SAP CAF and SAP BPM are business process management engines / products from SAP within the SAP Netweaver stack. This blog provides an overview of the salient features of both these toolsets for business process management.

Business processes are inevitable part of a business. A well designed process with suitable technology provides an organization a cutting edge over competitors while accomplishing their ever changing business requirements. Choice of technology to design a business process becomes a key factor based on the expertise of the organization.

If technical team of an organization has expertise in ABAP, then SAP Workflows can be considered for designing business processes.

In case of Java expertise, two main SAP NetWeaver CE based workflow technologies comes into picture i.e. SAP CAF GP known as Composite Application Framework and SAP BPM (Business Process Modeling).  As per my experience and analysis both these technologies are sufficiently capable to serve business wants and needs. Both these technologies provide different working experience to designer and end user.

Respective technologies contain some following key factors over another which may help an individual/organization to make choice among these technologies.

SAP CAF GP (Composite Application Framework)

  • SAP CAF GP provides indigenous designer to design a business process in a very conventional manner.
  • Need technical expertise to design, manage business processes in SAP CAF GP
  • Maintaining CAF GP objects is not smooth operation. E.g. If one need to delete an object from process, needs to be detached from dependant/related objects first. Otherwise all dependant/related objects are tending to be deleted.
  • Provides capability to share context between steps of process. Data is asynchronously shared between steps of process at runtime. Mapping of context between steps is a crucial task.
  • CAF GP is capable of maintaining versions of changes in business process internally.
  • Capable to integrate diverse applications/components into workflows. E.g. Java WebDynpro, Visual Composer, ABAP object, Web Service, Adobe Interactive Forms, Email Alerts/Notifications are to name a few
  • If specifically Java WebDynpro components need to develop for workflows, CAF GP API’s are required. Respective NetWeaver studio needs to be configured on each client.
  • Robust security assignment at step and process level. API support to access security via coding in Java WD components.
  • Tasks delegation and forwarding is not possible in CAF.
  • Allow tasks to carry attachments.
  • Business Rules Integration is not possible natively within CAF.
  • CAF GP contains capability of integration with UWL (Universal Worklist).

SAP BPM (Business Process Management)

  • SAP BPM provides very user friendly designer with drags and drop functionality to design a business process much faster. Comes with Palette containing rich set of tools to help in flexible and robust design.
  • Business user can design a business process in SAP BPM with basic knowledge about tool.
  • Business Processes are easy to maintain via SAP BPM. New steps can be added, removed very easily.
  • SAP BPM is capable to handle large context data handled by BPM asynchronously at runtime. Maintaining process context was never so easy.
  • SAP BPM maintains versions of changes in business process internally.
  • BPM provides capability to integrate Java WebDynpro, Visual Composer components, Web Services and Email Alerts/Notifications. It is not compatible to integrate ABAP WebDynpro components as of now.
  • Standard Java WebDynpro components can be used in BPM without any additional API requirement.
  • Good security at step and swim-lane level with flexibility to manage users efficiently.
  • Tasks delegation and forwarding is possible in BPM. User can define rules for forwarding and delegations.
  • Allow tasks to carry attachments and notes.
  • Compatibility for BRM integration provides it cutting edge over other technologies. BPM project provides internal BRM design and development space.
  • BPM processes are handled in Universal Worklist by default.

Considering the flexibility, security, good designing and better end user experience make this technology my favorite for business process designing. Hence my vote for selecting a technology for business process designing goes to SAP BPM. SAP is enhancing the SAP BPM and SAP BRM experience with SAP NetWeaver 7.2 release.

Need Help:
In case you need assistance on SAP BPM implementation, please contact us. Please send us your questions, comments or assistance request, and our team would be glad to assist you.

By Sareeka Bangar (on behalf of SAP Consulting Team)

SAP :: Streamlined

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