I have been asked for more clarification concerning which workflow to use, when, particularly with regard to SAP S/4HANA. So in view of the SAP announcements about iBPM, I sat down with Christian Loos (Chief Product Owner for Workflow) to summarize the positioning and advice.
|Workflow automation||Involving Cloud or On-Premise||
The Workflow service in the SAP Cloud Platform is the first tool to consider when looking to automate SAP business processes. It is general purpose but especially suited for the SAP environment.
The Workflow service has been quickly adopted by SAP customers and has already been adopted by SAP Solutions, such as SAP Intelligent Product Design using SAP S/4HANA. It uses standardized methodologies, such as BPMN, to avoid relying on niche know-how, and ensuring that the developers modeling workflows can reuse know-how gained modeling workflows elsewhere to adopt the SAP Cloud Platform Workflow service without hurdles.
Keep your eyes open for further enhancements, including in SAP S/4 HANA, to further simplify the workflow Service enablement.
This is the only tool to consider when a central strategy demands one single tool for workflow management, especially when taking into account the broader capabilities that iBPM offers, such as process visualization and rules management.
There are some cases where certain individual requirements can be handled differently, if tolerated, as described in the subsequent paragraphs.
|Cross-system (orchestration) processes||Where on-premise deployment of the workflow is essential||
If legal requirements forbid the use of the Cloud services for process automation then use SAP Business Process Management for cross-system processes, including environments where third party systems need to be included in the process.
This software has proven itself as a robust, flexible and powerful tool available as part of SAP Process Orchestration.
|Standard local processes such as an approval||Cloud products, including SAP S/4HANA Cloud||
Use the workflow tooling embedded in the Cloud solution, be it SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors or SAP S/4HANA Cloud to automate simple, standard, processes. This is usually tightly coupled with the application, and offers business design and control of the processes without a learning curve.
Stay alert from the beginning to detect signs of a non-standardized process or the need to break out and extract or propagate information from other software. That is a sure sign that your process requires extensibility making SAP Cloud Platform Workflow service the better choice.
|Localized processes such as an approval||SAP S/4HANA On-Premise||
This is a On-Premise equivalent to the category above. In this environment you have the choice between developing classic SAP Business Workflows, or developing new flexible workflow scenarios. Here we recommend using the flexible workflow extension because of the empowerment this gives your process experts and because this is the tool selected by the embedded apps in SAP S/4HANA, such as procurement or sales. Only resort to the classic workflows if the capabilities that flexible workflow provides are not sufficient – but keep an eye on the release updates, particularly the Cloud releases, which are an indication of what will be available in the next On Premise release.
Stay alert from the beginning to detect signs of a non-standardized process or the need to break out and extract or propagate information from other software. That is a sure sign that your process requires extensibility making SAP Cloud Platform Workflow service is the better choice
We have kept this guide short, but we hope the clarity will be a useful instrument in your decision-making.