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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 guide, 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




1.1.1. Maintain Standard Settings
Certain system settings and system activities are required for Workflow, which are to be performed on a client-specific basis.
With the activity to be performed here, you maintain Workflow standard settings automatically.
Checks are also performed to establish whether Customizing is complete with regard to further important settings. You can start an initial verification workflow.
Automatic Workflow Customizing does not cover maintenance of the organizational plan nor task-specific Customizing (assignment between tasks and possible agents and activation of triggering events).
Standard settings
The following standard settings are made by carrying out the steps described below:
• Configure a client-specific RFC destination
If not yet specified, a user (including password) is requested for the logical destination WORKFLOW_LOCAL_<Clt.>. Specify a user created in the current client with the user type background and with the authorization SAP_ALL.
If a WORKFLOW_LOCAL RFC destination has already been configured, it is copied according to the new naming convention; user and password are not affected.
• Schedule a background job for deadline monitoring
• Set an active plan version
The active plan version is set to 01, provided an active plan version has not been maintained.
• Classify single-step tasks as general tasks
The generic decision task (standard task for user decision) and the standard tasks used in the verification workflow and automatic Customizing for Message Control are classified as general tasks.
• Maintain a workflow system administrator
If a workflow system administrator has not yet been maintained, your user name (current SY-UNAME) is entered as the workflow system administrator. All settings made by automatic Customizing can also be made in individual steps. However, this is generally not necessary. If required, you can find the individual activities in the IMG under SAP Business Workflow.
Carry out the IMG activity. This starts the check report.
1. Choose Automatic Workflow Customizing.
You can see which activities were performed in the log.
2. See whether the checks listed were all completed correctly.
All the settings which were made and checked should now be marked in the result list of the check report with a green checkmark. If this is not the case, carry out the relevant IMG activity manually.
3. Choose test RFC destination.
The system tries to log on to the logical destination with the user specified. If there are password problems, logon is not successful (despite the green checkmark in the result list). A dialog box to this effect is displayed.
To maintain the RFC destination again, choose workflow RFC destination fully configured.
4. Choose start verification workflow.
Follow the instructions you are given on the screen. Make sure you can work through them as described.
Further notes
Repeat the steps described above in each client in which you are working with SAP Business Workflow.


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
WS00800238 Workflow for Purchase Order


1.1.1. Scenario Activation
Scenarios are not visible in the Fiori Workflow Editor app until they have been activated in the back-end system. With this activity you can activate or deactivate scenarios.
You can only activate completed scenarios.
The processor requires change authorization for maintenance view V_SWF_FLEX_SCACT.
1. Open the activity.
2. In the maintenance view you choose New Entries to add new scenarios. Use the checkbox to activate or deactivate scenarios that were already added.
3. Save your changes.




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


2.1.1. Activate Flexible Workflow for Purchase Orders

Activate the flexible workflow for purchase orders.
The flexible workflow allows you to use either the automatic, one-step, or even multi-step approval. You can use the app Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders to define start conditions such as the company code, the material group, or the document type of the purchase order. This app also provides several options for determining the approver, such as the approval by the manager, or approval by the cost center responsible. Alternatively, you can enter a specific user as the approver.
If you have defined several workflows, the start conditions are checked in the order you have defined in the app Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders. As soon as the start conditions for a workflow are met, this workflow is used. This ensures that only one workflow in the list of your defined workflows is started, even if several workflows have matching start conditions.
Configuration Details
Proceed as follows to configure the flexible workflow:
1. In the launchpad, open the app Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders.
2. Choose Add to add a new workflow.
3. You must enter a name for the new workflow. In addition, you can provide a description.
4. In the section Preconditions, you can define the start conditions for your workflow, for example in the following way:
a) Under the section Preconditions, choose Document type of purchase order is from the drop-down list in the app, and enter NB.
b) From the drop-down list, choose Purchasing group of purchase order is and add the required value.
c) From the drop-down list, choose Total net amount of purchase order is greater than and add the desired values for New Value and Currency.
5. In the section Step Sequence, choose Add. In the drop-down menu of the field Type, choose Release Purchase Order to define the approver of the workflow.
6. Under Recipients, you can choose the desired agent determination rule, or you can add the user ID of a specific user.
7. Click Add to add these entries and return to the workflow definition screen.
8. Click Save to add this workflow to the list of available workflows.
9. In the list of workflows, ensure that this workflow has the status Active.
Further Information
For more information, see the documentation of the app Manage Workflows for Purchase Orders.






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

Define Personal Areas

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

2.1.1. Personnel Areas
The personnel area is an organizational unit that represents a specific area of the enterprise and is organized according to aspects of personnel, time management and payroll. A personnel area is divided into several personnel subareas. Please note that the personnel subareas contain the business characteristics. To assign the business characteristics, you must have set up at least one personnel subarea for each of your personnel areas even if you do not use personnel subareas in your enterprise structure.
When you define the personnel areas, the setting up of the enterprise structure has begun. You assign characteristics to these personnel areas in subsequent IMG steps. These steps are dealt with in the IMG at the same time they are established in a business sense.
Company X has three production plants in Germany: Hamburg, Cologne and Berlin. In the SAP System these would constitute three personnel areas.
Familiarize yourself with your enterprise structure.
Standard settings
The standard system contains several sample personnel areas.
Always create personnel areas with a four-character key.
When defining personnel areas, consider their effects on the areas mentioned above. If necessary, compare the definition of the personnel areas with the persons responsible for payroll and time management.
Further notes
Enhanced functions are available for editing personnel areas. You can call them up using the function call "Copy, delete, check personnel area". When you use this function, the entry in the personnel area table, as well as all the dependent customizing and system tables that contain the personnel area as a key are edited.
For additional information on these enhanced fucntions, refer to Copy / delete / check / edit project IMG.
1. Create your personnel area.
2. Copy the SAP template.
3. On the detail screen, maintain the address of the personnel area.
4. Delete the sample entries that you do not need.
5. Use the enhance functions to copy, delete, or check the environment data for a personnel area.
6. Use the project IMG view to review the data that was changed automatically. Because the project IMG view remains, you can carry out the review at a later date.

Click on Personal areas


Select the line item click on details


Define Personal Subareas

SPRO => IMG => Enterprise Structure => Definition => Human Resources Management => Personnel Subareas.
Click on Create Personal Subareas

2.1.2. Personnel Subareas
A personnel subarea is an organizational unit that represents a specific area of the company organized according to certain aspects of personnel, time management and payroll. The following business subtasks belong to the personnel subarea:
• Defining of pay scale and wage type structure
• Defining planned working hours
• Defining appraisal criteria
The Berlin site of Company X is physically separated by a railroad line. This could mean that two different tax or employment offices are responsible for the respective areas. In this case, you would define a personnel area "Berlin" and two personnel subareas.
Personnel areas must be created.
Standard settings
The standard SAP system contains the personnel subarea "blank" which you can use if you do not need any additional personnel area subdivisions.
If you do not use personnel subareas in your enterprise structure, you must still set up at least one personnel subarea (for example, "blank") for each personnel area so that you can assign the business characteristics to it.
Further notes
Additional functions exist to edit personnel subareas. You can access these functions by calling up the function "Copy, delete, check personnel subarea". When you use these functions, the entry in the personnel subarea table as well as all the dependent customizing and system tables where the personnel subarea is used as a key, are edited.
Here you will find information on the additional functions Copy / Delete / Check / Edit project IMG.
1. Create your personnel subareas.
2. Copy one of the templates contained in the standard SAP System.
3. Delete all the sample entries that you do not need.
4. Use the additional functions to copy, to delete or to check the environment data for the personnel subarea.
5. Use the project IMG view to postprocess data that was changed automatically. Because the project IMG view remains the same, you can carry out the postprocessing at a later date.




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.

2.1.1. Assignment of Personnel Area to Company Code
In this step, you allocate each of your personnel areas to one company code. When you create a personnel number, the corresponding company code is allocated to it in the infotype Organizational allocation (0001), depending on the enterprise structure in which the employee is situated.
The Hamburg, Cologne and Berlin sites of Company X all belong to one company code.
If you do not implement the Financial accounting component, you must first of all Create the company codes.
A further requirement is that you need to have created the personnel areas. Get an overview of the legal structure of your company.
1. Allocate your personnel areas to their corresponding company code.
Note that personnel areas which are allocated to different country groupings cannot belong to the same company code.
2. Delete all sample entries not required.
Further notes
If at all possible, do not change the allocation of company code to personnel area once your system is productive. If this should still prove to be necessary, the organizational allocations of the employees involved must also be adjusted. Report RPUP0001 does this.



2. 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.








1. HRALX – HRAC has two options:
• ‘X’ – integration is enabled. Organizational units and employees are created as a BP automatically. You can not create them manually.
• No value – there is no integration HR-BP. You have to create a BP manually.

3. HRALX – PNUMB has three options:
• ‘1’ – number assignment for BP from HR module(person) will be taken from general internal number range for BP.
• ‘2’ – system will have a separate INTERNAL number range for BP with a employee role and this setup is related with next one HRALX-PSUBG. You need to create separate number range in tcode BUCF and assign it in parameter HRALX-PSUBG.
• ‘3’ – BP in employee role will get a ID of BP same as a ID of employee. An individual number range interval must have been created with external number assignment. At the same time, you must also create a business partner grouping of the same name. This setup is related with next one HRALX-PSUBG.

5. HRALX – PSUBG is used to choose a number range for a BP from HR, internal or external.



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.


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

3. 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 new workflow page


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



To add the Step sequence, click the Create 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 must 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 Create 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

2.1.2. Maintain Task Names and Decision Options
This activity allows you to maintain workflow tasks that need to be included in the task filter together with their names and decision keys.
These customizations are relevant when the filter is active. When the filter is not active, all workflow items are read and all notifications are sent.
You can add workflow tasks and their corresponding IDs to the workflow task filter. If the filter is active, only the workflow items maintained in this list are included in the query results. Notifications are sent to the SAP Gateway only for these items.
You can define a name to be displayed when reading a specific task. Names can be maintained in several languages. You can add names only in the language in which you logged on to the system. If a task is read in a specific language in which no name is maintained, the name will be read according to the system kernel language. If no name is maintained for the system kernel language, the name will consist of the workflow and step ID.
To add a new workflow task with its corresponding ID to the workflow task filter:
1. In the Dialog Structure section, select Step Name.
2. Click New Entry.
3. In the Step Name section, enter the Workflow ID and step ID, and step description in the relevant columns.
You can use decision keys to help include steps in the user decision service. A decision can be applied to the task using these keys. The functionality is carried out using the following enhancement spot customer implementation: /IWWRK/ES_WF_WI_BEFORE_UPD_IB .
The descriptions for the decision keys can be maintained in several languages. You can only enter text in the language in which you logged on to the system. If a task is read in a specific language and no text is maintained for the decision key in this language, the text will be read according to the system kernel language.
To define decision keys:
4. In the Step Name section, select the relevant workflow.
5. In the Dialog Structure section, double-click Decision keys.
6. Click New Entries.
7. In the Decision Key section, add a new decision key and its description in the relevant columns.




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.

2.1.3. Perform task-specific Customizing
In this activity you make all the settings required to adapt the SAP tasks and SAP workflows supplied. Only carry out this activity if you want to use the scenarios supported by SAP.
Possible agents must be specified for each task in order to clearly define the organizational responsibility for processing.
Workflows can only be started in dialog by their possible agents. If a scenario requires that the relevant workflow be started in dialog, this workflow must be assigned to its possible agents.
A task or workflow can be started as a reaction to events created by the application functionality. For this, specific events are declared as triggering events for the task or workflow. Activate this linkage between triggering event and task or workflow if you really want to create the linkage between event and task or workflow as suggested by SAP.
Check that automatic Workflow Customizing has been completed.
1. Execute the activity and select the application component for which you want to carry out the following from the component hierarchy displayed:
o The assignment of possible agents to tasks and workflows
o The activation of triggering events for tasks and workflows
2. Open the branch Assign agents to tasks.
3. Select a task for processing.
Assign the task to its possible agents. This assignment determines the total number of persons who are allowed to process this task.
Specify all the relevant agents.
You have the following options:
o Job
o Organizational unit
o Position
o Work center
o User
o Role
Multiple assignments are possible.
Alternatively, you can classify a task as a general task.
4. Open the branch Activate event linkage.
5. Select a task or workflow for processing.
Only some of the tasks and workflows have triggering events. This is indicated by the folder symbol in front of the name. If you double-click on the symbol, the event entered as triggering event is displayed.
6. Activate the linkage.
Activation of type linkages determines which of the linkages in question you actually want to use.
Usually you will assign an organizational unit, a job or a position to a task or workflow as possible agent so if personnel changes occur in the organizational plan no changes are required in the workflow components.
Further notes
For further information, refer to Customizing for the application component in question.
This IMG activity gives you the opportunity to set up all the tasks and workflows that you want to use in the implementation phase. But it is also possible to execute the steps required from the task definition or workflow definition at a later date.







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 DISPLAY the Purchase order ME23N


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.



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:

iii. 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 transactions 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 Transaction code is the one where we can get the notifications through Mail ID, FAX etc.,


To add/create the Mail ID.





iv. 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 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 guide.

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.

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