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Well, first of all, did you know that SAP holds 'Customer Connection' initiatives?  I did - but never really thought I would get to participate in one because I am, you know, so maniacally focused on SAP Business Workflow.  So when I heard from Martijn Wever (he of VNSG fame) that a Customer Connection on SAP Business Workflow was starting up, and would I like to join... well, I could barely type a reply fast enough! 

 

Here’s why.  I’ve been working with SAP WF for years and years.  There were a lot of improvements in this area up until about 2005.  Sadly, improvements from then on were mostly in the break/fix mode.  As an ASUG volunteer and an SAP Mentor, I felt compelled to raise awareness of some of the ongoing struggles we face in this area.  Some would prefer to call it ‘whingeing’ I suppose.  I was even part of a group of SAP Mentors (called by our Twitter handle, SAP_WIT, for SAP Workflow Influence Team) that has worked with SAP on implementing some changes, but you’ll have to read that story in the SAP Mentors Quarterly, when it comes out (published under the ‘Articles’ section of  SCN).

At any rate, the Customer Connection series allows you to use SAP Idea Place to submit ideas for product improvement.  So you could log on to Idea Place and view the requests that were submitted during this Customer Connection  here:

Of course, you will need to get an Idea Place login first. J

You can learn more about Customer Connections here at SAP's Influence site or read the UK and Ireland SUG description.

Over the course of the meetings, we used Idea Place to submit requests, view other people’s requests, vote on them, and ultimately ‘commit’ to them.  By committing to a request, you are saying that you want this so much, you will implement it. Otherwise, what’s the point?  SAP could approve all of our requests, but if the user community that asked for them doesn’t step up and implement them, what’s the point? 

Our final official Customer Connection call was held in September, when we were notified of which improvement requests were going to be declined, scoped, or deferred.  And I was pretty happy with the list of ‘approved’ ideas – I think they can start to make life a lot easier for SAP Workflow developers and administrators – and that helps us make life easier for our customers. In all, we had 10 Improvement requests that would be scoped and had a planned delivery date of Q1/2012.  One request, which was ‘rejected’ (improvements to the Business Object Repository editor and make those improvements backportable) was also left on the table too.  Still, I may have been a bit skeptical that they would really be delivered.

So I was quite surprised and pleased when I got an email recently that 7 (that’s right, seven! Out of 11) of the improvement requests were now available.  And technically speaking, SAP had only committed to a planned delivery of Q1-2012!  That’s probably 4 months early on over 60% of the requests.  Most of these improvement requests are available via Notes.  Some of them will be available via support packs only – which goes for my personal bugaboo (oops, I called it a favorite earlier - well, it’s a love-hate kind of thing) the improved BOR editor functionality.

So, without further ado...

1286336 – Mass logical delete for SWIA – Until this note, if there were bunches of workitems that needed deletion, you would have to run SWWL (or the program RSWWWHIDE) and everyone knows that you are not advised to use this program in Production Environments.  Or you had to drill into each workitem individually and delete from there.  This note will add a ‘Logically Delete’ function to SWIA which is suitable for mass deletion.

1640209 – Dynamic columns for outbox and resubmission folders – Your users are accustomed to seeing workitems in their inbox with certain dynamic columns.  With this OSS note, your users can now see the same dynamic columns.

1648822 – Dynamic user decision – There will be an exit which allows you to dynamically determine which user decision options should be displayed.

1642128 – Where-used-list for BOR and Class methods – You can’t see a where-used list for BOR methods or ABAP classes from the workbench, but now you will be able to with transaction SWDM (Business Workflow Explorer)

1602238 –Generic Object Services for ABAP OO – You can now use Generic Object Services (GOS) with ABAP objects

1643764 – Configurable optional/mandatory notes on decision steps – This is available on via Support Pack (and is still in German) but in essence, you can use the Workflow Builder to determine, at a user decision, if a note should be required. There are three possibilities:

           o Not required

           o note should be included (required)

           o note must be captured (required).

AND...

1639167 – New BOR Editor – Have I whinged about ‘sticks and dirt’?  The ‘old’ BOR editor was probably last enhanced in 2004.  Now you can get SE24-like features while editing BOR objects. 

I hope that some of you (dear reader) will look these notes up.  And if they are valid for your system, apply them!  Then please, give me some feedback? 

Thanks to all the people involved...Martijn Wever, Ralf G (you know who you are) Alan Rickayzen, Mike Pokraka, Tom Maue - I know there are more names.

And thank you, SAP.  For setting up the Customer Connection program, and for listening.  I will not whinge (publicly) until next year :)

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