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HCM Processes & Forms: Getting Started…..initial set-up, config and troubleshooting!

I guess this blog is a bit overdue seeing how it’s partly about “getting started” and we are about 5 enhancement packs in now, eh? (haha) However, this is one of those things where once you go through it, it becomes second nature, and you kind of forget that other people will be having “fun” with all the same issues and quirks you went through your first time when their turn comes around.  Sadly, many of those issues and quirks are partly due to incorrect and/or misleading SAP documentation or documentation simply does not exist at all. I am hoping this blog will help alleviate some (much?) of that.

A lot of other people I know have their own “checklists” and “cheat sheets” for initial HCM P&F set up. Even for myself, I have a guide I put together that is wayyyyyyyy more detailed and documented to the step-by-step “nTH degree” that I keep around for reference and for my clients. I will not go to THAT level of detail, but never fear….you will still get all the same information, but just in a very summarized and easy-to-digest form.


There are not a lot of prerequisites to really highlight, but the three main ones are:

1. ADS (Adobe Document Services) is properly installed and configured. This is NOT the Adobe Document Server (another Adobe product which you can find in incorrect searches and be led way off), but many people still refer to it as such. It is really just a big Java application (read as “resource hog”) running on a Java app server. You will most always see it installed and running on its own server due to “usage scenarios” as well as the resources it consumes. This task is usually handled by your “BASIS” people. You can run three “test” transactions to check if you ADS was installed correctly (*search documentation/Google for how to execute these correctly). These are:

  • FP_PDF_TEST_00
  • FP_TEST_00
  • FP_TEST_IA_01

2. Business Functions have been activated based on your Enhancement Pack(EhP) level. Again, this is usually handled by your “BASIS” team and is an activity in the IMG (right at the top of the IMG in fact). I will not go into “how” or “why” business functions are delivered or the details of what is in these. For the most part, they can be thought of as “feature and content packages” for HCM P&F.


3. Insure that correct business packages have been installed to your NW Portal based on your Enhancement Pack level. You can refer to the documentation in for the Business Functions shown above(for example, HCM_ASR_CI_2) for information on which portal business packages are required.

At this point, you should have ADS ready to go and your HCM P&F functionality available.

Initial Configuration Checklist

1. Specify Number Range Interval for Reference Numbers of Process

This sets up your number ranges for your actual “process numbers”. Typically, you will just use the standardnumber range object HRASR_REFN and make a “new interval” for it. Call it “01” and define it for “000000000001” to  “9999999999999”…..or get “fancy” and set up patterns and different ranges for different processes. Anyways, it is all done here.

2. Specify Number Range Interval for CASE Mgmt Case IDs.

Transaction SCASE_NUMBERRANGE can be used to set up the number range used for your Case IDs. If you do not set this up,you will get an error later in step 4 which will tell you to do this step anyways. This is not in any of the HCM P&F set up documentation from SAP (fun!).

3. Set up Workflow Environment

Follow the IMG path HR Administrative Services -> Configuration of Forms/Processes -> Process Configuration-> Technical Settings. You will step through each of these activities.

  1. Set Up Workflow Runtime Environment: nothing really to do here but review the documentation for this activity node
  2. Settings for Standard Components and Workflows:  follow all steps as directed by the IMG node documentation. You will be assigning and activating various workflow related objects.
    1. Interactive Components
    2. Activate Workflow After Withdrawing Process
    3. Workflow: Draft for Process Start
    4. Workflow for Exception Handling When Saving Asynchronously
4. Set up CASE Management and Process Object

*(you will need proper authorization for remote access and client copy)  

Follow the IMG path HR Administrative Services -> Configuration of Forms/Processes -> Process Configuration-> Technical Settings.

  1. Set Up Process Object
    • Copy default Case Types from client 000. This allows us to store the data from HCM P&F (i.e. persist the data).
    • Copy Profile for Case Searches from client 000. This allows us to search CASE Mgmt when looking for specific processes.
5. Set up Error Handling

Follow the IMG path HR Administrative Services -> Configuration of Forms/Processes -> Process Configuration -> Error Handling. Here you are simply going to “Assign Possible Processors to Error Categories” just as it says. For the most part, you can leave the default settings unless you have very specific requirements on how/where particular errors should be routed. This is more likely in a global scenario.

6. Customize the Design Time Workbench (optional)

Finally, just for “grins and giggles”, if you like, you can change the default image that shows for the Design Time (transaction HRASR_DT).  It is key/object HRASR00_DT_START_PICTURE in transaction SMW0 (that is a zero and not an “oâ€�).


Simply, switch the default value out for your own.

Set Up Sample Processes (optional)

Assuming the above steps have been completed, you can additionally set up the SAP standard “sample” process example.

7. Copy Sample Processes from client 000 and activate event coupling.

From the Design Time (transaction HRASR_DT), you can copy both the form scenarios and processes from client 000 using the “Reconcile Objects” menu option found in the top menu of the transaction (you will need proper authorization for remote access and client copy). This is better documented in my blog:

8. Modify Sample Process Names (optional)

Now, personally, as a final step for setting up the “sample” processes, I like to go into the IMG via path:


…and change the displayed name of each process by adding “SAP Std -” to the beginning of each. In that way, they show in the process list to the end user listed together (since it is alphabetically) as well as differentiated from our own custom processes you may develop. 


So you set everything up, followed the checklist, and you still cannot get HCM P&F to work. Here are the 3 most common errors that come up again and again in the forums.

1. Empty Process List

I set up HCM P&F and copied all the samples but nothing shows up in my process list when I run the application. I select an employee and then on the next step, it just says ‘No Data Available’. What am I missing?!?!?!”


I would say 9 times out of 10, it is missing authorizations. Believe it or not, you can do all of the above mentioned steps and yet not have access to the HCM P&F run time. Make sure you have authorization object P_ASRCONT assigned correctly.

Also, check view V_T5ASRAUTHACTVT. It may be missing entries. This happens especially with SAP_PD processes as I have seen config in this view in client 000 that was missing in our runtime client. We had to copy the config entries into V_T5ASRAUTHACTVT in our client.

2.“Work Item Not Found; Workflow Not Started”…..”Process Object Not Created”

  If you are testing your process for the first time using the “test tool” from within HRASR_DT (“Test Process”) and you
receive this string of errors, there are a number of reasons this might happen.(if you are running your test online using the actual “Start Application” WDA, you might get to the confirmation page, have a process number given but on the backend, never see a workflow triggered an process object created) Here is a list to check:


  • CASE Management number range has not been set up (check t-code SCASE_NUMBERRANGE)
  • The POBJ_MODEL in CASE Mgmt does not exist (check t-code SCASE to verify you have the POBJ_MODL along with your scenario
    and step models…if not, there are steps to loading the model in correctly that are covered by a nice WIKI on here…
  • Make sure you document ID for Case models are in-synch all around (check if the doc id for your object models …process, scenario, case…are somehow “out of whack”…ie. not matching…between CASE management, SCASE_CUSTOMIZING and SRMREGEDIT)
  • Authorization missing (make sure you, your users and WF-BATCH even have the correct authorization….this means P_ASRCONT as well as CASE Mgmt related auth needed to read/write…..look for auth objects named like S_SRM* and S_SCM*)
3. 403 Forbidden

“I try run the Start Application, but it says I am Forbidden. But I even have SAP_ALL!!! What is going on?!?!?!”sicf_error.JPG

Check transaction SICF and make sure you have the WebDynpros activated!  Look down the path:



If you see anything with “asr_” at the beginning (especially “asr_process_execute”) and it is grayed out, you need to activate it. Just right click on the service to bring up the context menu and then select “Activate Service”.


4. The ADS Blue Page of Death!!!


This is a simple error related to configuration after ADS is installed. It means that no credentials/ReaderRights were installed and set up. Simply follow the ADS configuration guide (from for example), and it will walk you right through it.

5. When all else fails….

Use the tools you have to further troublshoot. These include:

  • t-code SLG1 (Application Log….good for uncovering exceptions and further information)
  • t-code SWEL (see what worflow events have fired)
  • t-code SWETYPV (check your workflow linkages to make sure they are correct)
  • t-code SU53 (check for authorization issues)
  • t-code SWI1/SWIA (Workflow Log)
  • OSS Note 1539246 – Enable case management authorization check for end user
  • OSS Note 1422496 – Debugging background workflow tasks in HCM P&F
  • and of course….our good ol’ ABAP Debugger!

Well, I guess for every “getting started” there is a “now we come to the end”. I would say you are all done now, but really this is just the beginning. You now should have your HCM P&F environment in place and ready to go, so get out there and make some magic happen! (haha) Till next time…

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  • Hello Christopher,

    Its very informative blog for the HCM process and forms beginner. Thanks a lot. I am new to forms and processes.We are planning to use HCM forms and processes to meet one of our business requirements. We were successful to activate the SAP provided standard processes in transaction HRASR_DT.  Customization required running the SAP standard process is in place in our development client. We were successful running one of the SAP standard process called “BIRTH_OF_CHILD_10”.  All necessary workflow are activated for this process. After executing the above mention process for an employee, one of his manager received the workitem in his UWL for the further processing. Manager is able to open the adobe form once click on the UWL but while submitting the form via option “CHECK and SEND” its gives the runtime error. Below is the runtime error.

    Category ABAP Programming Error
    Runtime Errors ASSERTION_FAILED
    ABAP Program CL_WDR_IFBA_SERVICES==========CP
    Application Component BC-WD-ABA
    Date and Time 07/25/2012 06:53:58

    Short text
    The ASSERT condition was violated.



    • Sagar,

      Check system trace in ST01 and look for authorization. I had faced similar issues when working with my client and many times the issue was because of missing authorization however unusual it may sound 🙂 Anyways to do initial analysis on this, please check application log in SLG1 as well ( ideally the log details would mention KPRO i.e. content repository ). When a user tries to do a CHECK AND SEND, form data gets stored in content repository and at that point you may get dump if the user lacks authorization.

      Please do not try SAP_ALL as it may as well not remove error. Check for specific missing authorization in ST01 and add those for user.

      Let me know if it still gives short dump. 

  • Hello Christopher,

    I have scenario in which I am currently displaying the list of approvers in the Initialize operation and I am able to see all the approvers in the form when it is Initiator Role.

    I need update the form with the approver name, approved/reject when the form goes to the next approver for approval.

    I have 3 fields which I need to set which are approver name, approved or rejected along with Date and time stamp.

    My question here is it possible to update this fields when the form goes to the next approver ?



    • Vijay,

      It is possible to update the fields from workflow.

      One is programmatic way other is using standard SAP task. If you refer documentation, there is one standard task which saves data to form scenario fields. so you call that task in workflow and pass appropriate values.

      Other one is custom programming.

      All you need is GUID of the process ( which you will get from workflow container. Your HCM P&F trigerring event would pass the process instance to workflow container. Once you have GUID you can instantiate process object run time environment and then update container elements of the process. ( I am referring to elements that are defined in form scenario here ).

      Sample code would be,

      CALL METHOD cl_hrasr00_process_runtime=>get_instance
      = io_step_object->parent_scenario_guid
      = io_step_object->guid
      = lc_r
      = lo_message_list
      = lc_check
      = lo_pobj_runtime
      = l_authorized
      = l_ok.
      *–Get data container of the form
      CLEAR ls_container.
      CALL METHOD lo_pobj_runtime->get_latest_data_container
      = io_step_object->parent_scenario_guid
      = lo_message_list
      = lc_check
      = lc_r
      = ls_container
      = l_ok
      = l_authorized.

      Using GET* method above, you can read value of current container ( form scenario field names ), similarly you have a method to set data, which will help you to update the field values.

      I assume your SAP WF user name (WF-BATCH) is assigned appropriate authorizations 🙂

      Chris – Would be great if there is a simpler way of achieving this. Please let me know if there is any other way 🙂

  • thanx a ton for sharing this valuable info !!!!

    Do you have any idea about configuration for using  sample process company loans in ESS Portal.??



  • Chris, we are about ready to get started (finally) with an initial HCM P&F project and I was wondering if this blog is still a good place to start (posted in 2012 v. 3/2016 now)? We are on EHP6, EHP 7 and plan, if necessary, to activate the HR Renewal 2.0 add on. We already have ESS/MSS established on the portal and want to add the HR Admin portal as well.

    Can we still use this blog as a starting point? What I like about it is it looks very comprehensive as it involves the BASIS and functional steps/role.


    Jeff Wible

    • hmmmm “some” of it still applies. You still have some set up to do in MANY places….the HCM P&F foundation…..Case Management…..Workflow…..and if you use Adobe Interactive Forms, then you have ADS set up to do. In some places, SAP has made this a bit easier.

      • Thanks, that is what I was hoping. I want to get the teams started in sandbox with the “technical” backend set up which this particular blog seems to focus on. We are going to use FPM/WDA forms or start with the Roadmap forms, once we dig into the options a bit (just not Adobe!). No UI5 specific option yet that I have seen….

        Thanks again, these blogs are an amazing resource and very much appreciated!


        • Go HR R2 for sure. A few things of note..

          Roadmap forms?…I have not done much with these as I am still wary of them. They seem a quick replacement for PA20/30 needs…and even PA40 with “dynamic processing rules”….but I find them rather limited in functionality and for me at least, it is just easier to crank out what I need as a HCM P&F process (FPM usually) and get exactly what I want.

          FPM/WDA forms are great! Easy to work with. Not much in the way of control on layout, formatting, branding, etc. though. You will not get the same level of client side interaction as say a Adobe form (via embedded Javascript for example), but of course, you don’t pay the licensing expense either…and lets be real here…THAT is the big one. haha

          Adobe Interactive Forms (AIF)…..don’t “ppppshawww” them just yet. haha They do STILL have a place in the world…especially for very strictly regulated or legally required form layouts…like specific government forms…..and you still need them to provide a “print” version of FPM forms (you can read my rants on this in other blogs haha).

          UI5….like you said..still not “standard” option yet..but not hard to “roll your own”. There are a few companies claiming a “UI5 solution” but think of them more as “accelerators” than full fledged products….mostly used to get a consulting company’s foot in the door as they will be needed to do the work the “product” does not complete. This is similar to the WDA “solutions” that were around when AIF was the only option. I have done a UI5-option project for HCM P&F….not difficult…but more set up involved (ie Gateway).

          Others?….you could look at a company like Neptune. They have a product that makes VERY nice web, Mobile-ready apps for SAP (and ties to HCM P&F) without the need for Gateway…and works on older versions of SAP as well. Fellow SAP Mentor Njål Stabell is part of that company and can probably talk to you more if you were interested… could also consider Worklogix ( Jeremy Masters‘ company)…..VERY nice solution as well and they are more than happy to demo it easily for you!

          • Chris, excellent points/guidance. We are just about to dig into the “weeds” on this project so I’ll be referencing these blog posts frequently (but promise not to ask a million questions as I realize this is not meant to be a “free consulting” forum)!



          • haha Jeff….thanks…..I don’t provide “free consulting” in most cases….but I am not adverse to answering the occasional email..feel free to hit me up if needed.

          • Chris, as you enjoy your coffee…I’m looking for a decent P&F/HR Renewal Overview slide deck or document that would be appropriate and useful for distribution to our end users such as payroll and hr administrators. They currently use the SAP GUI and basic transactions (PA30, 40 etc.) for all of their work. Does such a beast exist? I looked through some of our prior year ASUG presentations and none seems to be basic enough….no emergency, just wondering.