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SAP Workflow

Workflow is a tool for automating the business process so that the process itself flows smoothly, without bottlenecks and without dead ends. Critical parts of the process can be streamlined with deadline monitoring and contingency options. Participants are informed of milestones in the process. The process definition itself is powerful enough to allow business re-engineering with re-training and to eliminate the impact of workforce changes on the basic business process.

SAP Business Workflow is the R/3 tool for handling the process automation within R/3 or between R/3 systems and other systems involved in the business process. It is flexible enough to handle ad hoc processes such as the circulation of an electronic document. It is robust enough to handle mission critical process in the production system such as the creation of a material master.
The different R/3 applications supply standard workflows for the commonly occurring processes. Once these workflow templates are activated, they are ready for immediate use. A complete set of workflow tools, including the workflow editor and workflow generation wizard, are provided to enhance these standard workflows or create new workflows. These tools are complemented with transactions for monitoring, tracking and the statistical analysis of the processes.
Because the business process often does not step at the R/3 boundary, various interfaces and third party tools are available for extending the process across systems.

How does WebFlow relate to SAP Business Workflow?

WebFlow is the e-business functionality of SAP Business Workflow. It is the driving force behind the Internet processes in ensuring the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time while enabling the swift change-life-cycle of e-Business processes.

The first web functionality has been available since release 3.1 but the speed at which the functionality has increased from release to release has escalated so much that it has now been given it's own name. It is even integrated directly into the workplace.

When do I need workflow?

Workflow is the technique for automating business processes. It is particularly beneficial

  • when different people are involved in different parts of the process

  • when a process only occurs sporadically and the users need to be reminded of what they need to do

  • when the duration of the process is critical and deadlines have to be met

when the process definition is likely to change on the fly and retraining users is not possible.

By automating the process, you free the users from having to know what to do when. Work items are sent to the participants notifying them of what they have to do, and a single click on the notification calls the correct transaction and navigates to the relevant screen.

How does it work?

When the workflow runs it creates work items which are like e-mails, but

  • they have the advantage that they contain the intelligence needed to execute the relevant task with the correct data when the operational user executes them,

  • they provide their own functionality so that the operational user has access to everything that is useful to improve the flow of the process,

  • they disappear on their own when they have been executed by someone else or made obsolete.

These work items can be received in the R/3 business workplace, MS Outlook© (or any other MAPI compatible client), Lotus Notes, or work item notifications can be distributed by e-mail.

The benefits that can be derived from SAP Business Workflow can be summed up with several convincing arguments.

SAP Business Workflow:

  • accelerates the workflow across applications, functional areas, organizational units, and time periods,

  • supplements the integrated management of processes in the SAP System with individually tailored options for automating and actively controlling business and communication processes,

  • combines integrated organizational management with flexible assignment of tasks and responsibilities to locations, positions, jobs, groups, or individuals,

  • actively supports a quick implementation of workflow technologies through predefined workflow templates, Workflow Wizards and flexible adjustment options,

  • integrates every employee in the value chain by providing a versatile integrated inbox ("universal inbox") at their workcenters that can be configured individually,

  • provides a Workflow Information System that is the foundation for process change management and continuous business engineering,

  • was designed to be a change-management tool,

  • simplifies continuous business engineering and process change management with user-friendly tools for defining and dynamically changing workflow tasks

  • conforms to the workflow standards of the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC)

  • interfaces to other mail clients such as Lotus Notes® and MS Outlook®



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