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Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy

Workflow Inbox Feature Comparison Matrix

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This document contains a feature comparison matrix for the 6 main Workflow Inbox products offered by SAP. The idea is for the SCN community to contribute by adding / editing or even correcting information to make it as factual and complete as possible.



My Inbox Unified Inbox Fiori Approve Requests POWL Lean Workflow Inbox Universal Worklist (UWL) Business Workplace (SBWP)
Inbox Features
Multi-system support
Task Details View / Preview Pane Only in stream view, not in list view
Disable substitution ? Only if customised N/A ?
Outbox (Completed / Forwarded / Started WF’s) Planned in the roadmap Only completed Items via filtering
Custom attributes
Mass Action Certain actions such as forward, but not user decisions Certain actions such as forward, but not user decisions
Task Execution Limited to GUI transactions
Task Visualization
BPM support
Custom Task Provider support
Mobile device optimized Works on tablets
Uses Netweaver Gateway
Customisable / Extensible
User Personalisation ?
Non user decision task support
Portal compatible
Portal dependant N/A
UI Technology UI5 / Fiori UI5 UI5 / Fiori Web Dynpro ABAP / POWL Java ABAP
Minimum browser level E9, Chrome, Safari or Firefox IE8 (preferably IE9),Chrome, Safari or Firefox IE9, Chrome, Safari or Firefox IE6 IE6 N/A
Alerts support ?
Notifications support ?
Auto Periodic refresh ?
Stability New New New Stable Stable Stable
SAPoffice Mail support ?
User Search
JAM Intergration
Search for tasks
NWBC support
Stream view ?
Caching ?
Delta Updates ?
Task Features
Structured Data in Preview Pane ? N/A If extended and using BAdI
Attachments view
Attachments upload
Attachments delete
Add comments
View comments
Processing / Event Log
Custom Forwarding ? If extended.
Offers forwarding of task details via email
Object Links ?
Notes with user decision
Resubmission ?
Reserve Tasks
Release Reserved Tasks

Assigned Tags

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      Author's profile photo Mark Pyc
      Mark Pyc

      Fantastic work Brad! Hopefully those with the detailed knowledge can help remove the few remaining questions marks. Would also be great to hear where people have enhanced any of the inboxes to overcome the listed limitations.

      Author's profile photo Simon Kemp
      Simon Kemp

      Good stuff Brad and thanks for sharing this with the community, have subscribed and will follow with interest!

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart

      Hi Brad, Very good work.  Btw Fiori approve requests definitely can do custom attributes by using the enhancement options.  Also UWL can do object links.

      Not sure what you are considering an Outbox ? - UWL has a tracking tab (workflows I started) and completed tasks views (work I did). 



      Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy
      Brad Pokroy
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Jocelyn,

      Thanks for your input, I have updated the above document based on your feedback.

      The only inbox I did not have access to at the time I wrote this up was the UWL as we are running NWBC here. So hence all the gaps there.

      Thanks for clarifying the "Tracking" functionality, I have removed that row as it is the same as Outbox and changed the description of Outbox to: Outbox (Completed / Forwarded / Started WF's). Hope that's more clear.


      Author's profile photo Gilles JUNG
      Gilles JUNG

      Hi Brad,

      Very good work.

      Perhaps SAP CRM Inbox could also be added as a workflow inbox provided by SAP.



      Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy
      Brad Pokroy
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Gilles,

      Thanks. Feel free to add SAP CRM Inbox as a column, this document is publicly editable. I have never used SAP CRM Inbox myself, so wouldn't be able to fill in the details.

      I'm not sure how the document will look with another column 🙂 , but give it a try.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      One challenge we see with customers is that they often have to approve tasks in multiple workflow applications, each one sending email notifications and offering a different end-user experience.

      Add in MDM, CRM and SRM approval tasks together with SharePoint and other non-SAP approval tasks and managers are understandably overwhelmed, confused and frustrated.

      Let's not forget the primary user-interface for most managers is their email client not specific applications. What happened to DUET? Wouldn't One List for SAP and non-SAP Approvals be nice?

      Author's profile photo Vikrant Patil
      Vikrant Patil

      Hi Brad,

      This is fantastic. On Unified Inbox couple of points. It has a filter for Completed tasks which can be sort of Out box. Auto periodic refresh is not supported. Auto refresh happens upon filtering or after performing an action on a task. The Stream view can be viewed as preview of tasks.


      Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy
      Brad Pokroy
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Vikrant,


      I have noticed in the latest Unified Inbox application there is a reference to a config parameter:

      lc_PERIODIC_REFRESH             TYPE string value 'PERIODIC_REFRESH',

      However it does not seem to be implemented anywhere in the BSP. Possibly will be in the future?

      As an experiment I added websocket support to the Unified Inbox App and upon receiving a message  via the websocket onmessage method, I trigger a refresh. This approach seems to work well, only problem is the need to broadcast the message, so this would either need to be done via a work item exit or some other means.

      I will update the document accordingly. Appreciate you input.



      Author's profile photo Rick Bakker
      Rick Bakker

      Very handy, thank you.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Good one Brad.

      Author's profile photo Tamas Molnar
      Tamas Molnar

      Hi Brad,

      Very nice list!

      In Approve Requests lates versions the following are possible:




      -Send email (with details of the task)

      -Reserve task

      -Release tasks

      Unfortunately the Approve Requests so far does not support BPM tasks.
      The same with Add comments.

      About stability: the Approve Requests have several SP-s alraedy and I'd say it can be consideres as stable.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy
      Brad Pokroy
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Tamas,

      Thanks, appreciate the input. I have updated these details in the document.



      Author's profile photo ANDRE BESSA UCHOA

      Very cool analysis. Congratulations.

      Best Regards,


      Author's profile photo Igor Vernelen
      Igor Vernelen


      Thanks for the nice overview, saved me some work since comparing UWL and POWL possibilities.

      Does anyone have an idea that for POWL the option to enter "Notes with user decision" will come available soon ? For certain decision tasks to be migrated from UWL to POWL we will need the users to be allowed to enter a not when rejecting.

      Kind Regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      This continues to be a very good reference matrix, however I believe there is a very important omission given the limitations of the Lean Workflow Inbox.

      The SWF_WORKPLACE gives a very close user experience to that of the UWL for workflow processing and is also SAP's suggested goto if you want to use NWBC 4.0, are Portal independent and are not yet ready to migrate to the Unified Inbox.

      Will be interested to see other thoughts in this area.


      Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy
      Brad Pokroy
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks. I don't actually know much about SWF_WORKPLACE. If you feel it is should also be compared here and know what its capable of please feel free to update this document with the info. With SAP bringing out the new "My Inbox" shortly that will probably also need to be added. Only thing is we are running out of space 🙂



      Author's profile photo Johannes Bacher
      Johannes Bacher

      Hello Brad,

      Thanks a lot for this great overview! Now I have another question which you might easily be able to answer: We are using workitems with PPM (project-portfolio-management) and a normal use case can be that for one specific project, several workflows are being processed, also in parallel, that might be budget approvals, change approvals, task completion approvals and so forth. All that can be handled with SAP business workflow, however what we really lack is an overview (for the project manager) of all workitems that are in process currently for his/her project.

      The project-ID is an attribute in the workitem container. What options do we have to create such an "overview list" of workitems ? I see all the inboxes being very personal, showing only the items assigned to the logged on user - is there any standard option for overview lists ?

      thanks a lot,


      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart

      Hi Johannes, That sounds more like a great id for a new Fiori app.   No none of the standard inboxes will do that... but you could create a custom action to perhaps fire up another window showing that information.   Also POWL might be an option for create such a worklist as it generically handles worklists - not just workflow work items.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Excellent work!

      Author's profile photo Sergei Haller
      Sergei Haller

      Hi Brad,

      great and comprehensive comparison.

      One feature is missing: Is it possible with any of the inboxes to "jump into" or "preselect" a specific item when launching the respective inbox.

      Such a feature would be great when automatically creating Mail links. E.g.

      But I can also think of other use cases here.

      As far as I can tall, this is not possible with UWL. But what about the other (especially the more recent) inboxes?

      Author's profile photo Sergei Haller
      Sergei Haller

      Just found the answer to my own question (at least w.r.t. MyInbox) in the SAP TechEd 2014: INT201 - Unified Inbox with SAP Fiori | SAP TechEd Online

      At time Mark 18:45, Ramana Mohanbabu creates an eMail, which indeed contains a direct Link to MyInbox which will supposedly preselect/open the specified Task directly.

      Author's profile photo shamsudheen k
      shamsudheen k

      good one........Thanks

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Really great blog, do we know what Fiori Apps can work with the My Inbox, Unified Inbox and Approve Requests straight out the box?



      Author's profile photo Sheetal Deshmukh
      Sheetal Deshmukh

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for such a wonderful blog !



      Author's profile photo Julie Plummer
      Julie Plummer

      Hi Brad,

      This is a great blog – loads of really helpful info.

      I am just curious about your info re NWBC + UWL.

      Was there a problem with it when you tested it?

      Could you tell us what went wrong?
      Did you use a Portal connection (ie not an ABAP connection)?

      - I have not yet tested this, since at present I don’t have access to a Portal system, but if you could just briefly tell me what went wrong, I may be able to work with the EP colleagues on this.

      Thanks a lot

        Julie Plummer

      Author's profile photo Brad Pokroy
      Brad Pokroy
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Julie,

      I don't think there would be any problems running the UWL in NWBC, however it will require you to have portal installed and a Java stack. If I remember correctly this was the main reason for not using it at the customer I was at due to the fact that they were going with NWBC instead of Portal. However, again if I remember correctly they ended up installing portal for SSO purposes, so in theory we probably could have used it.

      So i don't think you will have any issues, it just requires you to have a portal system installed, as you know.



      Author's profile photo Julie Plummer
      Julie Plummer

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for this. Yes, this is my understanding as well. Since this seems to be the case, can you please change the relevant cell from "no" to "yes" (or, if you prefer, a question- mark, or "Not tested")? At present, the table looks like this:


      (The red one is "UWL support")

      Thanks a lot,


      Author's profile photo Alan Rickayzen
      Alan Rickayzen


      Hi Brad,

      Shame on me for not giving this excellent blog a like earlier….


      Some updates…

      1. The Outbox” is available for completed tasks.
      2. Auto periodic-refresh is an optional parameter.
      3. Stability… three years have elapsed since your blog and My Inbox is proving to be one of the most popular Fiori apps so I’d say it’s stable. The negligible tickets queue confirms this.
      4. It does support Fiori Push Notifications (which are generated by SAP Business Workflow)
      5. Structured data in preview pane is supported (SCN blogs about this)
      6. Processing log… both the workflow log and the task log are supported for SAP Business Workflow items.
      7. Object Links is supported.
      8. Resubmission is supported.


      All the best,


      Author's profile photo Subhashini Kuntala
      Subhashini Kuntala

      Hello Brad ,


      Can we create adhoc approval request from Fiori inbox? i have developed flexible workflow for PR and PO , and requirement is to able add adhoc request @ every step of the approval process.


      Please advice .