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Calling all workflow gurus for SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM !We have some good news for you. The news is also good for the folks who were a bit gun-shy with creating and maintaining workflows in SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM.

With SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM version 9 SP 16+ (and, of course, with our upcoming release SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM 10.0), we will be introducing a brand new and extremely intuitive, easy to use, highly functional, wizard driven visual workflow editor. Ah OK! I will lay off the adjectives and get down to brass tacks. But yes, we are excited about this long-standing request from a number of our customers, and consultants.

I will not go into the capabilities and functionality of the Workflow in SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM, which has been covered extensively and synopsized wonderfully in this webcast (recording, and presentation), but focus more on the creation of the Workflow, and the features being introduced.

Throw away those old 3rd-party workflow editors

Let’s step back a little and understand our decision to bring this capability into the application. Well,

  • The 3rd-party tools and editors (visual or text based), which can construct the workflow process definition in a format as supported by SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM, are becoming difficult to find. Additional licensing issues (LGPL, GPL, etc.) associated with these tools which complicate the matter further.
  • Using 3rd-party tools meant that after creating the workflow process, a file needed to be saved and then imported into the SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM Workflow definition interface
  • The visual tools our customers and consultants were using were pretty clunky and required a number of extension attributes to be added, and/or had some attributes that were not mandatory and just plain confusing
  • For the type of functionality that a solution like SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM provides, adhering to the open industry standard XPDL or BPMN is a bit more cumbersome than necessary

So is it as easy as you claim?

You can be the judge.

Setting up a workflow process, is as easy as 1, 2, 3, and you are done.

Step 1 – Define the Workflow Process

The Workflow definition task has not changed, except for one very important and useful addition, allowing the associated workflow process to be created and saved in Draft status before publishing.

Figure 1.png

Once the details for the workflow have been defined, and the option to “Add New Version” has been selected, you will now be presented with 4 options to help give your workflow process definition a great starting point, and doing most of the initial heavy lifting for you. The 4 choices are:

  1. Use our automated workflow process generator. All you have to do is provide the number of approval steps you would like, and we will do the rest. One limitation: you cannot define more than 20 approval steps, but if you need more than 20 approval steps, then get in touch with us so that we can look at the use case, and maybe provide some useful alternatives. This is the best option for starting a new workflow process definition.As a bonus, with this option, you can now also define a default Prescript and a default Postscript to be used in the entire workflow process. The scripts defined as default, will be associated with the generated appropriate steps in the workflow process
  2. Use the last published workflow process definition. If you have created versions, and have perhaps used a version of the workflow process, and then realized that a small tweak needs to be made to make the process compliant with the expectations of the users of the system, then this is the option for you.
  3. Use the last published version of another workflow. Well, you have done it before, and now it’s time to create a new workflow, but, why reinvent the wheel? Use the working published workflow process that exists and works perfectly.
  4. Use an existing workflow schema file. We would like you to use our new visual workflow process flow editor, but of course there is always a need to support and allow workflow process schema files (.xpdl or .sswp) to be imported and used.

Figure 2.png

Step 2 – Build the Workflow Process

Here you define all the details of the workflow process in one screen, by populating an optimized and necessary list of fields only, with most fields already populated with default values. We have also ensured that all the approval steps are given default names, and if you have used the default script population option, then hey, presto, you are well on your way, and can finish the whole definition really very quickly.

Of course, all the names and labels can be easily changed, and additionally, the visual workflow works almost like any other visual tool, with clickable approval steps and icons.

Defining additional approval steps or deleting approval steps is easy with the clear buttons, and of course you select where the additional approval steps should be placed.

Figure 3.png

Step 3 – Add the Scripts please

Now that the stage has been set, all that is required is to start adding the scripts to suit your specific scenarios and processes for each of the approval steps. Simply click on the icons that are provided for defining Prescripts, Precancel, and Postscripts for each approval step and you will be able to enter your script or copy and paste from your favorite editor. The icons are also colored differently depending on whether a script has been defined for an approval step or not.

A capability to define a Global Precancel script is also provided

And that’s it …….

Figure 4.png

SSWP!?! What is this SSWP?

One new aspect that we are introducing is a file format that is truly SAP Sourcing. All the workflow processes defined or modified will now be available in the .sswp format. SSWP stands for SAP Sourcing Workflow Process, is still an XML file, and just like the user experience is optimized for the SAP Sourcing / SAP CLM workflow capabilities.

Voila! Workflow process definition in a box.

There you have it

But wait, there’s more “Help” on the way. The Help section for workflow definition has been comprehensively updated to include details on all the features and functionality for our upcoming Release 10 (for all the features of Release 10, please refer to this blog). For Release 9, we will be updating our Scripting and Workflow guide, which will be available on Service Marketplace.

If there is any more information that you need, please feel free to get in touch.

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