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Author's profile photo Nilesh Shah

SAP Workflow Solutions can Streamline and Simplify Your Business Process – Here’s How

Most business organizations are looking forward to digitizing the workflows and processes. So, they are in continuous search for the appropriate technology to implement an automated workflow for streamlining business operations. Digital Workflow is important for ushering the user experience of the end customer, increasing the business productivity and revenue, and offering improved compliance and security etc. Thus, it’s the right time to consider SAP Workflow Solutions.

SAP has arrived at the right juncture to streamline the business operations. The digital transformation is demanding business enterprises to optimize their workflow process both on-premise as well as in the cloud. A top SAP Consultancy firm will cater to the needs of digital business by offering three major workflow engines-:

  • SAP Business Workflow
  • SAP Process Orchestration
  • SAP Cloud Platform Workflow

SAP Business Workflow is an ABAP-based component empowering the core business process on both on-premise and cloud deployment. It is an advanced workflow tool that helps to automate the business process and regarded suitable for repeated tasks or where enterprises need huge manpower to carry out a specific activity. 

SAP Process Orchestration is an open-source Java-based middleware workflow solution that combines SAP Business Process Management, SAP Process Integration, and SAP Business Rules Management. It helps to integrate the business process in on-premise and hybrid deployment.

SAP Cloud Platform Workflow is based on the SAP Cloud Platform that developers, runs, and manages the workflow right from simple approvals to end-to-end processes. It has an inbox application and custom-built user interface allowing the customers to take part in decision making and data entry.

Combining SAP S/4 HANA With SAP Business Workflow

The SAP implementation of an advanced in-memory-based ERP business suite S/4 HANA is the first step of migrating towards digital transformation. One of the main workflow engines of SAP; the SAP Business Workflow that acts as a standard workflow engine for SAP Business Suite while  ABAP acts as a standard workflow for SAP S/4 HANA both on-premise and in the cloud. The SAP Business Suite is involved with the NetWeaver Application Server (SAP NetWeaver AS). When SAP Business Workflow combines with SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP 7.51, it best serves the needs of on-premise SAP S/4 HANA. However, with the release of 1611, it is also offering solutions for SAP S/4 HANA Cloud.

SAP S/4 HANA workflow allows the users to manage their tasks and process with My Inbox. It is an SAP Fiori app that helps end users to get access to all their workflow tasks. This may include approving the purchase orders, viewing the travel expenses, and leave requests. It plays a supportive role for standard inbox features including mass approval, attachment handling, substitutions, and deadlines etc. It integrates almost all the existing workflows to aggregate it into a single application with the SAP Fiori user experience.

My Inbox can not only integrate with SAP Business Workflow but also with other workflow engines such as SAP Process Orchestration and SAP Cloud Platform Workflow as well with the help of third-party solution using OData Connector. The end-users can also show their customized workflow in the on-premise SAP S/4 HANA implementation with the help of workflow deployment tools included with SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP.

Furthermore, SAP S/4 HANA is optimized to work natively with the My Inbox so that efficiency gets improved. This allows you to directly embed the transaction into the SAP Fiori screen. You don’t have to open a dedicated transaction to check further information about a workflow process. Let’s explain this with the help of a figure.

In the following figure, the purchase orders and the line items have been displayed directly in the My Inbox enabling users to take an instant decision on whether to approve or reject the purchase order.

SAP S/4 HANA, as well as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, plays an important role in helping out the workflow experts to configure and adapt workflows according to the business needs. Next, it implements the Manage Workflows SAP Fiori app along with the integration of SAP Business Workflow to streamline the work.

The Manage Workflow helps the experts in setting a series of approval steps in the workflow depicting information about the recipients and preconditions. The process owners can improve the customized and specific requirements and swiftly adopt the new changes in the business process to make the workflow more user-friendly and agile.

Fig-2 Identification of a Series of Purchase Approval within a Workflow in Manage Workflow App

The standard workflows of SAP Business Workflow get support from Manage Workflows App and can be displayed through the scenario editor tool in the on-premise deployments by using the workflow deployment tools.

SAP Process Orchestration

SAP Process Orchestration or SAP PO is the combination of SAP Business Process Management, SAP Process Integration, and SAP Business Rule Management. This  SAP Service is an on-premise Java-based middleware technology that helps to rapidly automate and optimize the business process. It could be from simplifying the workflows to integrated processes spanning across applications, geographical and organizational boundaries.  Moreover, it operates on the SAP NetWeaver AS Java, utilizing the enterprise services repository and embedded OData.

SAP Process Orchestration allows the SAP customers to take advantage of both the SAP and non-SAP investments. SAP PO is not only helpful in automating the business process but also provides the scope to incorporate simple and flexible business rules to bring more agility. What’s more interesting to note is that SAP PO offers the additional benefit of B2B interfaces that lets the organization strike for secure and extend SAP investment beyond the SAP domain.

This is not all. SAP Process Orchestration also offers you the benefit of saving your cost as all integration can be performed on a single platform. You can add SAP PO with SAP Operational Process Intelligence to get real-time visibility into the end-to-end business process.

Fig 3- Defining the SAP Process Orchestration Components

The major difference between SAP Business Workflow and SAP Process Orchestration is that the former is employed within the core system of SAP, the latter focuses on extending the standard process and integration of customer-centric process. It can span various systems and include users from different organizations. To make things more clear, SAP PO in combination with SAP NetWeaver Master Management helps to streamline the launch of new and changed goods.

The last few versions of SAP NetWeaver namely 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 have enhanced functionalities of SAP PO to support the SAP Fiori user experience. This helps to enhance the user experience needed to streamline the modern-day business needs. For instance, if you are implementing the OData connector, it allows you to integrate SAP Process Orchestration with SAP Fiori app My Inbox within SAP S/4 HANA and Fiori.

The developers also get the scope of creating customized applications and user interfaces to process start and manage tasks from within SAP Process Orchestration. They make use of SAP U15 library but are not considered as standard SAP Fiori apps. In fact, SAP back-end data can be displayed as OData services through the integrated gateway component in SAP NetWeaver Java AS. Furthermore, SAP is planning to introduce a version of My Inbox app, which can be employed with SAP Process Orchestration. This will eliminate the need to connect SAP PO with MY Inbox operating on SAP S/4 HANA.

SAP Process Orchestration not only supports the on-premise system but also lends its hands to the hybrid interfaces. However, in order to support the hybrid landscape, it has to use integration content developed for SAP Cloud Platform for cloud-based implementation.

One of the key benefits of SAP PO is its capability to bring the entire business in one place. The business process gets accelerated, automated, and simplified.

It needs to be noted that SAP Process Orchestration has the ability to implement the cloud content but it cannot root for self-operation in the cloud. SAP has introduced a specific workflow management tool to facilitate the organizations looking to deploy the clouds.

SAP Cloud  Platform Workflow Service

As most business organizations are transcending to implement the digital transformation strategy, they are coming in contact with cloud-based technology. SAP has been a leader in offering a full Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for cloud-based digital strategy. SAP Cloud Platform Service has played an important role in simplifying the development and operation of new cloud applications and also extending the existing on-premise or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) SAP applications.

In addition, SAP cloud system allows end users to integrate the distinctive business process, which cannot be achieved in standard applications. The organizations can avoid complex maintenance and updates due to customizations.

SAP Cloud Platform is known for offering a wide range of business process solutions and technical services related to the development of application, integration, and data storage.

But SAP has launched the SAP Cloud Platform Workflow service recently in March 2017 allowing the users to develop, run, and manage the workflows. This can be related to simple approvals or the end-to-end processes spanning across various organizations.

The Cloud Platform Workflow is structured into a user-friendly graphical web editor that is related to the Business Process Model and Notion or BPMN standard. The models comprise of both the user as well as the service tasks.

Fig-4 SAP Cloud Platform Workflow helps in embedding workflow into the cloud applications

The user tasks are linked to an SAP Fiori user interface, which can be accessed via the My Inbox app included with the service. You can use the service tasks to read and write data to and from external services using a direct REST API or through the SAP Cloud Platform Integration. You can begin with the new instances via a REST API if the modeled workflow gets deployed from graphical web editor to the runtime service.

SAP Cloud Platform Workflow also comprises of an administrator application. This app helping in checking the deployment of workflow and management of running workflow instances. You can analyze the deployed workflow definitions using the administrative app. Each of the workflow definitions has running workflow instances allowing the user to begin with the testing procedure. In case of any error, in a specific instance, you will get the full error, which means you need to retry or cancel the workflow instance.

Fig 5- The SAP Cloud Platform Workflow has an administrative app helping to view all deployed workflow definitions and identifying the errors.

SAP Cloud Platform Workflow is an innovative solution that is rapidly helping the organizations to transform their business process into digital mode. It has improved efficiency, productivity, and simplified the business workflows to drive profitability and innovation.

Explaining the SAP Workflow with an Example

We can explain how SAP Workflow can streamline and digitize the business process with an example of an SAP Company- the SAP Language Services.  The Company offers management of language production for SAP products in 39 different languages. Ever since the SLS employed the SAP workflow services, there has been a change in its business model. It now focuses on translating huge numbers of individual development projects instead of translating a large multi-year development project. This has resulted in a high increment of process variants in the translation services. Furthermore, it has led to optimizing the delivery process eliminating the manual tasks.  The quality of translation work has also incredibly improved within the proper time frame.

SAP Workflow Solutions- The Need of the Hour

As more and more businesses are planning to go digital, they have to incorporate changes in the workflow and process. Integrating SAP Workflow is a wise futuristic decision that helps you out in automating, streamlining, and simplifying the operations to become a digital business. The SAP Workflow engines help in every prospect whether you are deploying the on-premise environment or the cloud-based solution.

So, get in touch with an established SAP Services to escalate your business higher and reap the benefits of SAP Workflow Solutions.

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