Optimizing SAP Workflow Support Costs
SAP ECC and S/4 HANA have revolutionized business processes, and SAP Workflow has been an integral part of this transformation, automating critical functions like PR/PO releases and invoice processing. In the world of Application Management Services (AMS), a dedicated workflow consultant often steps in to analyze, troubleshoot, and manage workflow errors. In this blog post, we will explore strategies to reduce SAP workflow support costs, enabling smoother operations and minimizing business disruptions.
The Challenge of Workflow Errors
In AMS projects, workflow errors can be a persistent challenge, causing disruptions and requiring swift resolution. While designing error-free workflows is essential, you can learn more about it (https://blogs.sap.com/2013/09/07/design-error-free-workflow-using-temporary-exception/). However, what about those errors that go beyond temporary issues? Consider scenarios where agent determination fails or transactional data needs correction. The typical support engagement path involves users identifying workflow errors, raising tickets, support personnel investigating, and eventually, rectifying the issues. This process can consume valuable business hours and hinder productivity.
The Solution: A Workflow Error Reporting Tool
To address this challenge efficiently, we propose the implementation of a Workflow Error Reporting Tool. This tool will automate the process of notifying users about workflow errors and the actions they need to take. Below are the steps to build and deploy this tool effectively:
1. Data Retrieval: Fetch all workflows in error status “wi_stat = error” from the SWWWIHEAD table for the previous day using the field WI_CD = SY_DATUM – 1.
2. Filtering: Filter the retrieved data to obtain the top workflow ID (TOP_WI_ID) and delete the duplicates top workflow id to have unique workflow in error
3. Error Logs: Utilize the FM (Function Module) SWI_ERROR_ANALYSIS to extract error logs for each TOP_WI_ID.
4. BRF+ Decision Table: Implement a BRF+ Decision Table to map known errors to user actions. This would help in converting SAP Errors into user understandable and actionable errors/ This decision table will be the key to streamlining error resolution. for e.g.
5. Error Prioritization: Ensure that the error log table is sorted in descending order to address the latest errors first.
6. Notification: Use the error analysis results to send timely email notifications to the workflow requestor and workflow admin, detailing the errors and required actions.
7. Scheduling: Schedule this report to run batch job after the standard workflow restart job, allowing temporary errors to be resolved before processing.
8. Workflow Restart: Keep in mind that the batch job will attempt to restart workflows up to five times. It is crucial to rectify transactional data issues within this timeframe.
Advanced Solutions for Complex Errors
In some cases, workflow errors may require more sophisticated solutions. Consider implementing scripts or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots to handle specific error types. For detailed insights on triggering RPA from the backend, you can refer to Ashish’s blog (https://blogs.sap.com/2023/07/07/trigger-build-process-automation-instance-from-s-4-hana-on-premise-using-abap-code/).
Shifting Workflow Management to Business
Alternatively, a simpler approach is to empower your business teams by providing training or building a workflow management tool, as discussed in one of our previous blogs(https://blogs.sap.com/2013/09/01/workflow-administartive-tool/). This shift allows business users to take a more active role in managing workflows, reducing the dependency on support personnel.
I would like to have your inputs and feedback on the above approach in comments below . Also if there is a better and innovative way of optimizing Workflow Support that you have idea or have implemented in your project would like to know about the same.