Configuring workflows during implementation

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Configure workflows
  • Configure optional workflow settings

Workflow administration

Workflows are typically configured as part of the self-service process. When an employee or manager submits a change, a workflow is activated. Workflows are built in the implementation process. The role of the administrator is to ensure the completion of workflows and to manage the workflow participants.

In the figure, Example: Workflow Approval Steps, you can see a sample workflow with two approvers after the manager initiates the change, the second-level manager and an HR Dynamic Group. The HR Dynamic Group is a pool of people where only one person needs to approve the workflow.

Workflow Configuration

Workflow is an XML-based Foundation Object. It is a Foundation Object generally categorized as Others, and just like any other XML-based Foundation Object, workflow records are managed in Manage Organization, Pay and Job Structures tool.

In the figure, Workflow Configuration, you can see the workflow record for an Address Change. There is one approver, the Dynamic Group Talent Approval, and two external e-mail addresses that will be cc’d when the process is finalized.

Types of Workflow Participants

By default, there are three types of workflow participants:

  • Approvers: An approver actively participates in the workflow. An approver is required to move the request along by either approving or denying (which sends the request back) the request. Approvers can also post comments to the workflow.
  • Contributors: A contributor is a type of participant that can only add comments to the workflow. They do not actively approve nor deny the request. Contributors also get notified of any progress.
  • CC Role: This is a passive participant. CC Roles get notified upon the completion of the request.

Complete the interaction to learn more about setting workflow participants.

Workflow Administration

Dynamic roles and groups

A dynamic role is a flexible way to assign users and groups as workflow approvers based on the job information of the subject user.

For example, you can create a dynamic role identifying Janet James as the approver for transactions using promotion as the event reason for employees in Corporate Industries. If Carla Grant promotes Marcus within the Corporate Industries group and the promotion event reason is used, the system routes the approval to Janet James.

To create Dynamic Role records, useManage Organization, Pay and Job Structures in Admin Center.

When a dynamic group is used on a workflow, the request is sent to all group members. However, only one of the members is expected to act on the request.

The groups are created using the same interface as RBP. Dynamic groups are managed using the Manage Workflow Groups tool.

Note

You can enable the Enforce Four-Eyes Principle On Workflow Step Approval in Platform Feature Settings that enforces a security mechanism so that the initiator cannot be an approver for the workflows. This applies to Dynamic Groups and Dynamic Roles.

Workflow Notification

Standard workflow e-mail templates can be found in E-Mail Notification Template Settings. Though the standard templates can be modified, you cannot customize the notification for each workflow participant. You'll have to use Document Generation to create a fully customized template where each participant receives a custom notification.

Workflow e-mail templates use tags, as shown in the figure, Workflow Notification. See the Workflow Implementation guide for a full list of the supported tags.

Standard workflow e-mail templates are selected by default and cannot be disabled. They are available for the following workflow actions:

  • Approval

  • Rejected

  • Pending

  • Canceled

  • Skipped

  • Posted

  • Lock Down

  • Unlock

  • Contributor

  • CC Role

  • Approved

  • Sent back

Approver skip

The system provides a sophisticated logic to skip the same single approvers in consecutive steps of the workflow to ensure improved processing efficiency without compromising data quality and legal compliance.

All the successive workflow steps with the same single approver, except the last one, will be skipped automatically. The skipped steps are displayed on the Workflow Details page. All skipped steps are indicated in the Activity area of the page.

By taking steps out of long approval chains, the skip option improves the efficiency of processing workflows without affecting data quality. An example is demonstrated in the following table.

Skip logic

Steps: Original ApproversSkipped?Explanation
Step 1: User 1YesHas the same single approver as Step 2.
Step 2: User 1YesHas the same single approver as Step 3.
Step 3: User 1NoStep 4 has a different approver.
Step 4: User 2YesHas the same single approver as Step 5.
Step 5: User 2NoStep 6 has multiple approvers, even though one of them is the same approver as Step 5 (User 2).
Step 6: User 1, User 2NoThough it has exactly the same approvers as Step 7, it's not skipped because we only skip steps with a single approver.
Step 7: User 1, User 2NoHas multiple approvers.
Step 8: User 2YesHas the same single approver as Step 9.
Step 9: User 2NoThis is the last step, without the following step.

Enabling the Skip option

The option to skip approvers is enabled in Company System and Logo Settings.

Workflow participation

When employees participate in a workflow, they can view the progress using the Manage Pending Requests tool. You can access this page by Action SearchManage Pending Requests.

Use the interaction to become familiar with the tool.

Manage Pending Requests

Approving Requests

Requests can easily be approved in the approvals card of the latest homepage. Permission to disable the quick approval is also available.

Use the interaction below to learn how requests are approved.

Note

You can have additional filtering options in the My Workflow Request tool when you enable the permission, Manage WorkflowsProfessional Edition Manage Workflow Requests, in Role-Based Permissions.

Ownership of workflows

The Assign to me workflow feature allows a user that belongs to a dynamic group to take ownership of the request and assign the workflow to themselves. It allows a user to find out who assigned the workflow as well as remove the assignment from themselves or other members of the dynamic group.

How to Use the Assign to Me Function?

Before you use the assign to me function, a user must have the Manage Workflow Assignments permission assigned to them. When the permission is set up, a user can review the pending requests. As a user in a dynamic group (workflow group), a user can look at any workflow assigned to that dynamic group and assign it to themselves.

A user can also filter the workflow requests in My Workflow Requests based upon the assignment.

Benefits of Assign to Me

Multiple users can process the same workflow in parallel. For example, if a workflow requires additional alignment and communication, such as a workflow that has to go through a worker’s council hearing, and there’s no indication that the workflow is already in progress, another user could start to process it. This function indicates when a workflow is in progress and increases the efficiency of the team that processes the workflow.

Exercise: Customize a new hire workflow

Business Example

ACE Corporation wants to customize the existing new hire workflow to include a Dynamic Group of HR representatives. You will create the new dynamic group, update the workflow record, and finally validate if the changes are functional.

Note

You must have completed Prepare an Instance (Unit 1) and Prepare the Data Models (Unit 2) exercises before completing this hands-on. This exercise activity is not required for completing succeeding hands-on exercises for this course.

Watch the video to learn how to change the workflow.

Steps

  1. Go to Manage Workflow Groups to create a Dynamic Group that will be used as a hiring approver. Use the information in the table to define the group.

    Dynamic Group Requirements

    Group NameHR
    People PoolAnyone with Job Code including HR
    1. Log in to your instance.

    2. Navigate to Manage Workflow Groups.

    3. Select Create New Group.

    4. Use the information in the table, Customer Requirements, to define the group.

    5. Select Update in the Group Membership bubble.

    6. Select the new number that is populated in the Group Membership bubble.

    7. Verify Alex Anderson is an employee in the Dynamic Group.

    8. Select CloseDone.

  2. Go to Manage Organization, Pay and Job Structure to update the existing New Hire Workflow. Use the information in the table to define the new approvers.

    Customer Requirements

    Approver 1 (Step 1)
    Approver TypeDynamic Group
    Approver RoleHR
    All other attributes remain the same.
    Approver 2 (Step 2)
    Approver TypeRole
    Approver RoleManager
    ContextTarget
    All other attributes remain the same.
    Approver 3 (Step 3)
    Approver TypeRole
    Approver RoleManager Manager
    ContextTarget
    All other attributes remain the same.
    1. As an administrator, navigate to Manage Organization, Pay and Job Structure .

    2. Choose Workflow ConfigurationHire (New or Rehire) (HIRE)Take ActionMake Correction .

    3. Update the Workflow using the information in the table, Custom Requirements.

    4. Select Save.

  3. Test the New Hire Workflow. Go to Add New employee to test if the new approvers will appear in the workflow. Use the table to create a new user.

    New Hire Information

    FieldValues
    Hire DateToday's date
    CompanyAce USA
    Event ReasonNew Hire
    NameGillian Ray
    Date of BirthAugust 22, 1982
    Email<use your e-mail>
    Manager/SupervisorCarla Grant
    Job ClassificationAnalyst
    HR ManagerNancy Nash
    1. As an administrator, navigate to Add New Employee .

    2. Hire in the employee using the information provided in the table, New Hire Information. Include any value for required fields in Job Information.

    3. Select Submit.

    4. Does your new workflow trigger properly? The workflow should indicate the three-step approval (HR, Carla Grant, Alexander Thompson).

    5. Select Confirm.

    6. Proxy as Alex Anderson.

    7. On the home page, select Approve Card.

    8. Locate the request for Gillian RayApprove .

Configuration of delegation

With Is Delegate Supported feature, you can enable approvers to delegate the workflow to another user in the company. The delegate can then take over the workflow to approve or decline on behalf of the original approver. The delegate also has the option to refuse the delegation. The original approver can also recall the workflow.

There are two options on how to delegate workflows:

  • Manual delegation: Approvers can identify the delegate at each workflow step.
  • Auto delegation: Users can identify delegates for different requests or a single delegate for all requests in the HomepageDelegate My Workflows .

Delegation is configured in the Corporate Data Model. The Workflow Configuration foundation object has a field called is-delegate-supported. When Corporate Data is configured with the is-delegate-supported hris-field under the wfConfig hris-element, the system allows the admin user to configure a workflow record with Yes and No options. By default, the field value is No.

Corporate Data Model: hris-field under <hris-element id="wfConfig">

Code snippet
 
<hris-field id="is-delegate-supported" visibility="both" required="false">
   <label>Is Delegate Supported</label>
</hris-field>
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For both manual and auto delegation, it is necessary that delegation is supported at the workflow record, meaning Is Delegate Supported is set to Yes.

Activation of auto delegation

A user can set up an auto delegate through quick actions on the homepage. To enable auto delegation, the user needs to have the RBP permission, Allow Auto-Delegation. When auto delegation is enabled, all workflows with Is Delegate Supported set to yes are routed to the nominated user. When you assign a delegate, you can specify the start and end times for the auto-delegation. If they leave those fields blank, the auto-delegation is indefinite until manually turned off. This includes workflows received through job relationships, dynamic roles, dynamic groups, and positions. If you enable the Company System and Logo SettingsAllow delegatees to accept or reject a workflow delegation request option, the delegate has the option to approve or reject the delegation. A delegate can also view their delegations and delegation periods under the Delegation Requests for Me tab.

Workflow Auto-Delegation by Groups

Workflow auto-delegation by groups feature will allow approvers to assign different delegates for a subset of request types. For example, a user may want to delegate their manager for termination, change in compensation and promotion requests, and delegate a subordinate for all other requests.

Administrators can group related requests in Manage DataAuto Delegate Group. Workflows can be grouped by request types or objects.

Administrators can also setup auto-delegation on behalf of employees in Manage DataAuto Delegate Config.

The system automatically creates a ALL OTHERS when at least one group is created. This can be used as a catch-all delegate.

Once the groups are created, a user can choose to identify a single delegate for all requests or use delegate by workflow group provided they do not exceed three delegates.

Future-dated alternate workflow

You can use an alternate workflow to include more approvers in a workflow process and take care of potential conflicts caused by future-dated records.

In the figure, Alternate Workflow, an address change would normally go to the Dynamic group, Talent Approval. However, if a future-dated record is identified, the system will instead trigger the alternate workflow, Data Change.

For example, Marcus Hoff has a future-dated address record effective December 15, 2099. Today, a request to change the zip code was submitted.

In the figure, Request Submission, you can see how the approval steps differ using the alternate workflow, Data Change, because of the future-dated record.

Note
A business rule could be used instead of alternate workflows.

Reminders for approvers about stalled workflows

You can specify that the current workflow approver is reminded to take action on a pending workflow after a certain number of days. You can configure the notification in two ways:

  • Set up the same number of days in all workflows.

  • Set up the individual number of days for different workflow records.

To configure reminders, create the job type Workflow Action Reminder in Scheduled Job Manager. You can set the Remind in Days value to the number of days for all workflows or leave the value blank and specify the days at the worflow level.

If you are configuring the individual workflow configuration records, you must update the Corporate Data Model to include the remind-indays hris-field in the wfconfig hris-element as follows:

Code snippet
<hris-field id="remind-indays" visibility="both">
<label>Remind in Days</label>
</hris-field>
Expand

When the scheduled job runs, the system gets all the pending workflows. The number of days is determined based upon either:

  • The number of days entered in the scheduled job.
  • The number of days the Admin has entered for each workflow foundation object record if the number of days is empty in the scheduled job.

If the workflow has been pending for that number of days, the reminder notifications are sent to the current approver.

The reminder notification reuses the approver's original notification when a workflow is triggered, with "Reminder:" in the e-mail subject line. There is no need to configure a specific e-mail template for reminder notifications.

Note

If you configure a number of days in the notification job, values entered on Workflow Configuration Records are ignored.

Auto escalation of workflows

It is possible to define an escalation path for a workflow. If an approver takes no action on the workflow, the workflow becomes stalled. With auto escalation, the workflow is automatically escalated to a specified user if the workflow is stalled for a specified number of days. The new approver can decline the escalation, returning to the previous approver. The previous approver can also revoke the escalation, thus bringing it back to themselves. After declining or revoking, the escalation would continue with the next escalation step after the defined number of days.

An escalation path must be created within the Manage Data tool, then attached to the workflow configuration record.

Configuration of Workflow Escalation

Steps to configure the escalation:

  1. You must first add the escalation to the Foundation Object in the Corporate Data Model. Include this xml tag in the corporate data model under <hris-element="wfConfig"> :
    Code snippet
    
    <hris-field id="escalation" visibility="both" required="false" pii="false">
      <label>Escalation</label>
    </hris-field>
    Expand
  2. Create the escalation path in Manage Data.
  3. Assign the required workflows to the escalation records.
  4. Create and run the Workflow Auto Escalation Job Type in Scheduled Job Manager.
Escalation will not happen if you have enabled the auto-approval feature.

Auto approval of Workflows

Auto Approval

Normally, a workflow is prevented from proceeding to the next step if the current step's approver does not take action. As a result, all subsequent approvers must wait until the workflow reaches their assigned step. It is possible to create a recurring job for automatic approval of stalled workflows, to make the system automatically check and approve workflow steps that have not been processed within a specified timeframe. To prevent workflows from stalling at a certain approval step, you can specify whether a workflow step is to be automatically approved when the approvers haven't responded within a certain number of days.

Configuration of Auto Approval of Workflows

To use the auto-approval, you must include this XML tag in the corporate data model under <hris-element="wfStepApprover">.

Code snippet
<hris-field id="autoApproveInDays" visibility="both">
<label> Days until Auto Approval </label>
</hris-field>
Expand

The second step is to create a recurring job that automatically checks and approves steps of stalled workflows. In Provisioning, go to Managing Job Scheduler > Manage Scheduled Jobs and start creating a new job. As the job type, select Workflow Auto Approval and complete the job fields.

We recommend running this job daily, defining an active period for the recurring job, or entering an infinite future date.

The third step to enable this feature is to define the "Days Until Auto Approval" in your workflow configuration record approval step by entering a number in the field. This number specifies how many days elapse before this recurring job prompts the system to auto-approve a non-responsive step. As a result of this configuration, when a workflow step has not been responded to within the predefined timeframe, the system automatically approves it. It allows the workflow to proceed to the subsequent steps.

Additional Resources

For more comprehensive information on workflows, go to the Workflows Implementation Guide in the SAP Help Portal.

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