Spend Management Blogs by SAP
Stay current on SAP Ariba for direct and indirect spend, SAP Fieldglass for workforce management, and SAP Concur for travel and expense with blog posts by SAP.
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Objective - The objective of this blog is to solve a common issue that today's customer base faces around Ariba integration with HXM solution.

This blog is built to guide customers to achieve role based or HR Organization Structure based approvals in ARIBA.


Definition of Role is by Position and Ariba product is not directly integrated to Position Management of SuccessFactors or Business Suite on HANA.

We will discuss a scenario where the customer is having below landscape.

Above diagram depicts HR solution with Suite on HANA based on-premise solution. The details about direct integratio with successfactors is provided at the bottom as well.

HR Data is stored in the Business Suite on HANA and Ariba is being used for Sourcing and Buying.

Sample Organization Structure (applicable to success factors or on-premise HR solution)

Any Re Organization is executed in the HR box and there is a strong need to synchronize this data into the Ariba system to implement successful Role Based Approval Scenarios.

This blog explains a possible approach which can help an organization run Role Based Approval between SAP ECC Business Suite on HANA and Ariba.

Ariba is divided into primarily Two Areas

  1. Sourcing (Upstream)

  2. Buying (Downstream)

Ariba has its own workflow engine which directly cannot consume the HR organization data either from Business Suite on HANA or Success Factors.

The Need is to Extract this data from either of the systems.

Ariba workflow Engine needs following file formats to interpret workflow data.

  1. Ariba understands Workflow approver by user so each data export is used based. (User Consolidated)

  2. Each user can be mapped to Ariba user group. (User Group Consolidated)

    1. Approver User Group

    2. Initiator User Group

  3. The basic design definition must start with this step where you determine how would you identify the Approver and Initiator user group.

An approach that this article recommends is very simple.

As we are implementing role based approval the focus needs to go back to the HR solution.

It is important that the Organizational Authority for Approval is clearly understood between both the domains HR and Ariba.

Simple Design Principals

a. Define Approval user group A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user>

b. Define Initiator user group I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user>

SAP Business Suite Organization Management

Position ID stored in ECC is an 8 digit number that is associated with Each employee in the HR system.


Ariba Workflow

Ariba workflow needs following files to be uploaded in the system.

    1. Group Export

    2. Group Consolidated

Above two files are common between Sourcing and Buying solution.

Group Export File

Above table needs to be designed based on example provided. This table stores the description of position and the ID of group which is A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user> or I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user>.

This file is the master file of all Groups defined for downstream and upstream.

User Group Consolidated File

Above file is mapping of all users and their Groupings. User and group mapping will be provided in this file. The file will store A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user> or I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user> against the user. All Approvers and initiators with appropriate group will be part of this file.

Sourcing Workflow

Sourcing part of Ariba needs following files.

  1. Teams File

Teams File

For sourcing the teams file carries the approver group and initiator group mapping.

A_<Position ID of Approving employee/user> and I_<Position ID of Initiating employee/user> are mapped as shown above.

The Designation field is determined based on the approval authority determined. For example if the approver is determined in two categories, Direct Manager and Vice President. Above file will have two values for I_20000346, one for A_<Direct Manager Position> and A_<Vice President>.


Designation field will carry value Direct Manager and Vice President.

Sourcing part of Ariba needs following files.

  1. Lookup Supervisor

  2. Job Function Export

  3. Relation Entry


Lookup Supervisor File

Lookup supervisor file is the mapping of initiator group to approver group.

Tool tip can carry any explanation that suits your solution and required field value must be "Yes".

Job Function Export file

Job Function file need to carry the <Position ID of Initiating employee/user> and job description can be the description of the same position in the ECC system.

Relation Entry File

This file carries the Company code in the leftkey2 field.

Leftkey1 field carries the value of Costcenter and left id field will have both the company code and cost center values concatenated with "_".

Cost center is associated with employee, it can either be stored in infotype 27 or infotype 1. Your HR consultant will be able to help you get this information easily.

The rest of the fields as shown can carry same values shown in above table as constant.

You will need an ECC ABAP resource to write a program that can download above files. Apart from Teams file for sourcing all files will exported in .csv file.

How would the entire solution work

You can develop a program that exports all the files in the either FTP location or local desk.

It is not possible to avoid manual step if you are using any other files apart from "user consolidated" and "user group consolidated".

Please note that if you are only using Group Consolidated and User Consolidated files for your ariba workflow engine then the manual step of User file Upload is not required.


There are possibilities of automation of few of these files.

It is also important to determine how frequently this synchronization is expected to be executed.

If successfactors is the solution that is being used then there are APIs which are capable of exposing these data.


I am getting many queries around reading the data from SuccessFactors directly and updating the required files for approval process in Ariba.

Below section clearly explains how this can be done.

Generally Ariba approval is controlled through below files.

  1. user consolidated

  2. user group consolidated

Ariba provides a web service called "import batch data" using which above files can be automatically updated in the Ariba system.

Please note that only user consolidated and user group consolidated file can be imported in the form of web service to achieve the objective of ariba approvals.

Customers implementing SAP S/4 HANA can easily utilize the model based on SAP Intelligent Enterprise and SAP Business Technology Platform.

Workforce Integration for Business Partner and other details are mentioned in the product documentation in depth. Customers across Europe and Middle East are adopting quickly to the ODM which eases the integration needs of SAP S/4 HANA solution to be run using HXM Data sources.

Workforce Integration

Business Partner creation using workforce structure / Traditional HR infotypes