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Author's profile photo Susan Keohan

A little help for SAP Workflow ‘freshers’ (part 1)

I don’t want to disclose exactly how long I’ve been developing and administering SAP Business Workflows, but let’s put it this way: I have been around the block a few times.

While the breadth of my experience can’t compare to those in the consulting side (for which I am totally jealous!)  I still like to learn new things, and I also like to help out freshers if I can. 

Full Disclosure: If I talk about functions or objects and you are well versed in ABAP OO, just bear in mind that I am working from what I have used, implemented, developed, and I am fully aware I am behind the curve in some respects.  More on that some other time.

So, if you are lucky enough (IMHO) to be given the assignment “Why don’t you implement workflow for ESS” or Travel Requests, or Requisition Release – whatever the scenario – and you’ve never worked with SAP Business Workflow before, feel free to read on.  If you have worked with SAP Business Workflow before, you can read on anyhow, and add your 2 cents in the comments section! All are welcome here.

I hope to offer you something besides the obvious advice:

  • Check out SAP Training on the topic (BIT600, BIT601, etc)
  • See if ‘Workflow in SAP‘ is going to be offered near you
  • ‘Buy the Book’ – SAP-Press offers ‘Practical Workflow for SAP v2‘ – and no, I do not benefit financially from pimping this book; all proceeds go to Doctors without Borders
  • Of course, read up on the Help documentation
  • Lurk in the SAP Business Workflow for a while
  • Check your local user group (in my case, ASUG) for materials on presentations that have been given, or upcoming events

So, here goes.

The first thing you need to identify is WHAT this thing is that you will be working with.  I know in the business language it is called a requisition, but what is it called in the SAP Workflow context? 

Besides being able to search for something like ‘Purchase Requisition’ on SAP Community Network, you can find this out by going to transaction SWo1.  At the Object/Interface field, use the drop-down, and then choose whether you want to search via the Information System (wide open, may return a lot of results) or by SAP Applications (you already know the functional area and can choose from the familiar menu paths).  So get this, if you choose Information System, and blank out the number of hits, you will get all the SAP business objects that have been delivered by SAP.  (nb: when I talk about business objects, I am not talking about BusinessObjects which is some weird little company that SAP assimilated a few years ago, I am talking about the original business objects, which have been around since, oh, 1996 or so.)

So anyway, SAP has delivered (in ECC 6) 2170 business objects (give or take a few, because I no longer have a pristine system to check that number).  The chances of you finding a hit in that list by using the binocular icon for, say ‘Requisition’ are pretty darned good.  As a matter of fact, you will get 15 hits.  So there are 15 different types of ‘requisitions’ delivered to you for your workflowing pleasure.

Of course, you want to narrow this down to the ‘requisition’ you are actually going to work with, in most cases that would be the evergreen BUS2009, or BUS2105. 

How do you know you have the right business object?  Radical thought here: Take a document number that you know exists in the system, and test it.  That’s right, if you choose BUS2009 from the above hit list, and click on it, you can then use the test icon (wrench) to test!  Once you hit the wrench, you will be prompted to enter a document (or key).  If the testbed from the business object repository tool (SWo1) returns the same basic values that you would see on a native SAP transaction screen, then you’ve got it!



Or maybe not.

The business object repository (BOR) test function will let you know.  Don’t be discouraged though!  Consider this:

     “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”  
—        Dr. Seuss    

So check out the functionality in the business object builder/repository.  Don’t be afraid to test things out (in Development, of course). 

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      Author's profile photo Jeff McDonald
      Jeff McDonald
      Very nice (and witty) blog!  I'm lookng forward to the rest of the series.
      Cheers - Jeff
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Susan,

      do you recommend using delegation and multiple custom delegated business objects or rather trying to reuse the standard workflows and getting as much functionality as possible using workflow objects like task, condition, etc?

      i keep thinking SAP workflow and twitter is a match made in haven...

      @greg_not_so (no tweet)

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thank you Sue for sharing the first of I hope many series.

      I would also add the following information, as I dunno if new by community peers :

      In the microsite, also download free table of tcodes and more :

      Thomas Nittmann wrote a niece piece : SAP Workflow A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting and Debugging.

      It can be viewed here :

      My five cents, keep up the good work !
      (and for the record, I'm not a nugget),


      Author's profile photo Tushar Shinde
      Tushar Shinde
      Waiting for next parts.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks for the opening guidance & waiting for the balance.

      Hope you will cover not only Standard SAP Workflows but also Custom Developed Workflows on Z Transactions. I am sure you will also cover usage AIF in a SAP workflow.

      Thanks & Regards