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Good news, everyone! A new feature of SAP Profitability and Performance Management Cloud (SAP PaPM Cloud) became available in Q3 of 2022. System user will now have an alternative option when creating and deploying a Process Instance by scheduling an automated execution of a particular Execution Activity without even visiting the process management interface. Now that is what I call convenience!

All these are made possible with the use of Process Scheduler. Read on if you're curious about this new feature!

As a user, we wish to get rid of the concern that we won't be able to complete an activity due to an unforeseen circumstance. It's possible that you have an urgent meeting, a power outage, a weekend-falling schedule, or you have to be in transit and don't have time to open your computer and perform the task manually at the time you need to. Worry no more! Users can now schedule a Job on their own preferred date and time by using Process Scheduler. Yes, you read that correctly; you may do so without worrying about not meeting the deadline.

But how?

In this blogpost, we will take a look at how we create a process schedule which is also known as Job and what factors to consider while scheduling the execution of an activity.

In SAP PaPM Cloud, authorized users (with SYSTEM_USER_ALL role) can access the Process Scheduler by going to Menu > System > Process Scheduler

Upon launching the Process Scheduler, the interface looks like the image below.

The job list is located in the left side. Your scheduled job's Name, Description, State, Created at, and Planned launch will be shown in the columns. However, the users will get the information about a particular job from the right panel after selecting it from the list.

Here is how users may create process schedules, commonly known as Jobs, which is the exciting part. Select the (+) add button to add a new Job schedule.

There are two possibilities for creating a job in a dropdown menu. Choosing Job means that the user will create a new job from scratch. And Job from means that the system will copy the configuration of an existing schedule that is chosen from the job list panel.

Upon choosing either Job or Job From option, the “Add process schedule” dialog screen will appear. Allow me to give you some information on what you need to know when maintaining the fields inside it.

Action can be NEW Process or EXISTING Process

New Process – Means that the scheduled Job will be using an existing and "active" Process Template to automatically create and deploy a new Process Instance in the Process Management Screen and then execute its Execution Activity automatically.

Existing Process – This means that the scheduled Job will be using an existing and “Deployed” Process Instance from the Process Management screen to automatically execute its Activity.

Users will then need to fulfill the required fields such as:

  1. Name - which is an alphanumeric free text input field.

  2. Description – which is also a free test field that will allow users to maintain the description of the Job up to 255 characters.

  3. Planned launch – is where the user can specify the time when the job shall be executed. A default date and time is set to the users’ current date and +5mins of the user’s current time

  4. Environment – is a dropdown option that will display all the environments available for use. The suggested environment will display both the environment ID and its Description.

  5. Version – is also a dropdown option where you will see the available version/s of the environment ID that you maintained in the Environment field.

  6. Process Template – For action such as New Process this option will show the list of “active” Process Templates that the modelers created in the Modeling screen. For action Existing Process, however, this field will be displayed as “Process” instead of Process Template. This is due to the fact that existing process action means that the scheduled Job will be using an existing and “Deployed” Process Instance from the Process Management screen

  7. Activity – this field also is a dropdown option that will display all execution activities that are inside the selected Process Template (New Process) or Process Instance (Existing Process)

  8. Process – is a free text input field and is only available if actions chosen is “New Process” this field will allow the users to define the Process Instance ID that will be generated in the Process Management screen.

  9. Process Parameter and Selection – this section in “Add process schedule” dialog box will display all existing Parameter fields and Selection fields that are created and enabled in the modeling screen. Process Parameter and Selection can be either a Characteristic or a Key Figure or a combination of both.

  10. Delete process after finished – a checkbox that users can tick to automatically delete (checked) the Process Instance after the scheduled execution. Or leave the created Process Instance with in a “Deployed” process state in the Process Management screen (unchecked) Take note that this option will not be available for action “Existing Process”

  11. Set activity to complete if successful – also a checkbox that the users can tick to perform actions such as:
    - Submitting an activity from “Open” Activity State to “In Approval” if both Performer and Reviewer groups are assigned in the execution activity.
    - From “Open” to “Completed” Activity State, if Performer group is maintained without a Reviewer. If this option is left unchecked, the execution will happen, but no actions for the Activity State of the executed activity.

Now, let us quickly discuss what you need to expect after creating a process schedule or Job. After choosing confirm button, the newly created Job will then be listed in the Job list panel and as mentioned earlier along with the Names and Descriptions, the Created at and Planned launch dates will also be displayed. Let us focus on the State column.

State can be SCHEDULED, RUNNING, or COMPLETED. These states are also displayed in the Job information panel.

As straight forward as it is, when the Job is newly created the State of the job will be in SCHEDULED state. Once the set planned launch date and time are met then after refresh, the execution will run thus making the state of both left and right panel in RUNNING status. When the execution is done, then the state will be set as COMPLETED.

Completed state can be of three (3) statuses: SUCCESS, ERROR and REQUEST_ERROR.

SUCCESS - is when the scheduled job's activity was executed successfully.
ERROR - is when the scheduled job's activity has an error which can be in a form for a configured abort check in the Modeling, null values and/or unassigned items, etc. as a result of the execution.
REQUEST_ERROR - is when the scheduled job was not fulfilled in e.g. if the process state of the Process Template is changed from Active to Inactive before the planned launch. Or if the Process Template or Process Instance was deleted manually before the planned launch of execution.

Depending on how the Modeler designed the environment, the execution results of the process schedule can be validated either in the Modeling Screen or Process Management Screen.

That simple! In addition to providing you with pertinent knowledge regarding the Process Scheduler screen and the factors you should take into account when scheduling a Job, I hope you have enjoyed reading this blogpost.

Like and share this blog post to your Colleagues who may also be interested in this new feature. Play around with it, and do not forget to leave a comment, feedback, or suggestions that will help for future improvements of this awesome feature.