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Have you ever wanted to intelligently automate employee onboarding, approval of expense reports or any other repeat process orientated tasks? Well now you can with SAP Cloud Platform’s new Workflow service (announced recently at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month and now generally available this week).

Sharing functional similarities with SAP’s on-premise Business Process Management (BPM) tool, the Workflow service provides you with the ability to model and execute user and system centric-processes in the cloud. In other words, you can achieve this process automation without the need to configure and operate on-premise hardware, no software installation or management, instead you can utilize these capabilities from SAP’s Cloud Platform PaaS environment.

Figure 1: SAP Integration & Orchestration Technology Portfolio

Workflow service has been designed and developed to provide both IT and Business users the tools they need to be successful. For IT, whether you are trying to provide automation for simple approvals or end-to-end processes that touch multiple departments, Workflow has the Web-based tooling and API consumption you need to rapidly create and implement associated workflows. If you are a Business user the resulting workflows can be served up to you through a set of intuitive and easy to use Fiori-based applications (SAP’s tile based user experience technology).

Figure 2: Workflow process design

More broadly SAP Cloud Platform helps our customers achieve seamless application extensions for our market leading Line of Business solutions (for example S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors). For SAP SuccessFactors these extensions can be industry or company specific functional modules that are not offered in the core SaaS model. The Workflow service is therefore another area where Line of Business applications can be extended, providing seamless process automation to these SaaS users.

For example, if a manager in SuccessFactors wants to initiate the onboarding process for a group of new employee (laptop, smartphone, desk space, business cards, etc), IT can empower this user with the ability to authorize multiple steps in an onboarding chain through one click with automated requests sent to procurement, facilitities and financial systems. Similarly, if a team leader is responsible for approving multiple timesheets on a regular basis or other HR items like vacation, a workflow can be established to run multiple checks to see if a timesheet is within expected parameters and automate approvals for run of the mill requests, helping the manager focus their efforts on any exceptions. Even if a SaaS application has the ability to support simple Workflow within a single system, the SAP Cloud Platform Workflow service enables the implementation of processes that involve multiple systems or entities.

SAP Cloud Platform’s Workflow service can also be used to help companies implement new processes and automation to facilitate new value-add services that increase customer satisfaction and reduce costs. By embracing Workflow as a tool company’s can increase efficiency, reduce mistakes and costs as well as provide full transparency for internal tasks and activities by automating manual steps.

Finally, from a user perspective, Workflow has been designed to provide users with a simple dashboard that provides them with a real-time inbox of requests for their attention. This enables users to quickly identity which tasks need their immediate attention and provide them with an optimized and efficient way for manual steps and approvals that remain post process automation.

Figure 3: Workflow Inbox

So thanks for your interest in reading this blog, if you happen to be attending SAPPHIRE this year in Orlando we would welcome the opportunity to showcase this latest service within the SAP Cloud Platform portfolio. Likewise if you are not traveling to the Sunshine state we would be happy to chat with you through direct blog comments or other SAP communities online.

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7 Comments

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  1. J. Jansen

    Nice blog Christopher. Any chance that there will be a beta version available in the SCP Trial landscape soon?

    Kind regards,

     

    Jeroen

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  2. Changlin Ke

    It’s excited to get the message. There’s workflow application in Cloud Platform,so it means we do not need to impliment Process Orchestration (PI & PO)?

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    1. Murali Shanmugham

      Hi Changlin, Workflow service would not replace PI/PO. PI/PO are for process integration and are primarily for on-premise environment. SAP Cloud Platform Integration services play a similar role in the Cloud by integrating several systems and applications.

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      1. Changlin Ke

        hi,Shanmugham, Thank for your replying. I mean if we had not implement Process Orchestration(PI/PO) and if we plan to use Cloud Platform, then, can we get the same result as PO?

         

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        1. Christopher Aron Post author

          Hi Changlin Ke, thank you for your question.

          With SAP Cloud Platform we have developed a collection of services to make it easy for our customer to integrate, extend and build new applications (a broad PaaS offering).

          In terms of the integration category we have released several tools to help customers achieve various integration functions and capabilities (iPaaS capabilities). These integration services can generally be classified into 5 categories: application, data, event processing, digital omnichannel and Internet of Things.

          For workflow we would classify this service under the application integration area alongside Process Integration. Both are available on SAP Cloud Platform as separate services.

          We view our cloud integration capabilities as complementary to our on-premise PO integration capabilities. i.e. customers with on-prem to on-prem needs can continue to use PO, customers with cloud to cloud use cases can use our SAP Cloud Platform integration capabilities. For on-prem to cloud or vice versa our customers can choose to use on-prem or cloud based tooling depending on their landscape preferences/history.

          With the more recent releases of PO there is also the ability to import/share mappings across the two products (v7.5). PO is a mature offering with a very capabile product feature set which we are seeking to emulate on the cloud (BRM, B2B, etc).

          If you are mainly envisaging a cloud to cloud landscape and cloud to on-premise then SAP Cloud Platform Integration capabilites will be a good choice (Application, Data, API Management, Workflow, etc). If you anticipate significant on-prem to on-prem use cases then Process Orchestration may be a better choice.

          If you would like to chat directly with SAP on this topic I am happy to introduce you to one of our presales resources to discuss the best solution for your landscape needs.

          Warm regards,

          Chris

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