How to Use Workflow to Streamline SAP Service Management Processes

  • by Mike Piehl , Cofounder, JaveLLin Solutions
  • May 8, 2014
Learn how to implement a simple workflow to dramatically increase the power of SAP Service Management. A simple workflow can often eliminate tedious manual steps in the Service Management processes. Implementing a simple workflow can often provide additional functionality that would otherwise require complex ABAP coding within a user exit. A simple workflow enables you to automate functionality based on reacting to events, other than on just saving a document.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn how to:

  • Complete customization steps to activate workflow within the SAP system
  • Implement a simple workflow for SAP Service Management
  • Quickly test the workflow to make sure it is executing when you expect
Key Concept

Workflow within an SAP system is a common buzzword that is often misunderstood. Workflow is often viewed as a full process of many steps, involving many different people to perform a complicated task. Workflow can just as easily be a simple task that executes as soon as a system status is set, or a certain object is created. Implementing simple workflow within SAP Service Management can streamline a complicated process by allowing the SAP system to do the work for you.


A good friend of mine shattered some preconceived notions I’ve been holding in my head for years about SAP Workflow, and I’m really glad he did. Some of the things I assumed about SAP Workflow included:

  • You can’t do it without implementing a lot of HR configuration
  • You have to do everything in the SAP Inbox
  • It would take months to get a workflow up and running
  • The workflow always becomes lost in “limbo”

While all of these things may be true in some instances, it doesn’t have to be the case. This article is going to prove it. Now, if you need to set up a multiple step process involving several groups with delegates if someone is on vacation and complicated logic depending on the values set in the document, this process won’t be enough for you. The goal is to expand your toolbox for simple tasks.

Why use SAP Workflow when I can use a user exit or an enhancement spot? That’s an excellent question, and in many situations, user exits are the best approach. The biggest difference between workflow and the more standard user exit/enhancement spot approach is how and when it executes. Let’s look at two Service Management examples.

Example 1. You need the system to verify data that was entered into the document every time you save. The service order needs to have an accounting indicator set based upon custom logic. It does not have to be complicated, but to make sure the downstream processes work, you need a correct value entered. A user exit is perfect for this approach because you want to force users to enter a correct value before they can save the document.

Example 2. You need to kick off an email to customer service representatives as soon as a particular status is set so they can generate a quotation to the customer. For this purpose, SAP Workflow is a much better option. You don’t need the code to execute every time you save the service order. You only want it to happen when the particular status is set. You could write code to do a quick check of the status to see if it should execute, or write a background program to check every service order every five minutes, but why write that logic when it already exists in the SAP system and doesn’t cost you anything?

Mike Piehl

Mike Piehl is a functional expert in SAP service management and variant configuration. He has worked to combine the technical and functional aspects of SAP systems to provide the best possible solutions. Mike began working in SAP in 1995 and has been helping small and medium-sized businesses implement and streamline their service processes.

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