I have a workflow question where i would really appreciate your advice. Here's the situation: the customer is on the Enterprise 4.7 with no intent to upgrade in the next five years at least. They want to implement automation scenarious with off-line capabilities which would involve non-SAP participants via kiosks. There are several options on the table including standalone Adobe Intelligent Documents platform, MS Infopath and others, but SAP Interactive Forms seems the most likely one. Since the existing 4.7 system does not support it, this will involve implementing brand new Netweaver'04 system to provide the functionality, and some sort of RFC/BAPI interface to the backend 4.7 for data exchange.
It's okay so far, the question i'm trying to get my mind around is: How can we integrate the workflows in this scenario?
1. Considering the Integrated Forms option: which system the workflows will have to be maintained and ran at?
My understanding is that the workflows must be developed and ran in the new Netweaver'04 box which has all necessary functionality to support Interactive forms workitems. Then we will have to RFC into 4.7 for actual data inquiry and update. Is this correct? will it require to distribute users/HR master data from the main 4.7 box to the Netweaver system? Is it possible at all in this case to host workflows in the main 4.7 system and generate workitems to process Interactive Adobe forms?
2. Is there a better solution you can recommend?
Absolutely use the SAP(Adobe) Interactive forms and SAP Workflow
Roughly what you need to do is this:
1. Find/Get a SAP NetWeaver 04 WebAs (Java Stack) - e.g. if you have SAP EP 6.0 or XI lying around you can use that.
2. Load and configure Adobe Document Services on to your SAP NetWeaver 04 (easy) - you'll need to ask for a
license key, but there's no charge for that.
3. Find/Get SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio onto your (or the developer's machine). Make sure you include
the option to use Adobe when you load it.
4. Create a WebDynpro application to handle your Adboe form and the RFC calls back to your R/3 system (usually
you'll have an SLD set up somewhere on your SAP NetWeaver 04 to identify the system. If you want to have offline
forms, include the option to receive/process an incoming form from email. You should find examples on SDN I believe
- there's a fair bit of material about Adobe there now. RFC of course is standard for WebDynpro.
The Adobe Designer is called from WebDynpro - you just specify the appropriate view element.
5. Create your SAP Worklow as per normal. At the points where you want to call your form, set up a task to
call your WebDynpro application. You can use either transactions WF_HANDCUST/WF_EXTSRV if you are using SBWP inbox or
transaction SWFVISU(or XML config) if you are using the UWL - check if you've got transaction SWFVISU in your system.
6. Put a link to your WebDynpro application on an appropriate intranet/internet or send the link in mail. It can be run from a standard web browser.
I've actually done something similar at another site. For ease of handling we decided to load our form data into a Internet Service Request (see transaction QISRSCENARIO) - business object BUS2078(?). As we were WebDynpro novices at the time, we basically created a single RFC to handle all our requests, but that's not really necessary.
The advantage of using ISR was the extra functionality it gave on the R/3 side to hold the form data against a notification - and add actions to the notification, e.g. to bring up the form in display mode. But that approach isn't necessary. So long as you have somewhere to store your data its fine.
Before you start: Talk to your SAP account exec about license implications for using custom SAP Interactive forms. There's no charge for the technology, but there is a user charge per custom form last I heard. SAP supplied forms are free. I guess you'll need some sort of generic "service" type account for your kiosks - best to check license agreement arrangements for that at your site with your SAP account exec also just to be on the safe side.
Also you need a minimum Adobe Reader version of 6.0.2 I think - current version is 7.0 - so just check what's the standard image at site, or specify it up front as a requirement for the kiosks.
It's probably better/easier to handle incoming forms in the WebDynpro application - you can add some validation checks when uploading the forms, and you just need to make someone responsible for viewing/processing incoming forms.
By the way, we were WebDynpro and Adobe Designer novices at the time, and it still only took a couple of weeks to get the base scenario working. It took more time to sort out the R/3 side of things.
Make sure you have a look at the Adobe tutorials and How-Tos on SDN first to save some time. Suggest you also try some WebDynpro tutorials - especially on calling RFCs/BAPIs.
I wrote an article relating to this in the October SAP insider www.sapinsider.com. The bottom line is try to put the process definition in the application system but the forms UI on the latest Web AS.
However, the article does not deal with the offline scenario. Offline would either involve using smtp mail to process incoming forms or to take the complete process out of the HR system and to do it with guided procedures which requires SAP NetWeaver NW04s which is currently in
Hope this helps,