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If you are an SAP Workflow architect, you know that your end users will often depend on the ‘auto-forwarding’ (or Extended Notifications) that get sent to their email client to determine if they want to log on and access a particular workitem.

And you’ve also had to shuffle your feet and look at the floor when they complain: “How can I tell I need to approve this? You only give me 50 characters of information!”.  We may respond with: “I know, it’s limited.  No, I don’t know why, I just know it is“.

An SAP Workflow architect knows that sometimes you have just one chance to get the user’s attention, and quite often, that comes in the form of notification that is sent to their inbox requesting their attention.  And so we try to pack as much meaningful information as we possibly can  into that subject line – so users can make a decision whether this workitem needs their immediate attention, whether it can wait, or whether someone else can handle it.  Your users may want to know the Shopping Cart number, the total amount, the cost objects, the requester, even perhaps an item description.  And although the workitem itself has all this information, the message that is generated as a result of that workitem got lopped off at 50 characters, much to your frustration.

I wish I could say that I found this OSS (SAP Support Portal) note (number 1523530) all on my own, but having lived with the length restriction for over 10 years, I can’t say that’s true.  I can’t even say that I have it implemented yet.  But through the work of the SAP Workflow Influence Team (Twitter ID @SAP_WIT) – a small but stealthy and passionate group of SAP Mentor Initiative – working in collaboration with some folks at SAP – this note was brought to my attention. 

I wouldn’t normally blog about a new note, except coincidentally, there was also a question in the SAP Business Workflow today, asking this very question. And with it being a snow day in glorious Boston, I decided the opportunity to raise some awareness was just too great to pass up.

So will this note solve all your workflow woes?  Nope.  Not gonna do it.  But will it help your users’ decision-making a little bit easier?  I sure hope so!

And as an aside, I guess it’s worth browsing SAP Support Portal periodically – because you just never know when something new will drop in there. 

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3 Comments

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  1. Julius von dem Bussche
    For a very brief moment I thought you had found a way to prevent people from using subject titles such as “Hi!” and “Issue” and “Doubt” and “Help plz” on SDN… 🙂

    Interesting read though – thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,
    Julius

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    1. Susan Keohan Post author
      Ha!  But I got you to read it anyway.
      Sorry, even the all-powerful and utterly sexy SAP Workflow can’t help you on that one.
      But if you do find a solution, please share 🙂
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  2. Stephen Johannes
    Sue,

    Thanks for the note.  Not to make any folks angry but SAP fixed this limitation for e-mails  in general in the ABAP stack back in 2005, see OSS note 698087.  I’m suprised based on the note you provided that it took almost five years for this to be finally fixed in the workflow “application layer”.  Even SAPscript was patched back in 2007(OSS Note 958426).

    I guess better late than never.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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