While activating most Fiori apps in S/4HANA is a simple matter of activating the app’s ICF node and OData Service(s) on the Fiori Frontend Server, 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 Fiori My Inbox. In the next blog we look at the extensibility options that come with My Inbox as of S/4HANA 1610.

So you want to activate Fiori My Inbox on S/4HANA 1610? Of course you do! It’s arguably the most requested app in the entire Fiori Apps Library. Of course, if you’ve activated Fiori My Inbox before on Business Suite, Suite on HANA or S/4HANA 1511 you may think you’ve seen it all before. But don’t be misled – S/4HANA 1610 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: Some of the basics we need is covered in the SAP S/4 HANA Fiori Apps Deployment (MAD) guide in the section “Additional App-Specific Configuration for Manager-Role Transactional Applications (optional)”. If you are not sure where to find the guides, you’ll find it in blog Leading S/4HANA UX – Getting the Good Guides.

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 S/4HANA 1610 is already installed including any add-on modules required
  • We will assume that we are running S/4HANA 1610 with Fiori Frontend Server in Hub mode – which is the default recommendation for S/4HANA as explained in the SAP Enterprise Architecture Explorer > Landscape Deployment Options for Fiori Frontend Server > Landscape Scenario IV (FES and S/4HANA)
  • 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 S/4HANA from predecessor SAP platforms, and is currently the default workflow environment provided in the S/4HANA core server.

Let’s begin.

Pre-requisites for Fiori My Inbox

The pre-requisites are:

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

Active work items in an active workflow environment

First and foremost 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 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 Fiori My Inbox

We should also check that the Fiori My Inbox modules are installed on the Fiori Frontend Server and S/4HANA Core Server.  Even though these are part of the standard 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:  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 Fiori My Inbox used in 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 S/4HANA 1610 specifics.  With S/4HANA 1610 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 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:

  • My Inbox – Approve Service Entry Sheets
  • My Inbox – Approve Supplier Invoice
  • My Inbox – Approve Purchase Contracts
  • My Inbox – Approve Purchase Order
  • My Inbox – Approve Purchase Requisitions
  • My Inbox – Approve Travel Expenses
  • My Inbox – Approve Travel Requests

S/4HANA Cloud-only sub apps include:

  • My Inbox – Approve Service Entry Sheets

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

Basic Fiori My Inbox Configuration in S/4HANA

Under the covers, 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 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 S/4HANA core with a BPM system and an older 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

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 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 Fiori Apps, 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

As usual these details can be found in the Fiori Apps 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 Fiori Apps Library and S/4HANA Product Assistance.

Assign the System Alias in the S/4HANA Core

Depending on which task-specific configuration is being used, the 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 S/4HANA Core system and it needs to be marked with the system id and client.

This system alias in the 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 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

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.

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