In her IT 2011 presentation, An up-to-date guide to SAP Business Workflow and its role within your SAP infrastructure, Ginger Gatling provides a great, high-level overview of this often underutilized SAP tool. Gatling states:
SAP Business Workflow is a tool included with SAP NetWeaver® that can be used to define new processes and automate processes using existing transactions and functions within SAP. SAP Business Workflow:
1. Automates and monitors business processes
2. Provides appropriate business knowledge of how to perform business processes
3. Enables active flow of information (Bringing the right information at the right time to the right people, distributing work according to business rules, supplying exception handling and deadline monitoring)
4. Provides metrics on business processes (Benchmarking, continuous improvement, and KPI alerting)
In layman’s terms, SAP Business Workflow standardizes a process. By ensuring the right tasks, happen at the right time, by the right person, a workflow increases process efficiency and eliminates the risk of missed deadlines.
So, when you boil it down, a workflow makes sure stuff gets done. And, if you really think about it, they can be found almost anywhere. Both inside and outside of the office, many of us find comfort in consistency. Take, for instance, the process of sending a letter (and please excuse the dated, “snail mail” analogy). After writing, you bring the letter to a mailbox, a postman picks it up, brings it to the post office, and from there it’s ultimately delivered. This process is a workflow. A ver y, very old workflow – yes. But a workflow nonetheless.
Here at SAPinsider, we love workflows so much, we even leverage them during lunchtime. Check out the diagram below, created by an anonymous workflow enthusiast, which is posted above our second-floor kitchen sink.
It's informative, ensures efficiency, and employs a standard by which we can all clean our dishes. A workflow at its best if you ask me.
And who says SAP concepts can be applied outside of the technical world? :)