Business Workflow

Understanding The Workflow Part I

Understanding The Workflow Part I

So you want to learn Workflow? Why don’t you ask some questions to yourself first?
Why someone or some business needs a workflow to be implemented in their process?
What are the uses and advantage/features of using workflow in your business?
What issues business will face if it is not implementing the workflow process in their business?
Can we implement the workflow in each business process?
By the end of this tutorial you will be able to answer all the answers to this questions yourself and will be able to continue with more technical details.. :)

What are we going to learn in this article? 

·         Workflow: Basic Concept and Real Time Examples of general workflow, not just SAP workflow.

Work Flow: Basic Concept and Real Time Examples

People who have no idea about workflows get scared when someone says that workflow is automation and Workflow automation is going to kick them out from their Jobs because everything is going to be automated.
                                                                 This is completely wrong.
First of all, we should understand that workflow is not fully automation.

Because Workflow is automating the business process, not all the tasks that are involved in this business process. Because at the end all the task will be completed by a person/user only. The effort of retrieving the task is avoided because the system (Workflow) delivers it to the user.

Workflow = Automation of ‘Flow of Work

In simple words" Automation of ‘Flow of Work‘" is called Workflow. The Flow of work is controlled and coordinated by the workflow management system.

What is the purpose of using SAP Workflow?
Implementing SAP Workflow ensures that the right work is brought in the right sequence at the right time to the right people.  It is a tool designed to facilitate and automate business processes that require tasks to be performed by people. 

Ideal for casual or non-SAP users, since all the work items can be performed outside of SAP by simply responding to an email, SAP workflow can be linked to Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes.

Each step of a business transaction can be easily monitored and processes are completed from the beginning to the end. Workflow allows process owners to keep an eye on deadlines, provides statistics on the length of time to complete work processes, determine the workload with regard to individual employees and save processing time.  Since Workflow delivers work items to employees automatically via email, they do not have to wait or inquire about the status of a particular transaction.

Short Business Example
SAP Business Workflow can also be used to respond to errors and exceptions - it can start when predefined events occur. For example, an event can be triggered if particular errors are found during an automatic check of the data SAP workflow is particularly useful when there is a business process involving more than one person, when an automatic notification can replace a manual communication and when there is a defined set of individuals and/or documents implicated.

It organizes one's work, alerts users and directs traffic by sending work items - once the user executes the work item, then another one can be sent to another user. For example, a Manager could use workflow to approve a vacation request from an employee. The workflow application would ensure that each person involved uses the correct online form and successfully completes their step before the planned leave was entered into SAP - either by an Administrator or automatically. By the same token, if someone registers for a training class, Workflow can act as an alert tool by notifying the supervisor in question or reminding the individual of an upcoming class.  

You should able to understand that, Goals of reorganizing the business process via workflow is to –
·         Make Process flow clear to those involved.
·         Increase employee responsibility.
·         Optimize the quality of the process.
·         Increase benefits to customers.
·         Add values to business transactions.
Other important question. Can we implement the workflow to all the business process?
Answer – No.
A workflow management system facilitates the electronic processing of structured process that:
·         Includes a number of activities.
·         Always occurs in similar or identical form.
·         Involved several people or department.
·         And require a high degree of coordination.
·         Workflow Management system controls process according to a predefined model.

Before implementing SAP Business Workflow, organizations should start by asking a series of questions, such as:

- Which HR processes do we want to automate? 

- To what extent can we change current procedures and pass them over to electronic control?

- What steps are these procedures made up of? 

- Who are the individuals involved and what are their roles? 
- How do we get the Work item to go to the right people?  
Even though Workflow can be implemented via user-defined tables without the Organizational Management component in place, having a pre-defined organizational structure adds tremendous value and saves time. A clear reporting structure made up of positions and position holders that is maintained by the HR department, ensures the ongoing ease-of-maintenance effort. The ability of HR personnel to add and delete users from positions as people come and go, without affecting your core workflows, is a tremendous long-term benefit. If you have Personnel Administration in place, employee's email addresses can also be maintained by the HR department in addition to employee’s respective Time/HR and Payroll administrators who might be involved in the Workflow. 

In Summary
SAP Business Workflow is a tool to automate complex business processes where there is more than one user involved. SAP workflow maps the position in organization because SAP believes that Positions are more stable than the people.
The SAP Workflow is a process tool that is designed to facilitate and automate business processes involving the tasks sequence performed by the users (people in the workplace) and ensure that the right work is assigned in the right sequence at the right time to the right person in the workflow. The SAP workflow can be linked to other software tools such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes. Using SAP Workflow, each step of a business transaction can be easily monitored throughout the initiation and completion of the business  processes. The SAP Workflow enables the process owners to track deadlines, determine the workload as well as provide statistics on the length of time to complete work processes.
The key components of the SAP Workflow include the Workflow Definition, Work Items, Events triggers and the Organizational Structure in the workplace.
Technically SAP Workflow is an integrated part of the SAP application components.

Note: If you cannot execute a function manually, you cannot execute it with a workflow either. The function must exist in the program code before it can be used by the workflow.

We want to take a break on “Understanding the Workflow Part I” because we don’t want you guys to get bored  In the next article of our workflow series we will concentrate on the The 5 Main Features of Business – The 5 Ws of the workflow.
See you soon guys ;)

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  1. nice blog and nice app. Please write a tutorial how you converted the blog to app. that would be a great practical example.

    1. I have used Blogger api for my Application. See details here.


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