Workflow processes are the modern replacement of the combination of on-line systems and email communication. Instead of sending data and request, tasks etc via emails, the business users can communicate via workflows. Wikipedia defines workflows as follows:
A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information. It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms.
If we think about different SAP related processes, to create materials, to process financial transactions or to hire new employees, the work processes can be clearly mapped with the theoretical definition in Wikipedia. Within SAP, workflows can be implemented with various SAP tools as well as 3rd party solutions.
The Winshuttle platform that enables organizations to build workflows under Microsoft SharePoint on top of SAP without traditional programming and without any changes to SAP. The technique is based on Winshuttle’s COMPOSER product which is a high level design tool used to define the workflow processes and web dialogues and forms in the workflow. The use of the Winshuttle COMPOSER product enables SAP developers as well as skilled business users and SAP key users to develop the applications without traditional programming.
What are typical workflow processes developed with Winshuttle?
The most common processes are related to Material creation, extension and closing processes. In the creation process, following steps are executed: Definition of Basic Data, Definition of Sales Data, Accounting Data.
The form will flow automatically from one person to the next or from one business unit to the next without any email communication. If any questions pop up, the user may route the form back to a previous participant in the workflow. When all data has been provided the data can be subject to review and acceptance by a predefined person or business unit before the material creation is posted in SAP.
In a workflow solution, many field values defining a material can be created automatically through rules. If a product belonging to a specific product group is being created, then the permissible values for certain fields can be automatically populated. Compared to the old way of creating a material where all the data has to be defined by a user, only approx 30 % of the data needs to be defined by the user. The remaining 70% can be populated automatically with 100 % accuracy.
Another common workflow process is related to financial closing. The largest Financial closing process implemented with Winshuttle has over 2000 business users.
The SAP HR module is not developed any more. Instead SAP has made Success Factors and Employee Central available. The bulk of HR information is recorded and maintained in the SAP ERP HR module but as the functionality is not enhanced, a 3rd party solution like Winshuttle might be an opportunity to extend the life of the HR module. In HR, the following processes are candidates as workflow solutions: Hire, Position change, Salary change, Long term leave, Retirement.
There is no limitation of work processes that could be implemented. The criteria for choosing the target application depends e.g. on volume of transactions, volume of people involved in the work, geographical spread, requirement of governance.
Read about workflows from links below.
Material about Workflows
Introducing Foundation, Winshuttle’s Workglow product. Click here.
Video viewing require registration on Winshuttle website.