What is SAP Workflow
Workflow in SAP
Workflow for SAP, as the name suggests, means flow of work, may be from one person to another person. It is in fact a sequence of connected activities resulting in exchange of information.
Let us consider a simple business workflow example – “Application of leave”. It consists of the following activities.
- Employee submits a leave application form to his manager. (He fills in details like the FROM and TO dates of leave, the reason for taking leave, his contact number etc)
- Manager checks the details of the application
- In case, he finds that the reason for taking leave is not specified/detailed properly, he may reject the leave application.
- Now, the employee has to correct the leave aplication, specifying the leave reason properly and submit the application again.
- The manager finally approves the leave application.
Please note that there can be many variations of the business process. A simple case is discussed here to give your understanding of workflow, a good start. The procedures can be complex involving many persons, decisions and approvals.
Disadvantages of Traditional Paper Based Workflow Management
There are many disadvantages to the traditional paper-based flow of work in a typical office environment. Let us discuss a few of them.
- Lack of transparency: There is no easy way to know the status of the leave application. We probably have to inquire the manager personally whether he has approved the leave application or not. There is no system recorded status that we can glance at, to track the application.
- Long lead times: Bases on customer feedback survey, it is found that a traditional paper based approch involving three people typically takes seven days to complete.
- Lack of deadline monitoring: Who knows? The manager might just be sitting on the task for too long. There is no mechanism in place to ensure that the persons perform tasks within planned time period.
- High costs: Paper based workflows are very costly to support as a result of manual document processing and archival.
How does SAP Workflow Help ?
SAP workflow is a cross application tool that automates the business processes like the “leave application approval” procedure that we have discussed. Cross application tool means the tool can be used across various modules of SAP.