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Author's profile photo Tridip Chakraborthy

BRF (process controlled workflow) v/s ACW (Application controlled workflow) is the debate over?

1.0  Overview

In the past couple implementations of SAP SRM 7.0, customers have constantly and repeatedly asked these questions:

  1. Do we go to the BRF – process controlled workflow with our new implementation?
  2. We are upgrading from SRM lower to 7.0, should we switch our workflow framework to Process controlled BRF?
  3. Can my super-users really tweak the workflow, is it that easy?
  4. Can you give us a dope in a one-slider showcasing the benefit of using BRF over ACW taking our HAZMAT or some-other complex workflow that we have configured already?
  5. Can I switch back to ACW, if I have switched on BRF and did not find it useful?


The questions are many, I started a LinkedIn collaboration thread on my LinkedIn group focusing on SAP Procurement solutions, and got some very strong positive and not so positive responses emphasizing one over the other

I also checked with the #Workflowgoddess and fellow SAPMENTOR Tag sapmentors;sapmentor;   Susan Keohan on her thoughts as we were debating about an SAP SRM 7.0 Ehp2 functionality that came exclusively with the BRF and not with the ACW and I have pasted all the real opinions in the snap-shots below

You can check, how SRM consultants on the ground feel about the BRF (Process Controlled workflow) and the ACW (Application controlled workflow)

If you want to implement BRF, the one awesome comprehensive guide is so well crafted by Sam Chacko Ninan Understand and Configure SRM Process Controlled Workflow

This guide will help you model the entire workflow by understanding process control in detail and from the basics

Here is the cover-flow of the LinkedIn group comments that I was referring to on the BRF v/s ACW debate







2.0 My experience

    1. I have personally felt that BRF, though not that super-user friendly, still has several advantages over the Application controlled workflow
    2. There is lot, that a functional consultant or a business process expert can do before reaching out to an ABAP consultant / Workflow consultant
    3. It brings in the element of process control which cannot be explained, but felt, when you actually get your hands dirty with BRF

3.0 Key Takeaway from this blog

    1. SAP SRM Customers: There is definitely something that BRF has to offer, get a POC (Proof of concept) evaluated with a complex approval process that has to adhere to process changes over a period of time, ask for a demo to distinguish b/w BRF and ACW, weigh your options and also check the value that it brings to the table
    2. SAP SRM / Procurement Consultants: Ensure that BRF is a mandate in your skill set. Demonstrate to the customer, if there is a need to differentiate the two. Don’t shy away from the fact that “the known devil is better than the un-known angel”, give it a shot and more importantly showcase the tangible business benefit of adoption

4.0 Conclusion & follow-on

Would love to hear your positive / not so positive story, if you have one, please post the valuable comments on this blog-post

5.0 SAP Procurement and Ariba: The Social Outreach

Engage with the SAP Procurement and Ariba via these channels and join the conversation


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      Author's profile photo Jaganath Panda
      Jaganath Panda

      Hi Shubham , Tridip ,

        I like the discussion.. 

        I am a Workflow ABAP Consultant...So I feel bad if SAP introduces the new feature I could loose my Job... 

      " Learnability & Skill Improvement should be there in all of us.. "

      Better to be Functional with the knowledge of Underlying Technology... 🙂



      Author's profile photo David Barber
      David Barber

      Hi. Great discussion. I think SAP's view is pretty strong though, the message is "you have to use BRF unless you are upgrading and have a good reason not to".

      In practise, I think BRF is great on a new implementation, however when I have upgraded I have always kept with ACW, due to BRF missing some of the functionality that was there on ACW, mostly the ability to change at any step and have that change re-trigger the approval and to split completion steps at item level.

      If you already have workflow in place and it is working well and is potentially very complex, why change? If it ain't broke don't fix it...

      However if you are starting a new project, and you can make sure you build your approval process around the concept of completion steps followed by approval steps, BRF is definitly the way to go.