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This blog describes all new features and enhancements for Process Orchestration in enhancement package 1 for SAP NetWeaver 7.3, support package stack 09 for all our customers running Business Process Management, Process Integration and Orchestration scenarios. Upgrade to this latest SP is recommended so that you can leverage all new enhancements.

Key enhancements with this SP:

  • SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration on HANA
  • Co-deployment of SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration and SAP Operational Process Intelligence (OPInt) on the same HANA system
  • ValueHelp API

Here is a complete list of enhancements:

We have previously mentioned that feature-wise SP09 of SAP NetWeaver 7.31 is equivalent to SP04 of SAP NetWeaver 7.40. The only difference is that SAP NetWeaver 7.40 supports SAP HANA as a database. Therefore if you are moving to HANA, you should definitely upgrade to 7.40. If there are no such plans, it’s fine to continue using the 7.31 release.

BPM, PI and Process Orchestration usage types are available on SAP HANA

In the previous SP03 of 7.40 only BPM was supported as a usage type on the HANA DB. As of this release the whole SAP NetWeaver Java platform including BPM and AEX (PI Java-only) usage types are available on HANA DB.

Should I move my Process Orchestration system to HANA now?

Performance-wise, currently no huge improvements compared to other database can be expected. Some scenarios (e.g. more human-centric) fit the HANA model better than others (e.g. high volume messaging). The main benefit to customers is that they can start consolidating their system landscape by moving their applications to HANA and use it as single platform from now on. This not only simplifies the system landscape, but also brings opportunities for new scenarios, which could not be realized before.

For more information please check:

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Intelligent processes on SAP HANA

Customers can now co-deploy SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration and SAP Operational Process Intelligence opint on the same HANA system and leverage combined process execution and process intelligence.

The benefits are:

  • System consolidation: Reduced TCO by running multiple applications on a single HANA system
  • Local Events: transactional data (process events) locally available for visibility scenarios – no replication via SLT required. Now all the events, generated process events and logs are directly available in the HANA system to be correlated and used for process insights.
  • In-flight process intelligence and speed: KPIs and forecasts which are available in SAP Operational Process Intelligence can be used in Process Orchestration, e.g. to give process participants more information to make better decisions, or to influence the running process.

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Support for abstract interfaces in BPM with XI3.0 connectivity

Abstract interfaces on the PI dual stack can be used for either inbound or outbound interfaces. While it is recommended to create new interfaces specifically either as inbound or outbound, in some cases it is too high effort to remodel all existing interfaces. So with the latest SP, the use of abstract interfaces in BPM is now supported.

Search Processes by Reporting Data in SAP NetWeaver Administrator

It is often required to search for process instances based on context data (e.g. order ID, customer ID) in the NetWeaver Administrator (NWA), in addition to standard fields like status or time-stamp.

With this Support Package we have introduced a new search field in the “Manage Processes” application. This is a new filter criterion which we call “reporting data”, allowing to search content that is stored in a reporting data source.

Starting from CE 7.2 this data source could be used for example in VC dashboards and / or replicated in BW for process analytics. You can now directly search for process instances in NWA without the need to create dashboards or reporting in BW and provide an easy way for process administrators to access relevant process data.

Currently there are some limitations:

  • Combining different parameters is not available – only single parameter
  • Interval search is not available, for example search for a date interval
  • Date and time fields are not supported
  • Case sensitive only

Info in SAP documentation: Search Reporting Data

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Emphasizing Main Processes in NetWeaver Administrator      

It is now easier to distinguish main process flows from sub-flows. In the Manage Processes application you can now directly see the main process and its sub-processes in the tree structure: the main process is now highlighted in bold and referenced / sub flows are displayed in a regular font.

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Cancelling a process via the BPM Java API

Processes can be cancelled either by an administrator in NWA or via an explicitly modeled intermediate message event in the process. With this SP we now have introduced the ability to cancel running process instances also via the Java API. This is especially useful for business users and expert users when dedicated custom UIs are employed, without the need to provide access to NWA.

Use Cases:

  • Cancel process instance from within process via API.
  • Cancel process from custom UI (e.g. for business admins / key users).
  • Ability to build UIs for mass-cancellation of process instances. If there are set of instances that are not linked via main or sub-floe but loosely coupled, these related instances can be also cancelled with one operation.

Link to SAP documentation: Cancelling a process with the BPM API.

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New ValueHelp API

This new API can help save time when building new UIs, value help and building persistency. It offers standard functionality to access value help existing in an ABAP backend (com.sap.bpm.acc.valuehelp.api). It can be used to embed your own value help in the task UI of the BPM process and allow tasks to fetch the possible valid values for an input field using a lookup operation. The example below shows the country input field.
Further extensions are planned for next SPs.

See SAP documentation: BPM Value Help Public API and Building Value Help with the BPM API

Build Task UIs using the new Task ODATA Service

In the same lines, in our aim to make building UIs for BPM easier, BPM OData services can now be used to access tasks and task data. Tasks can be also completed by using a custom UI and interacting with the BPM server.

Features:

  • Retrieve Task Abstract (header information)
  • Retrieve Task Input and Output Data
  • Claim and Complete a Task
  • JSON and XML formats are supported

Advantages:

  • Direct data binding to SAPUI5 controls
  • No custom wrapper for remote access BPM API necessary
  • If you want to use a different UI technology, use can use ODATA just a plan REST service for J2EE, mobile frameworks and any web framework able to do REST calls for consuming this service

Read this series on SCN for more information and examples:

BPM OData: Implementing a Basic Custom Task Execution UI and

Custom UIs with the BPM OData Service.

See also SAP documentation: OData Services for Accessing BPM Task Data.

Unified Inbox: Custom Attributes and Custom Actions

Unified Inbox on Gateway allows users to manage tasks from different systems from one single inbox. It is available with Gateway 2.0 SP07. It reuses most of the code from the BPM inbox, so anyone who has used the BPM inbox should feel immediately at home.

However, instead of a BPM/Java server this runs on Gateway/ABAP. It can aggregate tasks not only from BPM systems but also Business Workflow systems and provides task federation capabilities similar to the Universal Worklist (UWL).

With this latest SP we are providing the ability for displaying custom attributes. Custom actions and attributes are now shown also in the Unified Inbox on Gateway. This information is now parsed to Gateway so it is also available in the Unified Inbox. The custom attributes will be also available for Business Workflow tasks. Via the task harmonization, all users will be able to see similar information for both BPM and Business Workflow tasks.

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Additional information:

The next SP10 is planned to be released in December 2013.

More about Process Orchestration and an archive of “What is new” overview blogs can be found in this library:

Introduction to SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration.

For a complete overview of enhancements with SP09, including different SAP NetWeaver components, please see the  release notes on Help.SAP portal.

You can also access road map sessions replays:SAP NetWeaver BPM and SAP NetWeaver PI and Webcast replay: Roadmap of Process Orchestration with SAP.

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