain the dimension members to assign the owners and reviewers either with a valid BPC username(s) or team(s).  You can enter multiple names and teams separated by commas.  Usernames must also include the domain or server name in the path.  Team names should be input within square brackets.    Afterward save and process the dimension. 

With the properties setup you can now create the BPF template and instance.  I won’t go into the details here, refer to the SAP Help and the How-to guide I mentioned above.

Conclusion

If you setup the e-mail notifications as I described and you successfully define your Business Process Flows, the BPF owners and reviewers will begin to receive e-mail notifications from Planning and Consolidation 7.5 NW.

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