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 there business?

Can we implement the workflow in each business process?

Bla Bla Bla 😳   

So many question right Eh? 😕

To Answer all these Questions we are writing this post for you and in the next upcoming 2-3 articles from our Workflow series, we will try to answer all these questions because we don’t want you guys to just start building the workflow and learn technical things without understanding the answer for all these business related questions first that will always come in a picture once you start working or Developing SAP Workflows.

By the way is all your SAP HANA questions answered? Check SAP HANA from Space Level.

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.

Note: Please note that we have used the Equivalent symbol (≈ ) Instead of using the Equal To Symbol(=) in the above image.

Why ? 🙄

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.

Confused ? 😕

Do not worry! To clear all your doubts why don’t we take a real-time example of a business scenario and see what we are trying to tell here. Why are we repeating that workflow is the automation of process flow but not fully automation?

Also Read: 10 JavaScript Tips for ABAPers.

Real-Time scenario

We have created this animation just for you so that you can understand our Real Time Scenario Example Clearly 🙂

Now we are going to compare one business scenarios without workflow and with workflow and we will let you decide which one is best for the business.

Business process, Without the involvement of Workflow :


Look at the above image and imagine Green shirt guy Rob needs to create a purchase order because he needs to buy something. After Creating the PO in the system, Rob is a little bit confused.

But Why is Rob confused 😐 ?

Rob is Confused because after creating the PO,

  • Rob don’t know who is the correct approver of this PO, First, he needs to find out who is the correct approver for his Purchase order and to find out that it will take a lot of effort may be.
  • Ok, Let’s just think that Rob knows who is approves(Mr. Manager) the PO but how come the approver will know that Rob has created a PO that needs to be approved by him 😕 ?
  • Rob needs to call or send an email to the Right approver to review his PO – What If the approver is on leave?Then Who is going to take care of this approval.
  • What if after calling and sending email to approver, Approver has forgotten to approve the PO? , So, Rob needs to call the approver again and again and he needs to send reminder emails regularly until the PO gets approved.
  • After doing so much of manual effort from Rob side, Suppose PO got approved by the approver but how do Rob come to know that his PO request got approved/rejected unless and until PO approver is going to call him or sending him an email.
  • Etc.

So, Rob needs to tackle all these issues for a single Purchase order approval 😮

Don’t be unfair now let’s just look into those issues that approver is going to face 🙄

  • How Come Approver will know that some Purchase approval order is coming to get reviewed by him unless and until he gets a call/email from the buyer.
  • He needs the exact data i.e He needs the exact Purchase order number and the transactions that he will require to review the PO.
  • He is not aware that which work he needs to finish,.There will be 100’s of PO that approver needs to approve but which one is urgent, which one is of high priority.
  • What is the deadline for approving those PO’s?
  • If he forgot to approve the PO he will not get any reminder unless and until the buyer of the PO calls him or send him a reminder email.
  • what if he is on leave, Then who will take care of his responsibility.
  • Etc.

Now Just think if a single Purchase order approval process has caused this much of manual effort, confusions, email communication then what if there are 1000 PO’s comes in the picture for a company.everyday  😳

 Our business needs an management system that can provide “Right Data To Right Person at Right Time” and my dear friends that management system is called workflow management system

Workflow Management Process = “Delivering Right Data To Right Person at Right Time

Same Business process With the involvement of workflow :

If you are comparing both the images, You should be able to understand how the whole business process scenario got automated when we have involved the workflow scenario.

Once the Purchase order gets created in the system, Workflow gets triggered that has subsequently determined the correct approver for the Purchase order based upon some rules and has delivered the documents, data and task are passed to the approver(Next Participant).Workflow ensures that the right work is sent to the right person at the right time in the right sequence with the right information.The effort of retrieving the task is avoided because the system delivers it.All the information, explanation and instructions available are delivered to the user at the same time.

Now I think that you have got your answers to your questions and now you have understood why workflow is not fully automation,Why we have used the Equivalent symbol in our image :D,Workflow is automating the process but at the end, a person needs to manually perform the activities.

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.

Note: If you can not 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 😎

Would you like to share any SAP Workflow Stories?

Please write your quick comment below and leave your feedback and share your learning experience.

Please browse our page for FioriSAPUI5ODataHANA-ABAPOOPsWorkflowWeb Dynpro etc tutorials.

Workflow Tutorial Series

Understanding The Workflow Part I
Understanding The Workflow Part II – 5W’s Of Workflow



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