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Flexible Workflow for Sourcing and Procurement in SAP S/4HANA

Flexible Workflow is a new concept introduced in SAP S/4HANA with the objective of simplifying workflow configuration. Documents in Sourcing and Procurement, such as purchase requisition, purchase order, request for quotation, etc., usually go through an approval process. In the SAP ERP system, we used Release Procedure and, in some cases, SAP Business Workflow to accomplish this process. For example, the approval process for a PO could be as simple as the following: any PO exceeding $1000 requires a manager’s approval and any PO exceeding $5000 requires two levels of approval.  

Even though both Release Procedure and SAP Business Workflow are still available in S/4HANA, it is recommended that you use the new Flexible Workflow functionality in S/4HANA. The flexible workflow is based on a set of predefined workflow scenarios and tasks. This provides the functionality to define condition-based workflow for different processes in sourcing and procurement. It is possible to define single or multi step approval processes, and the relevant workflow items are made available in the My Inbox Fiori App for the approvers. Manage Workflows Fiori Apps are available for different purchasing documents, and these apps allow the Business process specialist to set up workflows based on the business requirement 

In this blog, I will explain the configuration steps and provide screenshots for workflows for Purchase Order. The steps to implement workflows for other purchasing documents are similar, and the information provided in this blog may be used as reference material. 


  • Maintain Workflow ID and Task ID for Purchasing Documents 

  • Manage Workflows for Purchase order and Maintain Email template tile is available in the Fiori Launchpad 

  • Ensure that the automatic Customizing is active for the workflow functionality in SWU3 T- Code. 

  • My Inbox relevant customizing should be in place 

  • Business Partners with Personal Number must be generated for the user (Purchasing Manager) who is going to approve purchase documents in the system. 

Differences and Advantages between Classic Release strategy and Flexible Workflow: 

Strategy   Operation  Starting Condition   Validity Period  Step Sequence  Class/ Characteristics  HCM Required  Deadline 
Classic Release Strategy  SAP GUI   Net Value, CO-Code, PUR.Grp, Material group, Currency etc.,  No  No  Yes  No  No 
Flexible Workflow  Fiori APP   Cost center, Currency, Company Code, Net order Value, PUR.Group etc.,   Yes  Yes  No  Yes  Yes 


Flexible Workflow for Purchase Order – Configuration steps: 

Step – 1   Flexible Scenario Activation  MM Consultant 
Step – 2   Activate Flexible Workflow for Document Types   MM consultant 
Step – 3   Maintain Task Names and Decision Points  ABAP Consultant 
Step – 4   Client Dependent Configuration  Basis Consultant 
Step – 5   Perform Task Specific Configuration  ABAP Consultant 
Step – 6   Activate Push Notification 2.0  ABAP Consultant 
Step – 7   Manage Workflows for Document Types  MM Consultant 


  1. Automatic Workflow Customizing 

SPRO => IMG => Material Management => Purchasing => Purchase Order => Flexible Workflow For Purchase Order => Maintain Standard Settings 

This Customizing activity has the following areas 

  • Runtime Environment 

  • Definition Environment 

  • Additional Settings and Services 

  • Classify Tasks as General 

Open the Manage Workflow for Purchase Orders. The application is blank with the message “There are currently no scenarios available”. 

2.  Activate flexible workflow scenarios 

SPRO => IMG => Material Management => Purchasing => Purchase Order => Flexible Workflow for Purchase Order => Scenario Activation 

Activate the workflow scenario ID as shown in the table below. Scenarios will become visible in the Manage Workflows for Purchase Order Fiori App once activated here. 

Scenario ID  Workflow Name 
WS02000238  Release of Purchase Order (Manual) 


3.  Activate Flexible Workflow for Purchase Order Doc. Types 

SPRO => IMG => Material Management => Purchasing => Purchase Order => Flexible Workflow for Purchase Order => Activate Flexible Workflow for Purchase Orders


4.  HR-BP-User synchronization: 

It is the prerequisite to use HR and BP to assign the task of releasing PO for a user, assign a user to the Personnel number with the communication type. 

Step:1  Create a Personnel Number with the transaction PA30: 

Maintain the Communication as System User ID Name.

Click on Overview see their details.


Step: 2   Create a business partner with the transaction BP 

  • Create the Business partner as a Person 

  • In the Standard BP Role of 000000 we can assign the ID Type and Personnel Number in the Identification tab as shown in the below picture. 

At the end-run report /SHCM/RH_SYNC_BUPA_EMPL_ SINGLE to synchronize created master data. 


  • Back End Settings Maintain Before HR-BP-User synchronization:

Step: 3   Define Personal Areas 

SPRO => IMG => Enterprise Structure => Definition => Human Resources Management => Personnel Areas 

Click on Personal areas

Select the line item click on details 


Step: 4   Define Personal Subareas 

SPRO => IMG => Enterprise Structure => Definition => Human Resources Management => Personnel Subareas. 

Click on Create Personal Subareas 

Click on New entries create new one 


Step: 5   Assignment of Personnel Area to Company Code 

SPRO => IMG => Enterprise Structure => Assignment => Human Resources Management => Assignment of Personnel Area to Company Code. 


Search in the APP Finder for which Process we have to create. Here I'm doing Manage Flexible workflow for Purchase Order. 

4.  Manage Workflow for Purchase Order: Setup Required Pre-conditions and Step Sequence.  

Click the Add button to create a new workflow for purchase orders. This will open the Nelw workflow page 

Enter Workflow Name, Description, Valid From, Valid To. Enter the Start Condition for the workflow.

To add the Step sequence, click the add button in the Step Sequence Section. In the New Step page, Enter the Step Name and Step Type as Release of Purchase Order. 

5.  For Recipients Select User for Assignment By. For the user field, select a user from the Search help. 

There are two options: 

  1. One of the Recipients – If one Recipients is Approved the Flexible workflow is released. 

  1. All of the Recipients – If there are multiple Approvers all Recipients are to be released then only the Flexible Workflow is released. 

If we know the User ID, we can directly enter the username in the search box or else we can click on the Go button to see the existing users in the system. 


6. If we can’t get any User ID, then we have to check the below Configuration.

i.  Activate HR Integration –> Goto SM30 –> Maintain table T77S0 –> search for entry group: HRALX, sem. abbr.: HRAC and set the value abbreviation value to X

ii.  Go to the customizing path
SPRO -> Cross-Application Components -> SAP Business Partner -> Business Partner -> Basic Settings -> Identification Numbers -> Define Identification Categories. 

iii.  unset Identification Categories for HCM0001 for Disp. Only.


7.  If we maintain all the Pre-requisites correctly the Deadline tab is triggered. 

Exception Handling: 

8.  If the Approver Reject the workflow what is the action result is to be taken is maintained here. 

 9.   click the Add Button to Add the above step to the workflow. 

10.  Click the Save button to save the workflow. 

11.  Click the Activate Button for the workflow to be activated. 

The System defines in the Sequence order. So, we need to maintain flexible workflow at the top or else we can Inactivate the other person's Flexible Workflow. 

Click the Define Order button to ensure that the workflow gets triggered if the Start conditions are met.

12.  Create a Purchase order in the Manage Purchase order application. We can see the Approval Details for the Purchase Order in the Approval Details tab. 

13.  Open the My Inbox application for If the relevant task is not visible do the below steps. 

14.  Goto SAP Gateway Service Enablement –> Content –> Workflow Settings –> Maintain Task Names and Decision Options. 

i.  In the Step Name: Overview 

ii.  Select the above entry and click on Decision Keys and maintain the two Decision keys as below. 

15.  Assign Agents and Activate Event Linkages for Workflow ID WS 00800238 and TS 00800531 

SAP NetWeaver –> Application Server –> Business Management –> SAP Business –>Workflow –> Perform task-specific Customizing 

i.  Navigate to the SAP application component MM-PUR-PO 

ii.  Click Assign Agents –> select line with TS00800531 –> Click Attributes and select General Task–>click Transfer.

iii.  Click Activate Event Linking–>Expand the hierarchy to display the relevant event for WS00800238 –>Activate the linkage for the listed event by clicking on the Deactivated button.

Now create the Purchase order in ME21N T- Code 

Based on the Document Type and the starting conditions that we maintained in the FIORI App the Flexible workflow is triggered. 

Here Flexible Workflow is trigger and check the Approver details.

Check Task ID and Status.

The Approver has logged in to the FIORI APP and in the Inbox App he gets the notifications. He went to the Inbox App and released the document (Either Approve/Reject). 

iv.  Once done the task will be visible in the My Inbox application, but still, there is no mail received by the recipient. 

16.  Now let’s set up the Email transmission. The prerequisite to set up the Email is as below: 

i.  In Transaction Code S_ATO_SETUP, set up Adaptation Transport organizer with specific data using ZZ1_ as prefix and sandbox prefix as ZZ9_. 

After maintaining the prefix and sandbox prefix click on the setup specific data to create setup.


ii.  SOST and SCOT configuration should be in place

These are the initial screens of SOST and SCOT. These two transcations are done by the Basis team.

Transaction code SOST is used to display and administer of all messages sent using SAPconnect. The program displays send requests that are being sent, or have already been sent by using SAPconnect. In this transaction, a send request always contains just one recipient.

Mainly SCOT Transcation code is the one where we can get the notifications through Mail ID, FAX etc.,

To add/create the Mail ID.

iii.  Ensure Email address is maintained for the users in su01.

17.  Open the Maintain Email Template application. In the pre-delivered section find the template SWF_CRT_NOTIFY_RECIPIENTS. 

18.  Copy the above-mentioned template for each of the workflow scenarios. e.g., YY1_00800238_CRT_ALL for PO. This workflow template will be triggered to notify the recipients of the newly created PO, or whenever there is a PO task for approval. 

19.  Copy the pre-delivered template SWF_WORKFLOW_COMPLETE_NOTIFY for each of the workflow scenarios. e.g., YY1_00800238_COMPLETE_POSITIVE for PO. These workflow templates will be triggered to notify the recipients of the completed POs, whether completed positively or negatively.

Test again by creating a PO. If the mail is still not getting triggered Report RSWF_OUTPUT_MANAGEMENT needs to be executed manually with parameter productive in order to release the emails manually.

With this, we conclude the configuration required for Flexible Workflow for Purchase Order including the email trigger functionality. Please do share in the comments if there are issues apart from the ones mentioned in the blog. 

Conclusion: Flexible workflows can be customized through the scenarios that can be created and made suitable according to the needs of your processes without needing any development. Also, key users can make changes and edit these scenarios without needing developers.

Thank You! Please share your feedback. 

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