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How to integrate HXM(SuccessFactors or Onpremise Solution) with Ariba for Synchronized Role Based Workflow Approvals

Objective – The objective of this blog is to solve a common issue that today’s customer base faces around Ariba integration with HXM solution.

This blog is built to guide customers to achieve role based or HR Organization Structure based approvals in ARIBA.


Definition of Role is by Position and Ariba product is not directly integrated to Position Management of SuccessFactors or Business Suite on HANA.

We will discuss a scenario where the customer is having below landscape.

Above diagram depicts HR solution with Suite on HANA based on-premise solution. The details about direct integratio with successfactors is provided at the bottom as well.

HR Data is stored in the Business Suite on HANA and Ariba is being used for Sourcing and Buying.

Sample Organization Structure (applicable to success factors or on-premise HR solution)

Any Re Organization is executed in the HR box and there is a strong need to synchronize this data into the Ariba system to implement successful Role Based Approval Scenarios.

This blog explains a possible approach which can help an organization run Role Based Approval between SAP ECC Business Suite on HANA and Ariba.

Ariba is divided into primarily Two Areas

  1. Sourcing (Upstream)
  2. Buying (Downstream)

Ariba has its own workflow engine which directly cannot consume the HR organization data either from Business Suite on HANA or Success Factors.

The Need is to Extract this data from either of the systems.

Ariba workflow Engine needs following file formats to interpret workflow data.

  1. Ariba understands Workflow approver by user so each data export is used based. (User Consolidated)
  2. Each user can be mapped to Ariba user group. (User Group Consolidated)
    1. Approver User Group
    2. Initiator User Group
  3. The basic design definition must start with this step where you determine how would you identify the Approver and Initiator user group.

An approach that this article recommends is very simple.

As we are implementing role based approval the focus needs to go back to the HR solution.

It is important that the Organizational Authority for Approval is clearly understood between both the domains HR and Ariba.

Simple Design Principals

a. Define Approval user group A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user>

b. Define Initiator user group I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user>

SAP Business Suite Organization Management

Position ID stored in ECC is an 8 digit number that is associated with Each employee in the HR system.


Ariba Workflow

Ariba workflow needs following files to be uploaded in the system.

    1. Group Export
    2. Group Consolidated

Above two files are common between Sourcing and Buying solution.

Group Export File

Above table needs to be designed based on example provided. This table stores the description of position and the ID of group which is A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user> or I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user>.

This file is the master file of all Groups defined for downstream and upstream.

User Group Consolidated File

Above file is mapping of all users and their Groupings. User and group mapping will be provided in this file. The file will store A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user> or I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user> against the user. All Approvers and initiators with appropriate group will be part of this file.

Sourcing Workflow

Sourcing part of Ariba needs following files.

  1. Teams File

Teams File

For sourcing the teams file carries the approver group and initiator group mapping.

A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user> and I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user> are mapped as shown above.

The Designation field is determined based on the approval authority determined. For example if the approver is determined in two categories, Direct Manager and Vice President. Above file will have two values for I_20000346, one for A_<Direct Manager Position> and A_<Vice President>.


Designation field will carry value Direct Manager and Vice President.

Sourcing part of Ariba needs following files.

  1. Lookup Supervisor
  2. Job Function Export
  3. Relation Entry


Lookup Supervisor File

Lookup supervisor file is the mapping of initiator group to approver group.

Tool tip can carry any explanation that suits your solution and required field value must be “Yes”.

Job Function Export file

Job Function file need to carry the <Position ID of Initiating employee/user> and job description can be the description of the same position in the ECC system.

Relation Entry File

This file carries the Company code in the leftkey2 field.

Leftkey1 field carries the value of Costcenter and left id field will have both the company code and cost center values concatenated with “_”.

Cost center is associated with employee, it can either be stored in infotype 27 or infotype 1. Your HR consultant will be able to help you get this information easily.

The rest of the fields as shown can carry same values shown in above table as constant.

You will need an ECC ABAP resource to write a program that can download above files. Apart from Teams file for sourcing all files will exported in .csv file.

How would the entire solution work

You can develop a program that exports all the files in the either FTP location or local desk.

It is not possible to avoid manual step if you are using any other files apart from “user consolidated” and “user group consolidated”.

Please note that if you are only using Group Consolidated and User Consolidated files for your ariba workflow engine then the manual step of User file Upload is not required.


There are possibilities of automation of few of these files.

It is also important to determine how frequently this synchronization is expected to be executed.

If successfactors is the solution that is being used then there are APIs which are capable of exposing these data.

I am getting many queries around reading the data from SuccessFactors directly and updating the required files for approval process in Ariba.

Below section clearly explains how this can be done.

Generally Ariba approval is controlled through below files.

  1. user consolidated
  2. user group consolidated

Ariba provides a web service called “import batch data” using which above files can be automatically updated in the Ariba system.

Please note that only user consolidated and user group consolidated file can be imported in the form of web service to achieve the objective of ariba approvals.


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  • Hello Barin,

    Thanks for a document it's very nice structured and explained.

    1. I have a question can we use a similar configuration for CRM integration workflow?
    • Hi vikrant

      If you are looking at extracting HR organization structure from ECC or Success Factors then yes this approach will work but as far as i understand CRM will not need file upload download as C4C will be in a position to consume APIs and fetch organization data from success factors and ECC using various other options.

      Details would help in case you need further information and thanks for spending time to read the approach blog.


  • Hi Barin,


    Nice blog with an easy to implement solution.


    One thought though: wouldn't relying on the backend HR system (SuccessFactors or ECC) or the system with the workflow engine and integrating it for the approval part via Ariba APIs would make more sense? With this approach one can have the workflow items/tasks displayed from a unified inbox (e.g. via Fiori MyInbox app).


    There is Document Approval API and External Approval for Sourcing and Supplier Management API that are part of Procurement and Supplier Management apis respectively as per the datasheet -



    • Hi Hassan

      The document approval API doesn't cover all scenarios of upstream and downstream, in simple terms this API is purely for external approval of the workflow.

      Which means that you can carry the entire approval outside Ariba, here surely we can look at integrating the workflow engine of SAP on premise. If we take that approach then we do not need to extract HR data if customer is using ECC.

      If success factors is being used as a solution then using success factors workflow engine which is purely based on role will be too much to ask for.

      I had evaluated this option as well but logically concluding the business workflow scenario or SF workflow engine usage is not an optimal option when customer is not in agreement on executing the workflows outside ariba.

      But I must say you are spot on and I would be very keen to achieve external integrations as that is automatic and achievable as compared to the approach I have explain in the blog.




    • Hi Laurent


      Interesting, Cloud Integration Gateway can be a good value add.

      Cloud Integration Gateway integrates buyer and supplier systems through one gateway to Ariba Network  and Ariba solutions in the cloud.

      The advantage of Cloud Integration Gateway for suppliers is to connect to Ariba Network to integrate with many customers without having to deal with buyer-specific mappings or customized configurations.

      The Objective of using CIG is quite different hence in absence of a major Business Benefits, I would suggest to keep the integration simple as SAP will soon come up with extensive realtime integration and this blog will become obsolete.

      SAP Ariba strcutures that have been explained in these blogs are file based hence using CGI or any traditional PI infrastructure would server same purpose.

      Hope this helped.




    • Yes it is prateek. this would be provided as far as i am aware.

      However an automatic integration between ariba and sf is possible if approval in ariba is achieved using user consolidated and user group consolidated files.

  • Hello Barin,

    I see that Ariba is always at the forefront of new technologies: use a . CSV for data transfer and it is up to the customer to create his program...



    • Hi Laurent

      Not only ariba, SAP in itself is integrating all its products using newest possible cloud platforms.

      SAP is extremely active in understanding the gap and putting integrations quickly in place to make customer's life easy.


      .csv or any sort of authormation is a choice left to customer's infrastructure and implementation partner's competence.




  • Hi Barin,

    Thanks for the nice blog.

    Our client's requirement is to have an integration between ARIBA and success factors, the approval logic being derived from HR data.

    Can you please let me know if the second option mentioned in the blog via API

    Is implementing this API enough for the automated load of user data and user group consolidated data.  Need a deep dive explanation from your side.




    • Dear Manidipa


      Please note


      1. What is your ariba design? What objects are you using for approval?
      2. How is ariba looking to find approvers? has this been defined in successfactors?


      99% of cases is sufficient.


      Based on outcome of above two you can decide whcih API is required to be used.




  • Hi,

    We are looking to integrate user data from S4 Hana to Ariba using CIG. Could you please list down the steps to achieve this. Also, if there is any link with the details, please mention the link.



    • Hi Akhil


      Approach has already been documented in detail for S4 Integration in the beginning. Please review and advise specific question if any.




      • Hi Barin,

        Sorry, but, I could not find any mentioning of CIG anywhere in the blog. Please advise what is that I am missing.

        What we are looking at is a list of detailed step by step activities to integrate user data from S4 to Ariba using CIG. I believe CIG supports user data integration without the need for any custom code. However, could not find any detailed information as to how it can be achieved.



        • Hi Akhil

          1. The blog specifically refers to how can an organization manage workflow synchronization within.
          2. Last two lines of code answers your question partially. It is very important to understand how you are designing the ariba workflows.

          User synchronization details are below. This is an out of box program that helps user replication and also master data.

          Partially from CIG configuration step perspective below as well is a good guide. This covers more scope than what you have asked for.

          These two are completely different topics however after reading above blogs if you have further queries then I will be happy to help.





  • Hi Barin,

    Thanks for providing such valuable information.

    Can we integrate SAP SF with Ariba upstream solutions without Ariba P2P. We want to have the workflow in Ariba upstream for contracts, sourcing and SIPM.

    Please advise,