Flexible Workflow in Sourcing & Procurement

You want to migrate to S/4HANA or replace your SRM installation? You are therefore looking for a solution to be able to continue to map your release rules on the system side?

Release regulations are the "heart" of purchasing when it comes to compliance. These regulations have so far been implemented via a
SAP SRM or directly in your SAP ERP via release strategies. But what do you do when an S/4HANA migration is pending and SAP ERP and/or SAP SRM is replaced?

The new Flexible Workflow in S/4HANA is the tool of choice for SAP when it comes to releases in the sourcing and procurement environment.
But what exactly can the Flexible Workflow do?

Flexible workflow functionalities

Possible applications

  • Request-For-Quote (RFQ)
  • Supplier offer
  • Delivery schedule
  • (Central) Contracts
  • (Central) purchase requisition
  • (Central) Order
  • Service entry sheet - Lean Services
  • Supplier invoice


The initial setup for activating the Flexible Workflow must be carried out via Customizing. Once this is done, the configuration of individual workflows can be performed directly by the business user via Fiori apps without any customizing experience. Customer enhancements are stored in BAdIs in such a way that they can be reused by the users in each new workflow configuration.The following configuration options are available in Flexible Workflow via Fiori:


Different release scenarios are basically supported by the Flexible Workflow. These options can vary depending on the document:

  • Release at header level (overall release)
  • Release on item level
  • Release at header level of central purchasing documents (Procurement Hub scenario)
  • Release at item level of central purchasing documents (Procurement Hub scenario)

Thus, both head-based and item-based approval is possible.



  • Basically, SAP delivers some start conditions as standard
  • A start condition is a condition that must be met to trigger the following workflow
  • If no suitable start condition is found, an Auto-Approval or a Fallback-Approval can be started as backup
  • Various conditions can be linked with And / Or
  • Standard start conditions are e.g.
    • Company code
    • Creation indicator of the purchase requisition
    • Type of document
    • Total net amount
  • Customer start conditions can be defined using BAdI "SWF_WORKFLOW_CONDITION_DEF"


Start workflow, if

Document type = NB and

Total net amount = 1.000,00 Euro


Document type = FO and

Total net amount = 5.000,00 Euro



Approval steps represent the individual levels of the approval hierarchy.

  • Step name: For each release step a step name can be assigned, e.g. "Buyer", "Manager" (translations are possible)
  • Step type: For each approval step, a distinction can be made between automatic and manual approval
  • Receiver:
    • One or more users can be entered directly as recipients
    • Alternatively to the direct user assignment a role can be assigned
    • A role can be created in the Fiori app "Teams & Responsibilities". Thus, for example, the role "Operative Buyer" can be created, which determines the responsible users, e.g. based on a plant/material group combination
    • If several users are determined, it can also be configured whether all or only one user must approve
    • Customer-employee determination are possible via BAdI "MMPUR_WORKFLOW_AGENTS_V2"
  • Step conditions are defined analog to the start conditions. Here you can define whether the approval step should only appear when a certain value is reached
  • Dates or due dates for approval can be set in days depending on the creation of the BANF or the activation of the approval step
  • Exception handling determines which action should be performed if the release is rejected in the approval step



  • If you have created approval steps in a workflow, you can then determine the sequence
  • Activating a workflow activates the workflow in the system. Subsequent changes to the workflow are no longer possible
  • You can then determine the order of the workflows if you have defined several workflows with different start conditions



  • A workflow restart is only triggered if changes are made to previously defined fields (Customizing)
  • User-defined fields and logic for the workflow restart can be executed via BAdI "MM_PUR_S4_PR_WFL_RESTART"


If a workflow has been created, the question arises as to how work items, such as a purchase requisition, should be released. All of a user's "to-dos" are made available via the so-called "My Inbox" Fiori App. Among other things, this also includes approvals of the "Flexible Workflow".

But what options does the user have here:

  • Approve - A purchase requisition can be approved. Optionally an approval text can be stored
  • Reject - If a purchase requisition is rejected, a note can also be stored. Depending on the workflow definition, the workflow is terminated, continued, restarted or the step is repeated
  • Reserve  - If an approval is sent to a larger group of people, a user can reserve the order request for himself. The work item is no longer visible to all other approvers
  • Stop puts an approval on resubmission, so that, for example, it appears in the user's inbox only after one week, since no decision can be made at the moment
  • Show log - displays the approval history
  • Representative rules can be stored via the MyInbox, so that vacation replacements or permanent substitutions can be set up


Often, certain groups of people only need to approve work items at irregular intervals. To avoid having to check the Fiori app "MyInbox" every day, an e-mail can be sent to the recipient when a work item is received.
In addition, requesters can be informed via e-mail about the final approval or rejection of your document (e.g. purchase requisition).

Matthias Lebschy - CONSILIO GmbH

We support you in the introduction of a solution with which you can continue to map your release rules in the system. Use Flexible Workflow in S/4HANA and create added value for your company.

Matthias Lebschy, Consultant MM & MRPCONSILIO GmbH

Optimize your release options!

Use flexible workflows and create added value!

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