Navigating the World of SAP Workflows: Tips and Best Practices


Some things are timeless and so are SAP Workflows. As they serve many business needs and their low-code allows easy integration, many customers simply love their long-term efficiency. As Expertum is a believer, this article dives into its advantages and the different types of workflows. Ready to discover what SAP Workflows can do for you?

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SAP Workflows automate your business processes

SAP Workflows are a powerful tool for automating business processes within your SAP software system. A workflow is a series of connected steps, designed to automate any particular business process, such as approving a purchase order or processing an invoice. Customers can choose to work with a range of preconfigured workflows or customize their workflow to fit the specific needs of their organisation (something we at Expertum have helped with many times before). In other words, SAP Workflows are designed to perform both simple tasks or complex repetitive business processes.

What SAP Workflow can do for you

So how can SAP Workflows improve your business in particular? There are several benefits to SAP Workflows, including the all-important improved efficiency, streamlined processes and productivity boosts. But that is not all! SAP Workflows will also:

  • Increase efficiency in routine tasks and processes: as those are automated, it eliminates the need for manual intervention allows your co-workers to focus on more valuable tasks and, as such, increases overall efficiency and productivity.
  • Improve accuracy: by automating processes, a workflow helps to improve accuracy and reduces the risk of errors.
  • Allow you to base your important decision-making on accurate and reliable information.
  • Ensure better collaboration between your different teams and departments: by automating the routing and approval of tasks, SAP Workflows bring everyone on the same page, working towards the same goals.
  • Enhance transparency in the process: SAP Workflows provide a clear overview of all tasks and processes, allowing you to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

Cool workflow examples

As said, workflows are used to automate routine tasks and processes by creating a series of steps that are automatically executed, based on predefined criteria. Here are a few telling examples of how SAP Workflows can be used to your advantage:

  • Approval workflows: to automate the approval process for various items such as POs, time sheets, travel expenses …
  • Notification workflows: to automatically notify co-workers of important events, business processes …
  • Reminders: to automatically send reminders to ensure that tasks are completed
  • Document management: to automate document management processes, such as creating new documents, revising existing ones and archiving old ones
  • Error handling: to automate error handling processes, for example errors in a financial transaction or order processing

The best way to setup workflows

When starting up and implementing workflows, there are a few rules and best practices we always need to uphold. First, it is important to define very clear and objective goals as to what you want to the workflow setup to achieve. Second, it is really important to involve all stakeholders in the process, including but not limited to end users, managers and IT staff. This will ensure that everyone is aware of and invested in the project and that it meets the needs of everyone involved. Furthermore, when designing a workflow, always keep simplicity in mind. So, to avoid unnecessary steps and errors, keep it short and simple. And last but not least, provide workflow training and support for end users to help them understand the underlying process.

Choose the right SAP Workflows for you

SAP Workflows come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the needs of businesses. Which one is right for you? Below are SAP’s two main approaches and their key differences.

Standard (Business) Workflows

  1. On-Premises: SAP Standard Workflows are primarily designed for on-premises SAP systems. They are part of the SAP Business Suite and are integrated into SAP's traditional on-premises applications.
  2. Integration: SAP Standard Workflows are closely integrated with other SAP modules and applications, making them suitable for organizations that use SAP software.
  3. Limited Cloud Capabilities: While some SAP Standard Workflows can be extended to SAP Cloud Platform for specific-use cases, their primary environment is on-premises SAP systems.

Business Technology Platform (BTP) Workflows

  1. Cloud-Based: Workflows through SAP BTP are designed to run in the cloud and can be used independently of on-premises SAP systems. They are part of SAP's cloud offering, providing flexibility for organizations looking to embrace cloud-based solutions.
  2. Integration Capabilities: SAP BTP Workflows can be integrated into various SAP and non-SAP applications, making them suitable for hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios. They are more adaptable to diverse IT landscapes.
  3. Low-Code/No-Code: SAP BTP offers low-code/no-code workflow development capabilities, allowing business users and citizen developers to create and modify workflows without extensive programming knowledge.
    Cloud-based workflows are highly scalable and can accommodate growing business needs without the limitations of on-premises infrastructure.
    SAP BTP Workflows can connect to a wide range of data sources and services, fostering an open and flexible approach to business process automation (BPA).

To sum it up, SAP Standard Workflows are suited best for companies that have already invested in SAP while the relatively new SAP BTP Workflows are better suited for a cloud-based environment. As the latter are more scalable and flexible, they can be integrated in a wider range of applications. Hence the choice between the two depends entirely on the needs of your business, an analysis Expertum will gladly make for you.

One of many happy customers

One of Expertum’s customers was looking for a workflow solution that would automatically release a purchase requisition (PR) based on several criteria. The workflow had to be able to:

  • Determine the approvers for the purchase order
  • Update the approval message
  • Send an email to the approver
  • Make it possible to approve and release at once in the Fiori Inbox
  • Auto-approve if level X was not found or when 2 consecutive approvers are found
  • Avoid the same approver more than once for the same PR

Expertum swiftly set out to work with these requirements and created a workflow that was entirely tailored to the customer’s specific needs. After implementation, the customer was happy to notice that the whole process ran more efficiently and allowed for easier collaboration between the business teams.


Get in touch

In summary, SAP Workflows can provide numerous benefits for your business, including improved standardization, higher efficiency, increased productivity … Our Expertum team has many years of experience in implementing SAP Workflows for businesses of all sizes. We can help you configure and implement any type of workflow for your business and will tailor it to your specific needs. So why wait? Contact us today to learn more about how SAP Workflows can help your business succeed!

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About the author

Michaël Ceulemans

Michaël is SAP Developer at Expertum.

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