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Today, SP10 is available! And here’s about some new feature:

Starting with SAP Solution Manager release 7.10, the approval procedure assignment block from CRM standard was integrated, enhanced and used in the Request for Change.

The approval procedure allows customers to use an “approval workflow” that is executed during the Request for Change process. Customers can define several different approval procedures –  each approval procedure consists of one or many approval steps. Each approval step has a name, as well as a target business partner function, that is supposed to execute (meaning approve) this step (e.g. Change Manager, IT Operator, …).

Customers can specify whether all the steps will be active for approval in parallel, or whether the approval steps have to be approved in sequence.

If the approval procedure is started, approvers which have to take action get notified via email notification  using a Workflow item. The email contains a link in order to access the document and execute their approval step – once all the steps are completed the entire document is set to “Approved”, “Rejected” or stays in “To be Approved” (only if all approvers choose ‘Not Releant’).

Some approval procedure example:approval procedure example.png

Additionally, it is possible to set a default approval procedure or prefill the approvers with the relevant business partners via rule policies…the SAP standard delivers for the Request for Change (transaction type SMCR) here two rule policies, the first one setting the single delivered standard approval procedure as default approval procedure. This delivered approval procedure has only one approval step. The second rule policy fills the business partner entered as change manager as well into the approver in this approval step.

rule policy example.png

But…the authorization concept provided by CRM standard is limited, it just checks for a special authority object (CRM_APPRVL) to approve an approval step.

If the user has this authorization object assigned, then it is possible to approve each step, independent if the user’s business partner is entered as an approver, or not. This ‘open’ approval concept is a feature from CRM standard but it is not feasible for most of our ChaRM customers.

old crm authority object.png

CRM standard had no improvement in this area on the scope for future releases. You can check Karthik Paramasivam blog which has a part that discusses/states this, too.

http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/alm/solution-manager/blog/2012/04/18/chanage-request-management–frequent-issues-and-solutions

The ChaRM team was aware that this was a pain point and implemented some enhanced features for the approval procedure. After a SP 9 pilot phase with selected customers, these features are now released with the coming Feature Pack, technically SP10.

The new features have to be manually activated in the system by an IMG activity. But this is the last step you do after prerequisite customizing is done which is explain further on:

activate switch.png

Please be aware that there is an error in the IMG docu. The User Name of the customizing entry in the view should be space not ‘*’ !!!

The new features of the enhanced approval procedure functions are:

1.) Enhanced authority concept with a new authorithy object SM_APP_AP

to control the enhanced approval procedure authorization features of specific transaction types (defined by the values of authorization field AIC_PROC):

  • Change the assigned approval procedure (activity 02 Change)
  • Approve an approval step where your business partner is assigned as approver (activity 37 Accept)
  • Delete an approval step  (activity 75 Remove)
  • Add an approval step  (activity 22 Enter, Include, Assign)
  • Administer (Power user: activity 70 Administer): do all above and approve other business partner’s approval steps

authority object.png

Attention: First it has to be stated that the authorization concept from CRM will only be enhanced so it restricts further. This means if CRM approval procedure logic already forbids a function it will not be allowed or overwritten by the enhanced approval procedure features.

Example: You can control if a user can add and delete an approval step via the new authority object but when you save the document after adding a new approval step, CRM standard might not allow the deletion of the step again. In this case, we do not allow it, either.

How it looks like:

In case your user does not have the authority to execute a function in the approval procedure, the buttons (delete, add) are inactive. In case you are not allowed to approve an approval step or change the approval procedure assignment, the fields are switched to display mode.

authorities show case.png

Delivered ChaRM standard roles and the new authority object:

Role SAP standard roles Activity for
Power User, Administrator SAP_CM_SMAN_ADMINISTRATOR 70 (administer), 37 (approve) approval step, 75 (delete approval step), 22 (add approval step), 02 (change approval procedure assignment)
Change Manager SAP_CM_SMAN_CHANGE_MANAGER 37 (approve) approval step, 75 (delete approval step), 22 (add approval step), 02 (change approval procedure assignment)
Potential Approvers

SAP_CM_SMAN_DEVELOPER

SAP_CM_SMAN_OPERATOR

SAP_CM_SMAN_TESTER

37 (delivered inactive)

Using this feature:

1.) Maintain the authorizations with your roles or copy the standard roles if you start anew.

2.) Activate the enhanced approval procedure features

2.) Substitute a business partner

This part was available already in the Incident Management area and now has been integrated to the Change Request Management area.

The business scenario is that the business partner assigned to the approval step might be not available because he is on vacation, on travel, or got sick, etc.

Now it is possible to define a substitute for this business partner or define for whom you substitute. The dialog window is reused from the Incident Management area which means the substitute you define is as well defined for the Incident Management area :

manage substitutes.png

substitute pop up.png

Now, only the business partner entered as approver and all of his substitutes (and the power admin user) are able to approve the approval step.

Note as a prerequisite the user needs authority object ‘SM_APP_AP’ with activity ’37’ and the current transaction type in his role).

Restriction:

Currently, SP10 has one restriction in this area. The email notification which is executed to inform all approvers when an approval procedure is active, does not inform the substitute. We hope to close this gap with a future support package/release.

Using this feature:

1.) Maintain the authorizations and roles

2.) Activate the enhanced approval procedure features

3.) Maintain organizational units as approver

Some customers have not just a substitute but a special organization, meaning circle of approvers, which approves changes in the landscape. For these customers now it is possible to create an organizational unit in the org model and then assign this business partner of type organization as an approver.

First, you create your organization in PPOMA_CRM and assign your business partners which belong to the approval group.

org model.png

Then, after the authorizations are maintained and the enhanced approval procedure features are activated, you can assign organizational units as approvers.

Restriction:

Currently, SP10 has one restriction in this area. The email notification which is executed to inform all approvers when an approval procedure is active, does not work for organizational units. We hope to close this gap with a future support package/release.

Using this feature:

1.) Maintain the authorizations and roles

2.) Create the org model with the organizational unit and the assigned business partners

3.) Activate the enhanced approval procedure features

General Restrictions:

Substitute and organizational unit as approver do not work together. It’s not allowed to substitute an organization with a business partner type person or other organization.

Hope that helps, if you have comments are find errors, do not hesitate to contact me.

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31 Comments

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  1. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    Hi Michael,

    this is one of the most requested features in my customers. I have spoken to some of your colleagues about it some time ago since this was a big pain point indeed. I am very happy to see that the ChaRM team implemented this feature in the new Feature Pack. I’ll inform my customers running ChaRM about this and other benefits of upgrading to SP10.

    Thank you very much for sharing these details. I’m looking forward to starting working with SP10.

    Best regards,

    Raquel

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  2. Uwe Fetzer

    lol, exactly this approval procedure I’ve implemented at my client five years ago and ported it to WebUI this year (incl. Org-Unit / PROMA_CRM).

    Nice Work!

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  3. P K

    Thanks Michael,

    Gr8 to here this news šŸ™‚   This was one of my client requirement when I implement ChaRM 7.1 SP6.

    Yes this will definitely help to control the Approvals in RFC.

    In SP6 also there is a functionality for providing Substitutes in Worklist ‘Personalize Workflow Tasks’. And Work Flow Task triggers to all the maintained Substitutes.

    Are there any plans for Approval Procedures in CDs as well, may be in future release..?

    Regards

    PK

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  4. Sebastien DUPREZ

    Very detailled and useful blog. Those enhancements to the Approval procedure make it much more usable. So far, it was quite hard to get customer convinced to adopt this. The “phased” approval involving multiple validators notified by email is a big plus.

    Regards, Sebastien

    (0) 
  5. Sid Bharadwaj

    Michael – Thanks for sharing. we had worked with SAP to implement a similar functionality for CHARM flex, i am happy we have this as part of standard now.

    will be this fnctionality be extended to the Change Docs..?

    (0) 
  6. Chong Junnie

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for sharing this. I have tried to implement ‘enhanced approval procedure’ with the IMG and given full authorization to the user but the approval procedure selection tab and also the approval step were disabled. Do you have any idea?

    Thanks

    (0) 
    1. Michael Vollmer Post author

      Until now there is no bug known in this functionality.

      Are you aware that if you do not have administrator authority only the bp assigned as change manager is able to change the approval procedure selection and steps?

      Best regards,

      Michael

      (0) 
      1. Chong Junnie

        Hie Michael,

        Good to hear from you.

        I have tried to add SAP_CM_SMAN_ADMINISTRATOR but both of the approval selection tab and approval steps were disabled too. Not sure it impact by any other roles/object.

        Thanks

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        1. Michael Vollmer Post author

          Have you assigned the CRM standard authorities for approval procedure as well? ENH_APP is on as well?

          If this does not work and you are able to debug, set a break-point in class CL_AIC_APPROVAL_ENHANCEMENT=>EVALUATE_APPROVAL_AUTHORITY, there we check the authority object in our code. Otherwise create a customer message, support will check this.

          Thanks,

          Michael

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          1. Chong Junnie

            Hi Michael,

            Already debug and both of the approval selection tab and approval steps were enabled now. But weird thing is the requestor was able to approve even it just assigned with SAP_CM_SMAN_TESTER 22 (add approval step), 02 (change approval procedure assignment) **uncheck 37 (Approve)

            Is there any other object that impact this?

            Thanks!

            (0) 
            1. Juan-Carlos Garcia-Garavito

              Late but just in case.

              Already referred in the article, but for us the display only restriction was lifted when we added to the affected user the authorization object SM_APP_AP with ACTVT =70 and AIC_PROC = ZMCR (if you use ZMCR).

              Regards,

              Juan

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  7. Tanja Kohler

    Hi Michael,

    one question regarding ChaRM but not directly to your topic here.

    Is there any official information or description from SAP regarding ChaRM deactivation? I want to deactivate ChaRM for an existing maintenance project and would like to know how to do it in the correct way. finishing all changes of course but unassign log. components in the maintenance project or just close the project, … .

    Is such kind of information in the SAP area available?

    BR

    Tanja

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    1. Michael Vollmer Post author

      Hi Tanja,

      I checked with our docu collegue, this is not described anywhere.

      If it is fine for you finish all changes (or reassign them to another project), close the cycle (and task list) and close the solar project. You do not need to unassign the logical components from the solar project in general.

      But if you want to delete the logical components there might be issues because they are assigned to the solar project.

      Nevertheless closing the solar project is only a status which can be changed again to opening up the project.

      So, in general, technically it always would be possible to use this solar project again and create another ChaRM cycle.

      Hope that helps,

      best regards,

      Michael

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  8. Luigi Co

    Hi Michael,

    I have seen one of your comments that organizational units as approvers do not work for change documents.

    Are there updates on this feature? Is there a way for individuals part of an organizational unit assigned in the change document be able to access the change document in edit mode?

    ie.

    1. Person1 and Person2 is assigned under the Change Manager Group,

    2. Change Manager group is assigned as the change manager in the change document.

    3. Person 1 and Person 2 should be able to access the change document in edit mode.

    Is this possible in any way? Thanks!

    Luigi

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    1. Michael Vollmer Post author

      Hi Luigi,

      in general this is because SAP standard does not support approval procedure on the change documents. But you can contact SAP RIG, so this is done.

      It will be supported in the coming SAP Solution Manager  release as well but as well not customized as SAP standard for a change transaction.

      Which means you have to do the following things:

      – adapt the status profile with the transaction keys for approval procedure status and transaction control customizing

      – adapt the PPF actions for the approval procedure

      – create your or assign a delivered approval procedure to the transaction type

      – create your UI configuration and customize the approval procedure field into the UI configuration in the Detail assignment block part and as well add the approval procedure assignment block into the overview page UI configuration of the transaction type

      – activate your UI configuration via customizing

      – customize the settings in ‘IMG activity Status Depending on Approval Result

      best regards,

      Michael

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      1. Riccardo Escher

        Hi Luigi, some additional steps for approval procedures in change documents

        • Insert the approval det. procedure (IMG Assign Approval Determination Procedure to Transaction Type)
        • delete RESET_STATUS in the ppf action TESTED_AND_NOT_OK (but keep in mind that you might have to check the actions & authorizations of E0002 in this “reset mode”, because now all actions would be executed; alternative is to keep reset_status and modify the check_set coding to execute app_procini in reset mode)
        • enter APP_PROCINI status dependent action to status E0002 “In Development”
        • modify function module AIC_SRQM_RFC_APPROVAL_STAT_EC:
          *{   REPLACE                                                1
          *\  IF ls_proxy_impl-implementation = cl_ags_work_bp_info=>c_proxy_cl_col_req.
          * 2013-12-17 also allow normal change and urgent change
             IF ls_proxy_implimplementation = cl_ags_work_bp_info=>c_proxy_cl_col_req      OR
                ls_proxy_implimplementation = cl_ags_work_bp_info=>c_proxy_cl_sap_nor_corr OR
                ls_proxy_implimplementation = cl_ags_work_bp_info=>c_proxy_cl_sap_urg_corr.
          *}   REPLACE
               lv_new_change_req = abap_true.
             ELSE.
               lv_new_change_req = abap_false.
             ENDIF.
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      2. Balazs Rajnai

        Hello Michael,

        We are on SP13 but still the Change document (Normal change) does not seem to have approval procedure working. Can you please advise when is it expected to be implemented as standard? Also can you please advise in this scenario: we were planning to create a rule policy to set approval procedure for a normal change based on multilevel categorization, but as approval procedure turned out to be non standard for this transaction, we are now stuck. Can you please advise what could be the easiest approach to solve this?

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        1. Michael Vollmer Post author

          Hi Balazs, it’s already possible in 7.10, SP13 but we do not deliver approval procedure standard customizing for the change documents. Meaning, you have to customize your approval procedure and add the fields to the UI configuration yourself.

          If you are Max attention, you can create an EOD message. Otherwise you need a consultant.

          best regards,

          Michael

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  9. Rajeev Sharma

    Hello Michael,

    I would like to understand…If change manager has authorization for Approval procedure,

    Is it possible to assign authorization specific to approval procedure to a processor or creator

    (if that is the requirement in exception case for single user)

    If yes..what are the authorization objects required to be assigned.

    Regards

    Anand

    (0) 
  10. Kathiravan Jegatheesan

    Hi Michael,

    Has the restriction been overcome as of SP13?

    Restriction:

    Currently, SP10 has one restriction in this area. The email notification which is executed to inform all approvers when an approval procedure is active does not work for organizational units. We hope to close this gap with a future support package / release.

    Regards,

    Kathir

    (0) 
    1. Juan-Carlos Garcia-Garavito

      http://scn.sap.com/community/it-management/alm/solution-manager/blog/2014/01/21/sap-crmsolman-charm-multiple-target-agents-via-sap-workflow–minimal-abap-development

      Hi Kathir:

      We did the exercise, already some time ago.  The link above shows you different approaches to email individuals and groups.   You can divert the SAP delivered workflow that is triggered on User Status “To Be Approved” or event REQUESTTOBEAPPROVED, in order to include whatever you want, to put it that way.

      All begins by diverting the triggered WF in transaction SWE2 to a new WF, which could be an exact copy of the one from SAP, for you to begin.

      SWE2.png

      We do not recommend you directly modify WF from SAP.  Making a copy is the way to go.  Within that WF you can replace the also delivered task that emails, and based on the examples given in the link accommodate it at your own leisure.

      Regards,

      Juan

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  11. Pascal Neumann

    Hello, we are using approver determination by rule policy retrieving the change request category.

    We are facing the following problem:

    a) Requester selects Category A -> Result: Approver A will be determined

    b) Requester changes the Category to B -> Result: Approver A will not be overwritten by Approver B

    Does anybody has a solution for this kind of problem?

    Kind regards,

    Pascal

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    1. Michael Vollmer Post author

      Hi Pascal,

      I know that in our rule policy we are only overwriting if the approver field is empty. Which means we check it in the condition of the rule policy.

      I would check there,

      best regards,

      Michael

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  12. Daniel Kosfeld

    Hi Michael,

    we have one problem with the approval of organizational units.

    First a few technical details: We are on SP12, ENH_APP is entered as parameter, and org units do exist. RfC Type is ZMCR (copy of SMCR), used approval procedure is the standard procedure SMCR0001.

    When we now enter an org unit into the field “Partner ID”, it is accepted. But:

    The name of the org unit is not resolved. The field Partner Description remains empty.

    Do we use a wrong Partner function? –> Which one is intended for use?

    In OrgModel the name of the org units are maintained:

    Do you have any idea, what is causing this?

    Thanks a lot in advance for any helpful answer!

    Daniel

    (0) 
  13. Gary Manaoat

    Hello Michael,

    After Implementation of this procedure we have noticed a change in the actions.

    In status validation, If theĀ user doesĀ  not have authorization Release RFC for Approval and attempts to complete the action(Release for Approval), the RFC is then not able to be released for approval from the Action menu.Ā  The only action is Reset to validation.

    What would I need to do to resolve this?

    Regards,

     

    (0) 
    1. Michael Vollmer Post author

      Hi Gary,

      if the action Release for Approval is not available, please check in SPRO under ‘Change Actions and Conditions’ the activity ‘Define Conditions’. There, the PPF condition for the PPF action itself. It should be Ā valid for ‘In Validation’ E0014 and ‘Extend Scope’ E0011. Maybe someone changed soemthing there unintentionally. But in general this blog should do no change at this place.

      Hop that helps,

      Michael

      (0) 

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