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SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA – Fiori My Inbox – Part 1 Activation

Latest Update October 2020: Added new sub app available from SAP S/4HANA 2020 and for the My Inbox scenario for Plant Maintenance, Quality Management and Bank Account Management.

Latest Update 29 April 2020: Added 2 new apps available from SAP S/4HANA 1909 FPS01. SAP Fiori app ids included to make identification easier. Also updated the references as Getting the Good guides blog has been retired. Also added a section on the related flexible workflow apps. Removed Marketing Approvals app for SAP S/4HANA Cloud which has been deprecated.

Latest Update 02 Oct 2019: Added new inbox app for Purchase Order Accruals available from SAP S/4HANA 1909.

Latest Update 22 May 2019: Added new inbox app for Payments available in SAP S/4HANA 1809 FPS02

Latest Updates: Added links and new My Inbox sub apps available as of SAP S/4HANA 1809, and updated link to the FES Deployment Recommendations.  Note that embedded and hub are possible for S/4HANA so please check the specifics – the configuration steps are the same in both scenarios.

Latest Updates: Added links and new My Inbox sub apps available as of SAP S/4HANA 1709

While activating most SAP Fiori apps in SAP S/4HANA is a simple matter of activating the app’s ICF node and OData Service(s) on the Fiori Frontend Server, SAP Fiori My Inbox is something of a special case that requires more explanation. Much of this is similar to Fiori My Inbox on predecessor platforms, but there are some special additions with the introduction of S/4HANA 1610. This blog explains how to configure SAP Fiori My Inbox. In the next blog we look at the extensibility options that come with My Inbox as of SAP S/4HANA 1610.

So you want to activate SAP Fiori My Inbox on SAP S/4HANA 1610 or above? Of course you do! It’s arguably the most requested app in the entire SAP Fiori Apps reference library. Of course, if you’ve activated Fiori My Inbox before on Business Suite, Suite on HANA or SAP S/4HANA 1511 you may think you’ve seen it all before. But don’t be misled – SAP S/4HANA 1610 and above provides some additional options worth knowing. And even if you have done this before, it’s easy to miss some of the recent improvements.

Tip: You will find more information in the General Functions for Key Users guide, section Business Workflow for your SAP S/4HANA version, and in the app documentation for My Inbox in the SAP S/4HANA product page for your SAP S/4HANA version.

Tip: Some of the extension options are also covered in more depth in the Fiori My Inbox wiki.

What we will cover:

  • Prerequisites for Fiori My Inbox
  • Basic Fiori My Inbox Configuration in S/4HANA
  • When to use the All Items or Scenario Specific Approaches

In part 2 we will look at:

  • Task-specific extension configuration and options
  • General extension options
  • My Inbox in action – how to validate and test my inbox

Our assumptions and out of scope items:

  • We will assume that our SAP S/4HANA 1610 pr above is already installed including any add-on modules required
  • We will assume that we are running S/4HANA 1610 or above with Fiori Frontend Server in either Embedded or Hub mode
  • We will assume that other Fiori apps and other App types are already activated
  • We will not cover authorizations – these behave much the same as for any other app and for workflow
  • We will not cover the inclusion of Fiori My Inbox in Tile Catalogs or Tile Groups – these behave the same as for any other app
  • We will not cover creation of workflow providers – these are already covered in the blog How to Implement an OData Provider for My Inbox
  • We will not cover integration of Cloud workflow providers (that’s for a future blog)
  • We will not provide a guide to creating task-specific extensions using annotations (also a future blog) – however we will cover how such extensions are configured for use in My Inbox

We will use SAP Business Workflow examples in this blog as that is the more common scenario for customers transitioning to SAP S/4HANA from predecessor SAP platforms, and is currently the default workflow environment provided in the SAP S/4HANA core server.

Let’s begin.

Pre-requisites for SAP Fiori My Inbox app

The pre-requisites are:

  • Active work items in an active workflow environment
  • Up-to-date installation of SAP Fiori My Inbox app
  • All sub apps in scope installed

Active work items in an active workflow environment

First and foremost SAP Fiori My Inbox is a workflow inbox.  That means our first prerequisites are simply:

  1. We must have an active workflow environment
  2. We must have one or more active workflows
  3. We must have one or more work items assigned to a workflow agent, i.e. our test userid

SAP delivers SAP Fiori My Inbox with 2 workflow providers: SAP Business Workflow and BPM.

For example, if we want to use SAP Business Workflow as our workflow provider, we need someone with workflow skills to confirm:

  1. In the S/4HANA Core server, our workflow environment is activated for runtime usage. We can check this in transaction SWU3. Workflow Runtime Configuration as it appears when activated in transaction SWU3
  2. In the S/4HANA Core server, one or more workflows must be active. It’s a good idea to check that all the workflows in scope are active. We can check whether the workflow id is active in transaction SWETYPV, i.e. the Type Linkage Activate checkbox is checked. Workflows with Type Linkage active checkbox enabled in transaction SWETYPV
  3. In the S/4HANA Core server, one or more work items has been created and assigned to a workflow agent, our test user id. We can check this in transaction SWI1.

Tip: We find out which workflow ids we need activated in the app’s documentation or sometimes in SAP Notes such as SAP Note 2371741 – Additional Information for approval of Purchasing Documents within S/4HANA

Once again it’s good to check the documentation and SAP Notes for hints on what’s needed to assign workflow agents to the workflows in scope. If you are using Best Practice Guides also check the Best Practice Guide for that functional scope area.

Up-to-date installation of SAP Fiori My Inbox

We should also check that the Fiori My Inbox modules are installed on the Fiori Frontend Server and SAP S/4HANA core Server.  Even though these are part of the standard SAP S/4HANA install, we should confirm the support packs versions installed, as one of our first steps is to make sure that the My Inbox installation is in the best possible state.

VERY IMPORTANT:  SAP Fiori My Inbox is arguably the most requested, most used, and therefore most tested Fiori apps in the entire Fiori Apps Library. There is no business value in rediscovering issues that have already been discovered and resolved by other customers.  So before we begin configuration we should check the Fiori Apps Library and the SAP Support Launchpad to find and apply the latest support notes for Fiori My Inbox relevant to our landscape.

The version of SAP Fiori My Inbox used in SAP S/4HANA is Fiori My Inbox 2.0.

IMPORTANT: It is important when configuring that only Fiori My Inbox version 2.0 requirements are applied.  Activating older versions can interfere and cause unpredictable behaviours in My Inbox.

Patches required to support the Task Gateway services that are the foundation of My Inbox capabilities are summarized in Note 2221151 – Release Information note for SAP Fiori My Inbox 2.0

There is also a specific software installation module for My Inbox UIX01CA1 that is applied to the Fiori Frontend Server.  This module holds the Fiori My Inbox User Interfaces themselves.

Make sure this module is likewise patched to the best available level. Patches and the changes they implement are listed in SAP Notes such as 2365275 – My Inbox 2.0 SP03 Patch (2.2.10)

All sub apps in scope installed

This is the first of the SAP S/4HANA 1610  and higher specifics.  With SAP S/4HANA 1610 and higher a number of sub apps are delivered for Fiori My Inbox. These sub apps provide delivered task-specific detail displays for standard workflows.  Even if you aren’t using a standard workflow, these are great as a starting point for your own task-specific extensions.

NOTE: Be careful not to assume that predecessor Fiori Approval apps still apply in SAP S/4HANA.  Many of these have been moved to Fiori My Inbox, e.g. Note 2211398 – MM-Transition to S/4: Fiori Apps

Current sub apps include:

As of SAP S/4HANA 2020

As of SAP S/4HANA 1909

As of SAP S/4HANA 1809

As of SAP S/4HANA 1709

As of SAP S/4HANA 1610 and above

S/4HANA Cloud-only sub apps include:

While you can’t use Cloud-only sub apps directly in an SAP S/4HANA On Premise system, they can be a starting point for ideas for your own custom task-specific extensions.

In addition if you wish to use the new Flexible Workflow for SAP S/4HANA to create workflows for My Inbox you will also need to activate the following apps:

Find out more about the new flexible workflow in the SAP Help Portal > General Functions for key users guide for your SAP S/4HANA version, section Manage Workflows

You will also find a comparison in this useful blog SAP S/4HANA Flexible Workflow Overview and comparison with SAP Business Workflow and a video guide at SAP HANA Academy – SAP S/4HANA RIG: Adapting Workflows in S/4HANA

Basic SAP Fiori My Inbox Configuration in SAP S/4HANA

Under the covers, SAP Fiori My Inbox uses the SAP Gateway “Task Gateway” services to gather, present and action work.  In our example we will focus on a single S/4HANA Core system as this is the default scenario for most customers.

However it is worth noting that we can use SAP Fiori My Inbox to show multiple work items from multiple workflow providers hosted in multiple systems. It’s important to understand this multi-provider approach, as it drives much of the configuration and extension approaches for Fiori My Inbox.  For example we might have a SAP S/4HANA core with a SAP BPM system and an older SAP SRM server in our landscape, and want to bring all work items in one place.

There are 4 steps to configuring Fiori My Inbox:

  1. Create System Connections for the Task Gateway
  2. Activate the Task Gateway services
  3. Activate the Fiori My Inbox app
  4. Activate sub apps in scope

Create system connections for the Task Gateway

SAP Fiori My Inbox needs to be able to extract work items from multiple providers.  To do this My Inbox needs not just a System Alias and RFC Destination, it needs to know the system id and client to be used for the task gateway service itself. As the Task Gateway runs in the Fiori Frontend Server, this System Alias is created in the Fiori Frontend Server and points to the SAP S/4HANA core, i.e. to the workflow provider.

We can reuse an existing RFC destination, but its best to create a specific System Alias just for My Inbox with the suffix _PGW, e.g. S4H100_PGW. This is done in the IMG (transaction SPRO). You can see the path in this image:

Path to Manage System Alias configuration in the IMG

Instructions for Creating a System Alias for the Task Gateway can be found in the SAP Gateway 2.0 Documentation.

Activate the Task Gateway Services

Like all SAP Fiori Apps, SPA Fiori My Inbox needs to be activated in the Fiori Frontend Server.  So as usual we need to:

  • Activate the ICF node that is the app’s entry point
  • Activate the OData Service(s) that provide data content to the app

IMPORTANT: Please note the recommendation for SAP S/4HANA solution for activation is to use the relevant activation Task Lists for greater efficiency, i.e. Rapid content activation (if using embedded mode and standard SAP Business Roles) or the Fiori launchpad content manager (if using hub mode or custom Business Roles).

As usual these details can be found in the SAP Fiori Apps reference library.

The ICF node is /sap/bc/ui5_ui5/sap/ca_fiori_inbox and can be activated using the Task Manager (transaction STC01) with task list SAP_BASIS_ACTIVATE_ICF_NODES in the same way we activate the ICF node for any other Fiori App.

The main difference to other Fiori Apps comes when we activate the OData Service which is /IWPGW/TASKPROCESSING version 002.  Like other Fiori Apps we can activate this using the Task Manager (transaction STC01) with task list SAP_GATEWAY_ACTIVATE_ODATA_SERV.

However we need to be especially careful to use the _PGW system alias, i.e. do NOT use the usual system alias with suffix _RFC that is used for other Fiori Apps.  The reason for the _PGW system alias is to assign the OData Service to the special Task Gateway services for work item extraction.

Activate sub apps in scope

Sub apps often have their own OData Services which need to be activated.  Again, it’s best to check the app’s documentation in the SAP Fiori Apps reference library and SAP S/4HANA Product Assistance.

Assign the System Alias in the S/4HANA Core

Depending on which task-specific configuration is being used, the SAP S/4HANA core system may need to build launch URLs and other details required to be passed back to the Task Gateway services.  To facilitate this we need a system alias that points back to the SAP S/4HANA Core system and it needs to be marked with the system id and client.

This system alias in the SAP S/4HANA core needs to reference the System ID and Client listed in the _PGW system alias used in the Fiori Frontend Server. Example in the screenshot below:

Manage System Alias configuration example showing System ID and Client parameters

All Item or Scenario Specific Inbox Approaches

There are two (2) main approaches when positioning Fiori My Inbox as a tile in the Fiori Launchpad. We can:

  • Provide a single “All Items” tile that gathers all work items from all workflow providers for that user
  • Provide one or more filtered scenario specific tiles that gathers specific work items based on a selected tasks for a specific business role

Which options to provide is both a business process and a user experience decision.  SAP delivers both options and it’s possible to provide both options in parallel as part of a user’s Launchpad – just make sure the tile descriptions are clear to avoid confusion.

Don’t forget that it’s not just managers and other approvers who need My Inbox. If we want employees to respond to a rejected request then that may be done via My Inbox as well. It all comes down to which tasks we want to provide to which users as work items.

It’s also worth discussing whether these users typically in a single business role or more likely to be in multiple business roles. Where users frequently handle multiple business roles they are typically more likely to want all their work in one inbox.

There’s also a best of both worlds option. When we give users the All Items tile, we also have the option to authorize them to create and save their own filter combinations to their Launchpad.

Whether we are using an All Items or Scenario specific Inbox depends on the parameters for the Tile in the Tile Catalog.

An All Items tile is provided in the Tile Catalog SAP_TC_CA_MYINBOX. You can see the allitems=true parameter in the screenshot below:

All Items tile Configuration in the Launchpad Designer

Configuring a Scenario Specific Inbox

If we do want to configure a scenario specific inbox, we need to know what tasks to include for what workflows in our scenario.  These are often provided as part of the SAP S/4HANA documentation.

For example the following are scenarios including in the Environmental Health and Safety:

Documentation Title Scenario ID
Inbox Configuration for Environment Management EHS_ENV_MNGR
Inbox Configuration for Hazardous Materials Management EHS_HS_HAZMAT
Inbox Configuration for Industrial Hygiene EHS_HS_IH
Inbox Configuration for Incident Management EHS_INCIDENT

You can also create Scenario Specific inbox tiles for other workflow scenarios such as

The Scenario is applied to the tile configuration using the parameter scenarioId –as with this example from Tile Catalog SAP_TC_EHS_HS_COMMON showing the parameter scenarioId=EHS_HS_HAZMAT

Hazardous Materials Scenario Inbox configuration in the Launchpad Designer

The Scenario ID defines the list of tasks to be included in the Scenario Specific Inbox. In other words the name of the Scenario ID must match that defined in configuration in the IMG in the Fiori Frontend Server. We see where the Scenario Definition is found in the Task Gateway section of the IMG in this example:

Path to the Scenario Definition Configuration in the IMG

The next example shows the exactly matching Scenario Definition configuration for the Scenario ID EHS_HS_HAZMAT. In the Task Definition of the Scenario we list the Task Ids that are included in the Scenario.

Scenario Definition Configuration highlighting Scenario EHS_HS_HAZMAT

From Inbox to Tasks

In part 2, we look at the Task-specific Configuration and Extension Options for S/4HANA.

Becoming a SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA guru

You’ll find much more on our SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA wiki

Brought to you by the S/4HANA RIG

 

7 Comments
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    • Hi Krishna

      Blog comments is not the correct place to ask questions – especially about specific config.

      Please post your question in answers.sap.com. By the way a screenshot would be helpful e.g. confirming the solution modules loaded on the Fiori Frontend server

      Rgds

      Jocelyn

  • Hello Jocelyn,

    For the All Items or Scenario Specific My Inbox, is it possible to create an All Items that excludes certain workflows?

    Creating a Scenario Specific is possible if we listed every workflow we want, but it would require a lot of maintenance just so we did not have the two or three workflows that we don’t want in My Inbox.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Andrew

      Unfortunately there is no such configuration option to exclude just certain workflows

      However you might be able to workaround it by providing a basic custom task Ui for the offending tasks that simply gives a text on how to access it.

      What’s the use case for exclusion? Is it a concern about accessing it on certain devices.  There are some alternatives that may help in that situation

      kind rgds

      Jocelyn

      • We have some third party workflows that the last step is for the workflow agent to confirm that the workflow finished.  I don’t know why the third party added this step, but we really don’t want to remove it.

        A lot of end users simply ignore that final confirmation because the task itself has already been completed.  However, My Inbox still sees this as a valid step for the end user.  We were just trying to not have thousands of My Inbox items show due to one workflow.

        Thanks again!

        • Hi Andrew ok understood.

          For that situation I would suggest a different approach.. which is to schedule a periodic job to complete the offending notification using one of the workflow APIs, e.g automatically complete any notification older than 14 days.

          Look for function modules with the prefix SAP_WAPI_   These are well known & relatively straightforward to use.

          You can use task & time period filters to identify the workitem ids to be closed & then the relevant SAP_WAPI_ADM_ function module to complete them or logically delete them if you prefer.  Both options will complete the workflow normally.

          p.s. Do NOT physically delete them of course as that would result in orphaned work items