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Which #Workflow Inbox When? Pros and cons for SAP Business Workflow and SAP NetWeaver #BPM

Image courtesy of anankkml /

FINAL UPDATE (seriously!): AT LAAAAAAAST… Yesterday 14th May 2013 at SAPPHIRE  NOW the SAP Approve All mobile device & desktop inbox was released as part of the SAP Fiori group of related applications, that gives you both the request submission and approval task UIs to go with it, as well as easy extensibility options for custom workflows.  The Fiori apps mark a significant change in direction for user experiences with SAP.  They are *really* a very attractive – and the SAPUI5 guys are excited as well – Is this cool or what??? . For a little of the human perspective on these new apps try this blog – I am not a number. I am a person.  If you want to see what all the fuss has been about, check them and the new SAP Approve All inbox out for yourself at

Latest Update: Ok so the secret is well and truly out… the official name of the new harmonized workflow inbox is SAP Approve All.  We were hoping this would be released in Q1 but it’s been so popular with the initial customers that some more content has been requested in the initial offering, so expect further announcements in time for SAPPHIRE in May 2013. For those of you with ASUG membership (or ASUG friends) there’s a preview at the pre-conference seminar on the SAP Mobile Platform.

Once upon a time and not so long ago, answering the question of “which SAP workflow inbox should we use?” was simple… The stock answer was always:  “You should use The Universal Worklist Inbox”. After all it’s in the name – Universal – covers everything you need to do or would ever want to do. 

Now things are changing, and with the introduction of a few new inbox players I am finding the “which inbox should we use” and the “should we change to a different inbox” questions being raised at even long term workflow sites.  So this is a little pros and cons summary of the major players when it comes to workflow inboxes and some brief recommendations on when to use which.

The most important thing to understand when choosing a workflow inbox for SAP Business Workflow and/or SAP NetWeaver BPM is that the choice is primarily a question of infrastructure rather than features.   The main questions I ask these days are:

  • What devices will be used to access the inbox?
  • What infrastructure is available to support the inbox?
  • What sorts of users (occasional, expert) will use the inbox, and what degree of change management are we expecting?
  • What are the source systems for the inbox items?
    • All from one system or do they come from multiple systems?
    • Do we need to support both SAP Business Workflow work items and SAP NetWeaver BPM tasks now or in the foreseeable future?
    • Do we have any non-SAP work that we want to include in the inbox?

Why do I need a workflow inbox at all? Can’t I just use email?

Email inboxes are not generally considered secure environments, and as a rule they don’t provide sufficient control options to adequately organize work.  Not convinced? Consider this scenario…

  • When a piece of work is sent to multiple people via a workflow inbox it is still one piece of work being viewed by multiple people.  Everyone can see the current status of the work, and once the work is completed it is automatically removed from everyone’s inbox.   The work can’t be deleted – it either has to be completed or cancelled if it’s no longer needed).  Tracking who looked at the work and who actually completed it is straightforward.
  • Contrast this with an email inbox – when you send an email to multiple people everyone gets their own copy.  Some of them will action it, some will ignore it, and some will just delete it.  Trying to work out who did what and whether the work has been done at all is a nightmare.  Trying to get back the email once the work has been completed is usually unachievable.

That’s just one of the reasons why we usually only use email inboxes to remind people “work is waiting in their workflow inbox”.  There are standard options for sending such reminders from both SAP Business Workflow and SAP NetWeaver BPM.

But if you really, really, really want to use the email inbox, then you are recommended to look at robust SAP accredited extensions such as Duet Enterprise for Microsoft Outlook, or Alloy for IBM Notes (previously called Lotus Notes).

Transaction SBWP – The original (if not the best)

So you are still using transaction SBWP?  The original inbox we all used when SAP Business Workflow came out around about 1996 (ah the halcyon days of R/3 3.0C)?  Awwww, bless!  Soooo last century… but hey, so is my house and that still works, it’s just that when I want to add in the latest SmartHome technology that life starts to get a little awkward.   In all seriousness, transaction SBWP is still successfully used by many customers and its fine… up to a point. 



  • Low infrastructure requirements
    • All you need is SAPGUI for Windows and access to transaction SBWP


  • Doesn’t support multiple systems (e.g. ECC, SRM, and CRM all to the one inbox)
  • Doesn’t support SAP NetWeaver BPM tasks
  • Few customization/personalization options – Unfortunately this inbox has some but not a lot of options for simplifying the inbox display.
  • High Change Management Costs
    • Since it was first released, SBWP has changed a little but not greatly, and many of the improvements have been something of a mixed blessing.  It’s what we euphemistically call “feature-rich” –  in other words has so many buttons and bells to use it all would take a good map, a compass with a precision sighting system, and one of those Nepali guides who take climbers up Mt Everest.

Use if all of the following apply:

  • Your only SAP system is ECC
  • Your only workflow users are expert users
  • You don’t have any near term requirements to move your inbox to mobilize your inbox

For more info on the latest changes to the SBWP have a look at the SCN Workflow wiki.

The Universal Worklist Inbox – The one-stop shop

The Universal Worklist has been *THE* SAP workflow inbox just about since the SAP Enterprise Portal came into being.   Its primary advantages are:

  • Its “just out of the box” vanilla look and feel is simple and clean, and great for occasional users as well as regulars
  • The amazing degree of flexibility and customization possible especially when  you get down  and dirty with the UWL XML
  • It supports all SAP Business Workflow work items and SAP NetWeaver BPM tasks from as many different systems as you care to support all at the same time
  • Supports alerts and notifications as well as traditional work
  • It has a comprehensive API so that you can even support non-SAP work if you wish (and that has been done at a few sites)

UWL.JPGThe UWL really is a one-stop shop that has stood many of us in good stead over many years and has grown over the years to accommodate all kinds of applications and scenarios.

Its primary disadvantages have been the requirement for the SAP Enterprise Portal, and a perennial challenge with performance issues – the downside of polling multiple systems – requiring some extraordinary measures to overcome these, such as the UWL Delta Pull option.  If you are using the UWL over more than one system it really is essential to make sure you are using at least some of these measures to optimize the inbox.

It’s been over 10 years now since the Universal Worklist was introduced and it’s still the best of the bunch – for now – in terms of all round capability.


  • Very high degree of customization and personalization possible – centrally through UWL Administration,  and for each user via Personalize options
  • Supports multiple systems – have all your work from ECC, SRM, CRM, etc. delivered to the one place
  • Supports both SAP Business Workflow work items and SAP NetWeaver BPM tasks


  • High infrastructure requirements – you must have a SAP Enterprise Portal to use it
  • Not optimized to support mobile devices

Use if any of the following apply:

  • You have a SAP Enterprise Portal (required)
  • You want a one-stop shop
  • You have a lot of occasional users 
  • You have multiple systems and want to feed them all to the same inbox (always a good idea to minimize support and change management costs)
  • You have both SAP Business Workflow and SAP NetWeaver BPM

For more info try the chapter on Work Item Delivery in the book/ebook Practical Workflow for SAP (2nd edition)

Latest update: I hear tell from colleagues that the UWL may also be available as part of the mobilized portal – if you have invested heavily in UWL customization this is an option that might be right for you.

The POWL Worklist – Just enough, just where I need it

A relatively new player and a big step up from the old transaction SBWP inbox is the POWL Worklist for Workflow.   This is something of a best of both worlds (UWL and SBWP) for sites without SAP Enterprise Portal or with expert users who primarily use SAPGUI. It’s designed to be used with the SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC) but can also be used with the SAP Enterprise Portal if you wish.  It’s based on the ABAP Personal Object Worklists concept which means it’s highly extensible with lots of customization and personalization options as well.  POWL.JPG

FYI – Minimum release requirement is SAP NetWeaver (SAP Business Suite Foundation) 7.02  – e.g. ECC 6.0 EHP5.


  • Lightweight infrastructure – you just need the NWBC
  • Runs as a ABAP WebDynpro app so can be called in a web browser as well
  • Can even be run within the SAP Enterprise Portal
  • Good for occasional users
  • Can be extended to support multiple systems
  • High degree of customization and personalization possible through the usual POWL options


  • Doesn’t support SAP NetWeaver BPM Tasks
  • Not optimized for mobile devices

Use if any of the following apply:

  • You are ready for a better user experience than SBWP but don’t run an Enterprise Portal
  • You want to add occasional users but want to give them a better user experience than SBWP
  • You have implemented NWBC

If you haven’t come across this before try these SAP Library Help links – main documentation + multi system extension – for some further information.

The HTML5 BPM Inbox – Moving into Tablet Territory

The introduction of SAP NetWeaver BPM – both standalone and as part of SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration – and the availability of a whole new range of UI technologies supporting all sorts of devices has prompted a bit of a rethink on workflow inbox design.   BPM_HTML5_v2.jpgThe first of these was the release of a HTML5 based inbox for BPM as part of SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration 7.3 EHP1 SP4 in June 2012. 

While the primary aim here was an improved user experience and to move towards technologies that support multiple devices, internal benchmarking suggests there are some major performance advantages to be had as well. 

While it doesn’t yet have the range of features of the Universal Worklist, most of the remaining major desirable features are in the roadmap for early 2013. Keep a lookout for announcements and make sure you check new release notes if this inbox is of interest to you.


  • Supports SAP NetWeaver BPM Tasks
  • Designed to work with on multiple devices such as tablets
  • A whole lot faster than the Universal Worklist (based on our internal benchmarking)


  • Doesn’t handle SAP Business Workflow tasks – yet
  • Doesn’t handle multiple systems – yet

Use if any of the following apply:

  • You have SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration or SAP NetWeaver BPM 7.3 EHP1 SP4 or above and don’t want to run a SAP Enterprise Portal
  • You want to run a BPM inbox on multiple devices 

Find out more in Helmut Grimm’s TechEd 2012 presentation: PMC200 Making SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management Mobile

Hold on, we’re coming… harmonized SAP Workflow Inbox for Mobile, Desktop and On-Demand  

Yes you read correctly… that’s harmonized SAP Workflow – not SUP Mobile Workflow. What was SUP Mobile Workflow … well that ‘s now called the Hybrid Web Container, because from an SAP point of view… well to mangle a Star Trek reference:MobileInboxLabPreview.jpg

It’s workflow, Jim, but not as we know it.

So about now you might be thinking “Hey, what about an inbox that combines the best of the BPM HTML5 and the UWL … something that will cover all scenarios but also run well on most devices – not just laptops and tablets, but mini-tablets and phones?” and if so you are not alone. 

SAP is currently working on a new harmonized workflow inbox … no final official date for this one yet (even the name itself is still being finalized) but watch out for further announcements in early 2013.  The dream is to cover:

  • Not just SAP Business Workflow and SAP NetWeaver BPM but extend to a broad range of A2A and B2B worklists
  • Not just traditional work items and tasks but extend support to a broad range of providers across task types, event types, alerts, and notifications ( i.e. multi-provider enablement using Gateway techniques)
  • Not just laptops and tablets but optimized for a range of devices including mobile phones, tablets, and desktops.

It’s ambitious and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result (… if only so it gives me an excuse to make more of my BYOD iPhone).

What if I can’t wait… Creating your own custom Inbox

Here’s the good news… if you can’t wait for the new Unified Worklist inbox then both SAP Business Workflow and SAP NetWeaver BPM provide sufficient APIs for you to create your own custom inboxes using whatever technology you prefer.

Who’s doing this and what should you aim for?  Well some partners have been doing some very interesting work in this space, for instance creating mobile inboxes with time and location based reminders.  Helmut Grimm demonstrated 3 examples of these in his TechEd 2012 presentation: 

PMC200 Making SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management Mobile

But what about all those other inboxes…

Ok so at this point some of you are wondering about all those other application specific inboxes that you might have stumbled across in your SAP solution travels.   A few examples are …

  • Manager Self Service Worklist – actually this is a simple variant of the UWL using standard UWL configuration
  • Supplier Relationship Management Worklist – this is an application specific worklist, but the same features can be supported and the same work items delivered via the UWL
  • Customer Relationship Management Worklist – some of this is SAP Business Workflow and can be delivered by the UWL, some of this is related to a mysterious entity known as a CRM Activity and not relevant to workflow at all  
  • SAP Mobile app HRApprovals –  this is a SAP native iPhone app that looks at certain HR approvals such as leave requests and timesheets

Latest update: BTW if HRApprovals interests you, you can check it out in the SAP Mobile Apps store.

Whenever a new application specific workflow inbox is proposed, ask yourself:

  • Is <insert specific inbox application here> the only inbox certain users need to use?
  • Does it provide a significant advantage (in features or convenience) over and above what can be achieved with other inboxes?
  • Does the convenience of the application specific inbox outweigh the overhead of the additional support?
  • How many more workflow inboxes are we prepared to support?

Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not – it’s a judgement call.

Do I really have to choose? What if I want to use more than one inbox?

Actually lots of customers take advantage of multiple SAP inboxes – both to provide different inboxes for different users, and to provide multiple inboxes for the same user to suit different scenarios.

What motivates a multi-inbox strategy?  For some it is to provide greater focus or special features for those who regularly work in a particular application;for others sometimes to provide access from specific devices or in specific locations; and for still others sometimes just for simple convenience.

In fact multiple inboxes is business-as-usual for a lot of us these days.  I can reach my email from my laptop, over Citrix from a public machine or on my iPhone – so being able to reach my workflow inbox from multiple locations is not that big a stretch.

From a technology viewpoint, multiple inboxes are no problem – all of the SAP inboxes are consistent because they all draw the work from the same sources, and provide standard mechanisms for handling common exception situations such as attempting to complete work in one inbox, when it’s already been completed or cancelled in another.

For the rest it’s up to you – How many inboxes do you want to support? And what infrastructure do you have to support it?

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  • Hi Jocelyn,

    Great summary.  Thanks for taking the time to share all the options. 

    One interesting observation I saw when reading the SAP User Interface Guidelines 2.0 for SAP Business Suite version 1.1 dated 15 May 2012 (, is that there is ZERO reference to UWL, but instead references to the POWL-based worklist.  Perhaps that is because SAP is no longer assuming SAP Business Suite customers have a SAP NetWeaver Portal in place.  Or perhaps that is simply where the investment is. 



    • Thanks John. I suspect the emphasis on POWL is simply aligned to the push to encourage existing SAPGUI users to use the NetWeaver Business Client to provide a role based environment - similar to the way many customers have used Portal - if they don't have Portal (or if they run both SAPGUI and Portal) as POWL is the primary worklist for NWBC...

      ... and also because of the thinking on the new harmonized inbox.

  • Hi Jocelyn,

    SAP is currently working on a new harmonized workflow inbox

    I neglected to ask this question in my previous comment .... do you have any insights into what platform(s) is required to run this new harmonized workflow inbox?  (eg. Portal? NetWeaver BPM?  Java or ABAP Stack?  SUP?).  After all, as you mention yourself in the blog, infrastructure is a key determinant of what options customers have available to them.



    • Hi John,

      Part of the finalization process is the decision on what options should be available, and to finalize the staging of various options.  

      What I can tell you now is that the intent is to cover a number of source systems: SAP Business Workflow, SAP NetWeaver BPM (and by implication SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration) and provide for 3rd party workflows as well, among others.  Like UWL the inbox would run across the applications you have ... you won't find a requirement to have both workflow and BPM, it's more that if you have both the new inbox will be the logical best place to combine them for the broadest device access.

      Architecturally expect to see SAPUI5 - no surprises there I think as this is key to supporting multiple devices; Gateway and SUP in the mix. Some of the decisions are around what combinations of offerings are available, such as Gateway without SUP.

      I would suggest that if you are looking for particular combinations that you add that to your comments and I'll make sure that gets in front of the relevant people for their consideration - several of them are already aware of this blog.

      There is likely to be some enriched content made available for common business scenarios (leave requests, purchase orders, and such like).  Some of this enriched content may be dependent on having SUP.

  • Great Blog Jocelyn.. We've been discussing allot of these points over the last few months. Currently using the UWL but *really* wanting something better. The UI5 Inbox and Harmonized Inbox looks great. I'm guessing the Harmonized inbox will work off Gateway?

  • great overview of the different options !

    Can you say something about workflow integration in SAP Jam ? Is for example feasible to forecast a special kind of work-items in the SAP Jam feed flow that require action?

    • That's a fantastic thought Sergio and I would certainly second that idea. I don't have any info yet on whether or when that might happen.  A lot of us are only just getting out heads around Jam.  If I find anything out I'll update the blog.

  • About the option "The POWL Worklist – Just enough, just where I need it", I think it may be useful to add (Cons) that it can manage a single back-end that instead is one of the main advantage of SAP UWL. Am I right?

  • Thanks Jocelyn,

    This is a great blog it has been bookmarked for prosperity!

    I have to say that I have thought now for a while about having the UWL but rendered using SAPUI5 (HTML5) so that it works better on devices all the pros of UWL plus the added device compatibility, this dovetails quite nicely with Portal on Device for customers already running the Portal.

    Thanks again,

  • Hi Jocelyn,

    another great blog positioning SAP's thinking about delivering workflow to users.

    I hope you will forgive me for briefly mentioning 2-Cliks as an option here. 😉


    Graham Robbo

    • Hi Graham thanks as always for your encouragement and always happy to see what partners are offering...helps to keep us grounded. Hope you can find time to take a look at Helmut's teched session to see what the competition are offering. And of course I look forward to seeing 2-Cliks extended to BPM and Jam. 😉

      • Hi Jocelyn,

        thanks for the link to Helmut's presentation which is very interesting, although I can't say I agree with his conclusions about security around the 47 minute mark on slide 25.

        I know you realise 2-Cliks already supports BPM "on a project basis" - to use one of the more interesting SAP phrases. 😏

        As for Jam I think there is much more substance to be filled in on both the product and the integration options required before this use case will be adopted. 😕


        Graham Robbo

        • Thx Graham. Streamwork we knew we could do, with Jam agree we are all looking for more details but suspect those will come through quite quickly. And glad you are prepared to consider BPM ... Just make sure customer is on at least 7.31sp5 so you can use the open task ui and then its easy!

    • Hi Arul

      Thanks very much! Fyi we can do non-SAP now with UWL (and probably POWL at a stretch) . The real benefit of html5 is the multi device support.

      Btw I note that Yariv Zur has indicated Visual Composer plans to generate SAPUI5, and have heard rumours of similar news for the NWBC.  BPM can already consume SAPUI5 directly through the open task UI and even workflow and the UWL could consume such UIs indirectly now through existing configuration options. So for me I see this inbox will have immediate value as soon as it is available for anyone interested in HTML5 UIs.

  • Hi Jocelyn,

    That's a really great tour through the inbox choices.

    Loved the "Soooo last century… but hey, so is my house and that still works"

    Reminds me of a couple of outstanding tasks to deal with when I get home 😉


  • Hi Jocelyn,

    Thanks for providing an insight of the various Inbox options. Great Blog. Shall be looking forward for the new Harmonized SAP Workflow Inbox.



  • Hi Jocelyn,

    excellent blog with perfect timing as I need to compare workflow inboxes for Business Workflow in our landscape.

    Interesting bits and pieces about the harmonized inbox and glad to hear that more is coming in the near future!



    • Thanks Alex, Yes sounds like its just the best timing for you.  I'm hoping to give some more info on the harmonized inbox as we get closer, and I'm sure the mobile folks will also be blogging from their spaces as well. Demos I've seen so far have been very encouraging.

  • Hi Jocelyn,

    Thanks a lot for such a wonderful blog. I really appreciate your blogs.

    Couple of months back when PO(SP4) was released, i had looked at the HTML5 inbox. Then i was not sure what was the purpose of the new inbox. I have a complete and better understanding now.



  • Hi Jocelyn

    Not sure if i missed something here between your great blog and the replies but what about Notifications when deciding on inbox?

    i.e. Not user interaction Tasks but generally informational messages sent by the applications or Workflows?

    The UWL has a Notification tab, that used to require a connector to pick up SAP office mails, but generally I come across situations where this is not used and instead the customer's preferred method is to continue to receive these mails in one inbox, and that being the exchange client, usually Outlook.

    I would be interested to hear what you and the forum think about this aspect.

    Should Tasks and System Mails be separated or joined, in a new UI?



    • Hi Stuart

      It's a good thought as historically notifications have been a factor and also supported. However in practice I have mostly seen that used in kiosk scenarios where several people may share a single machine. With the rise of mobile devices and the ready availability of email inbox apps for  such devices that is less of an issue and I would expect the 2 inboxes to diverge further. But agree it would be good to hear the thoughts of others in the community on this

  • Jocelyn,

    You hit the nail on the head with this blog. Lot of us have had questions about this topic for a while. I really hope SAP comes up soon with the seemingly utopian world of a common workflow inbox that works for all SAP and NON-SAP workflows and on most devices including tablets, mobile. Can't wait to see the light of the day.

    We use UWL via the SAP Portal a lot. I hope in the new world order, we will have an appropriate replacement for the same va the portal without too much of a re-training efforts for our users?



    • Hi Atul, We have a bunch of demo screenshots available internally already and from what I can see it will actually be easier to use than the UWL.  The screens are very clean and clear.  The question will be what combination to use as the advanced content provides more information (e.g. leave balances and the like with a leave approval request) but of course requires more infrastructure.  Hopefully we will see more news soon.  Looking forward to the 2013 inbox options!



  • Hi Jocelyn,

    Thanks for all truly awesome, wonderful, power-packed blogs. Whenever I go through your blogs, I feel like, I am working still with some of the stone-age period clients who never think to prosper along with SAP Roadmap.

    But frankly speaking the explosion of options are so rapid in SAP, that by the time a product is implemented and customer is leveraging upon it, a new option with new toppings is available to garnish.

    Lets hope for the best.

    Thanks once again.


    Tushar Shinde.

    • Thanks Tushar - that's so kind of you!  And I'm very glad you are enjoying the blogs. 

      Yes we all struggle with what to leverage next, but of course you can only leverage it if you know it exists.. hence this particular blog.  So here's hoping you get to use some of the new options sometime soon.



      • Just like to add one more item to list of UWL capabilities.

        You have both SAP Business Workflow and SAP NetWeaver BPM

        SAP Guided Procedures. ℹ - Still used by many customers who are now planning to migrate all Java based SAP GP workflows to SAP NW BPM tool.


  • Hi Jocelyn,

    Excellent Blog, Thanks for providing an insight of the various Inbox options,
    Shall be looking forward for the new Harmonized SAP Workflow Inbox


          • Coming soon to a download centre near you! Wow the suspense is killing me! Bring it on 😆

            Any rumours about licensing implications? I would like it to just run in the portal and be free 😉 (the first mobile portal business package) am I being too optimistic?

          • Would love to be able to tell you but as an SAP Employee that would get me in a lot of trouble mate!  Announcements are made when they are made, sorry 😉

          • Hi Simon, Good things came! Talk to your local SAP sales rep about pricing and license but I've seen it and it looks pretty good so far... definitely a lot less expensive than some of our earlier mobile offerings.



          • Hi Jason, Yes!

            As well as the site to give an understanding of look and feel...

            The SAP Library Help is already out: with the links to the install guide, extension guide etc.

            If you know anyone at SAPPHIRE NOW right now then there are 4 sessions (presentations, demo theater, et al) on there so try and get them to drop in - there's  a session Thursday (tonight our time) with Colgate who are one of the early adopters.

            If you  have any specific questions let us know and we'll get them answered - we can raise questions on the Mobile space in SCN - just direct message me a link and I'll make doubly sure the guys with all the answers are tuned in if I can't answer it myself.  We have a whole heap of details internally and its all pretty clear cut.




          • Ahhhhhh. Thanks Jocelyn. I didn't realise that the Fiori one "was" the approve-all Inbox. I've already read everything I can get my hands on for Fiori.  😉  Ta.

          • No worries Jason.  One of the perks of being a SAP Employee is that I do have a whole bunch more information already than is available to you. So if you have a question just ask - but suggest we put those in the Mobile space just to be fair to other Fiori users.

            Have to say that so far with everything I have seen I am still happy as a clam! Everything I wanted - nothing I was concerned was going to get lumped in with it either technically or licensing-wise.  Another triumph for Design Thinking (yes they did use that... and it shows).

    • I'm actually trying to find out more about the MSS SAPUI5 and Gateway Unified Inbox - from what I have learned so far they both use the same reusable UI5 inbox control.  Gateway is set up for multiple providers e.g. multiple SAP systems, and BPM.  MSS is only set up for a single provider - but I gather that's an easy fix to go from a single to multiple providers.

      The functionality is very very similar to what I describe in the BPM HTML5 inbox ... only its moved on to include custom attributes, mass approval buttons, etc.

      All very promising stuff.

      Hoping I can blog on the Gateway Unified Inbox or get someone else to do so soon.

      Main thing to keep in mind is that both are currently still aimed at the desktop even though they are written in HTML5. So Fiori approve all is still a better option currently if you are thinking multi-device.

      • Thanks for the reply, Jocelyn! Waiting for this blog! and plan to implement HTML5 inbox in my current ESS/MSS project.

        Fiori has licence cost issue above ESS/MSS licenses, but I agree - if mobile approve is the requirment, Fiori is the best choice.

  • Hi Jocelyn,

    I keep coming back to this post to remind myself of all the options, so thank you again for taking the time to write it up. I also have a new question for you :-), in the blog you say:

    It’s been over 10 years now since the Universal Worklist was introduced and it’s still the best of the bunch – for now - in terms of all round capability.

    Would you still agree with this statement now since the Fiori Approve Requests app has been released? I am wondering if the UWL is still more flexible or if the Fiori approach is equally capable?

    There is some great info in here, wonder if it might be better suited to a document here on SCN rather than a blog? Or maybe a Wiki page that can version controlled and updated as time goes by?

    Thanks again,


    • Hi Simon,

      Sorry for missing this one...

      Personally my current picks of the bunch would be:

      • Gateway Unified Inbox if you want a SAPUI5 rough equivalent of the UWL and are mainly working on desktops - however there is no promise of an exact feature by feature match so you need to do your due diligence and check the features you need are supported or you have an alternative
      • Fiori Approve <stuff> - Approve Requests is the generic app that handles User Decisions natively and can be extended to handle most custom approval scenarios - if you are truly looking for a multi-device solution that includes smartphones and tablets. There are a bunch of rather nice delivered Approve <stuff> apps e.g. Purchase Orders, Shopping Carts, etc. etc. so use those if you can to save TCD.

      Nothing to stop you using both of course... and that would be valid.



    • Hi Gilles JUNG I am sure Jocelyn Dart wouldn't mind if you took the great content here as a starting point and created a wiki page or a document here on SCN that could be kept up to date by the community. I am currently planning to do a review of the UI5 Inbox vs. the POWL Inbox, the results of which I would be happy to add to something like that. If you think you'd like an update then I can imagine lots of others would too.

        • Hi Jocelyn,

          Thanks for useful Information!

          I have a scenario, where  we should use SAP BPM HTML5 (UI5) inbox in IE8, W ehave tested the functionalities to some extend and it is working fine. Before committing to eliver this I want to get some clarifications.

          1. Did SAP supports this (BPM Inbox in IE8)

          2. If SAP supports also ae there any limitations or hiden things (Which we may not have tested).

          3. Is there any dependency on OS and IE cominations also like IE8 with only WIN7 etc.

          Any help regarding these concerns!



          • Hi Uma? Ravindra?

            If you have specific queries regarding the BPM Inbox I would suggest you raise them in the forum in the Business Process & Management space or the Process Orchestration space rather than raise them here. You will then get answers from a number of customers who are using these and alternative flavours of the SAPUI5 inbox such as the Gateway Unified Inbox.



      • Hi Simon, I would be honored to try. But I cannot start something before august due to projects constraints and hollyday period. Rgds. Gilles

      • Hi Simon, Gilles, Jocelyn and anyone else who is interested,

        I have created a publicly editable Google spreadsheet with a Workflow Inbox Feature Comparison Matrix. Workflow Inbox Feature Comparison Matrix

        I have filled in as many features as I could think of, but have left some ?'s with the hope that the community will contribute and help complete and improve on it.

        Jocelyn, thanks, your blog has been really helpful in filling in some of the info.

        Hope its useful to people.