How a Citizen Developer Can Use SAP Build Process Automation to Automate Workshop Requests
One of my colleagues, Arthi, is an expert in UX design and she will provide workshops to customers. These workshop requests are initialized by customer success partners via emails, which is hard to trace, to follow and to summarize for her, during and after the workshop is delivered.
So I planned to create a simple workshop request process, where customer success partner colleague is the one who creates workshop request form for his / her customer and Arthi is the one who approves the request and afterwards delivers the workshop for customer.
The idea is to leverage SAP Build Process Automation (SBPA), which is one of the SAAS solutions on SAP BTP. You can get a quick understanding via this video.
Here is the process I built
And the request form looks like this
- This is a pure workflow process and no bot is involved.
- File uploading is involved with SAP BTP Document Management Service (DMS) instance created in the same subaccount.
- SAP Build Work Zone, standard edition is involved to provide single access for end user to submit workshop request and check inbox. Visibility scenario is provided for workshop approver.
- I spent one afternoon to build the first draft version and spent one afternoon for integration with BTP DMS. Afterwards, I spent more or less one week on visibility scenario.
- Admin access to SAP BTP
- Admin access to SAP Build Process Automatioin
- Admin access to SAP BTP Document Management Service
- (Optional) Admin access to SAP Build Work Zone
- I started new to SBPA, and usually for a new SAP BTP service, the best way is to learn some overview, pricing, roadmap, etc. from SAP Discovery Center. I will check what SBPA is and what value it can bring, afterwards I will go through one mission within, perhaps containing a 0 – 1 end-to-end tutorial.I will not talk about how to create the instance and assign authorizations for each SAP BTP service but I already got the admin access to these services within our team.
- Then I went through two nice developer tutorials. One is the basic one, the other one is based on it, extending the approval process together with a bot automation to extract excel data, as well as embeded into SAP Build Work Zone standard edition. After going through these two tutorials, I bet you can immediately start a prototype according to your own business scenario. This is the appealing part of low-code-no-code SAAS solution, quick start and usually no need for professional coding experience.
- I created the project from scratch and put several widgets via drag-and-drop into the request form to trigger the process.
- Paragraph to show what the workshop is about
- Text to fill requester name, customer name.
- Selection to fill expected UX design content e.g. High Fidelity UI Prototypes (Prototyping), Low Fidelity UI Screens, Presentation Enhancements, etc.
- Date to fill expected workshop delivery date.
- Text Area to fill customer project status and workshop expectation, etc.
- File to upload materials. Please note this widget will not show if you didn’t integrate with SAP BTP DMS as prerequisite and I will talk about this.
For BTP DMS integration, I followed this blog post. All you need is to create a BTP DMS integration option instance and link it with your SBPA instance, via BTP destination with a predefined name. You can upload three files at most so far and these files will be transmitted to next steps for approval to check. If you are new to SAP BTP DMS, you can check my blog post.
Then I put an approval form after the request form, with one approval notification form and one reject notification form attached, just pretty similar to the example used in the tutorial. Then I realized one thing. How does Arthi as the approver and workshop host, update the process status once the workshop is delivered? That’s why I put something called branch and involved one additional notificaiton form, within which Arthi can submit the form in her inbox. If she does nothing, then the request process status will keep in the phase “For Delivery”. Via this, the request process will be completed and process information e.g. confirmed delivery date will be logged for future trace. Here is one thing to notice, there is no email sending to the requester once he or she gets approved or rejected. The only way to check the status is to go into work zone inbox. But this step doesn’t matter for now cause the workshop host will probably reach out to the requester once approved, so that they can further align on workshop details. But it is possible to add “sending email” step, just for your information.
Finally for the visibility scenario. As you noticed in the beginning, creating the process didn’t take me too much time while creating reasonable visibility scenario was. The reason was I needed to define the correct phase so that the approver can trace and categorize easily for each request. I created three phases, “For Delivery”, “For Approval”, “For Rejection Acknowledge”. Easy to read right? But believe me I struggled a lot for the names and this is the 18th version for visibility scenario :D. I needed to define the phase with the right condition, e.g. “For Delivery” means the event “UpdateWorkshopStaus Created” started and “UpdateWorkshopStatus Completed” not yet finished.
I also created one performance indicator so that the workshop host can check how many requests lie in “High Fidelity” and how many lie in “Low Videlity”. It is easy thanks to the simple configuration provided by SBPA. I think “Donut Chart” is the best to illustrate the figure.
The final step after release and deployment is to embed into a SAP Build Work Zone site. Configuration is not complicated, just exactly the same as the example used in the same tutorial. But you need to be careful with authorization. Only admins e.g. workshop host or team manager can check the visibility dashboard and visibility instances. Others can only access tile “Submit Workshop Request” and “My Inbox”. I created one role called “Request Admin” within SAP Build Work Zone and this role will be reflected into SAP BTP role collection. I assigned this role collection to admin. For others, they only need the role collection called “ProcessAutomationParticipant”.
- After submitting three request forms as test, I checked the Visibility Scenario Dashobard tile. I could see how many requests were in “For Delivery” phase and how many were in “For Approval” phase. I could also check the delivered requests and how the requested design service type was distributed. These information was a reflection depending on the definition in the previous steps. Also I could filter quickly in the head area.
The fourth tile “Visiblity Scenario Instances” will give a wholistic view on all the request instances. I like this one, cause I can filter according to each request form field e.g. requester name, customer name, expected date, etc. and according to phases. For intance, if I only want to check these which need to be delivered, I can select “For Delivery” as the active phase. Clicking each instance will give more details on the phase information telling me which phase the instance stay in currently.
This is just a simple scenario and in reality we will interact with lots of systems, like ERP systems, or HXM. You can involve robot automation to tackle tedious work for such kind of interations. And you can also discover lots of prebuilt processes in the store within SBPA, so as to save time or learn from them. SAP Build Process Automation is easy to use even for business users and it is best for business users to use, as they are most familar with business process. This is key to develop reasonable process. And this is the appealing part of SAP BTP, whose direction is toward low-code-no-code development, either for SAP Integration Suite or SAP Datasphere. We have so many advanced technologies nowadays and the best way to spread is to make them easy to use. Hope we can have more and more sharing use cases in the community.