Many organizations are still operating with workflows and processes that were developed around 20th century business models and technologies — models and technologies that are no longer adequate in a digital reality. To support the process and workflow needs of digital businesses both on premise and in the cloud, SAP offers three main workflow engines: SAP Business Workflow, SAP Process Orchestration, and SAP Cloud Platform Workflow. Learn how these tools can help you streamline and optimize your workflows to provide a solid foundation for becoming a digital business.
SAP Cloud Platform workflow helps to rapidly build workflow-based applications compared to traditional SAP workflow builder.SAP Cloud Platform Workflow provides businesses with a comprehensive toolset to rapidly build and reliably operate truly innovative business processes, and pave the way to becoming a digital business. By leveraging the functionality available in this service, organizations can speed and simplify their business workflows and leave more time for innovation.
For instance, previously isolated processes must be reinvented for a more interconnected business landscape, and some process steps may have to be outsourced or even eliminated. Processes also need to become more flexible and agile to enable the business to capitalize on new opportunities. In addition, today’s end users expect a user experience with their business applications that matches that of their consumer apps, including anytime access from anywhere. It’s not enough to just optimize the process workflow — businesses also need to optimize how users interact with that workflow.
SAP supports the process and workflow needs of digital businesses with three main workflow engines that are used to enable standard SAP business processes as well as custom business processes developed by partners such as Crave.
• SAP Business Workflow is a well-known ABAP-based component that powers core business processes in both on-premise (with SAP Business Suite and on-premise SAP S/4HANA) and cloud (with SAP S/4HANA Cloud) deployments.
• SAP Process Orchestration is an on-premise Java-based middleware solution that includes SAP Business Process Management, SAP Process Integration, and SAP Business Rules Management. It is used for orchestrating and integrating business processes in on-premise and hybrid deployments.
• SAP Cloud Platform Workflow is a service available with SAP Cloud Platform that enables workflow and task management and automation in the cloud.
• Model workflows in a graphical editor
Design workflows based on Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) in a graphical editor.
• Manage user tasks via a workflow inbox
See all tasks assigned to you. Search and filter for specific tasks, see task details and complete the task.
• Monitor and manage workflows
Monitor and manage workflow definitions and workflow instances. Start new workflow instances
Fastest way to orchestrate tasks that span across people, applications, and organizations.
1. Enhance productivity with coordinated and accountable tasks
• Automate and track tasks such as approvals, order fulfillment, or time-sensitive partner collaboration.
• Manage tasks using My Inbox.
• Impress users with simple, consumer-grade user interfaces using SAP Fiori
• Improve processes and track running workflows
2. Rapidly build and modify workflow applications with web-based tooling
• Model workflows in SAP WebIDE using industry-standard Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN 2.0)
• Embed workflows into your custom-built applications using Restful APIs
• Connect to other applications via service tasks
• Integrate business rules for flexible and agile decision management
3. Tailor your business processes by extending cloud applications and workflows
• Create process extensions for SAP S/4HANA
• Model customized extension workflows for SAP line-of-business applications such as SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer, SAP Success Factors, Concur, or SAP Ariba
• Extend non-SAP cloud applications.
With My Inbox you can,
• Make decisions using mobile or desktop devices anywhere and anytime.
• You can process your standard and custom workflow tasks from multiple SAP and non-SAP sources.
• You can collaborate by in a mini forum for each task, share documents through tasks, share tasks by email, JAM and by explicit forwarding.
• You can execute tasks in mass.
Enabling Digital Workflows.
So what does it look like in the real world when a company uses enhanced workflow management to digitize its business processes? Let’s take a look at a concrete example that shows how SAP itself has achieved this goal in one of its organizations.
SAP Language Services (SLS) manages language production services for SAP products in 39 languages. In 2015, SLS managed the translation of approximately 500 million words. In recent years, SLS has seen increased volume and complexity within its workflows due to changes in SAP’s business model. Rather than translating one large, multi-year development project for a consolidated, on-premise SAP Business Suite release, SLS now translates a huge number of individual development projects, from native mobile apps to multiple SAP S/4HANA editions to individual cloud services. This has led to a high number of process variants in the translation production process due to widely varying requirements — an administrative interface for a new technical cloud service has different translation requirements than a globally distributed marketing video, for instance.
To manage this increasing complexity, SLS needed to automate and optimize its delivery processes. Redundant manual tasks had to be eliminated to free up capacity for innovations, such as improved machine translation. In addition, external translators who were used to working with different tools and data formats needed to be integrated into the business workflows within SLS. By implementing end-to-end workflow management across SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and SAP Cloud Platform that directly connects all involved parties — including product owners, account managers, translators, and suppliers — SLS was able to meet business demands and deliver high-quality translation projects within the proper time frame.
The implementation went live after just 9 months — compared to a typical implementation time of 3 years for new projects — and involves 120 SAP Fiori user interfaces, 65 process models, and 328 service interfaces. The enhanced workflow management approach resulted in a reduction of manual steps by 25% and high stakeholder satisfaction. More important, it enabled SLS to invest in innovations such as the newly developed SAP Translation Hub — a service on SAP Cloud Platform that automatically translates texts using machine translation.
Why SAP Cloud Platform
1. Lower costs: If you take the operational cost into account, on-premises deployments easily become more expensive compared with cloud solutions as the following effort comes on top.
- Installation (Landscape preparation, automation scripts…)
- DB administration, incl. backup and quarterly backup sanity check, DB upgrade
- Patch installation (including testing )
- Upgrade installation (including regression testing)
- Hardware upgrades
2. Faster access to innovations & Improvements
3. Easy Integration to SAP Cloud Platform products – Success Factor / Hybris / Concur
4. Low code environment.
5. Readily available API for on premise and cloud integration.
6. Automatic upgrades
7. Rich set of services and APIs
8. Seamless extension of standard applications
9. Standard integration content
10. Multi-cloud architecture
Workflow and business processes are lifelines within any company in any industry. Mastering, simplifying, and streamlining workflows provides a solid foundation for successfully becoming a digital business. Whether part of an SAP deployment, in a traditional on-premise environment, or in the cloud, the workflow engines provided by SAP give businesses the critical support necessary for embarking on successful business transformation projects.