Unlocking the Future of Document Flow Management: A Deep Dive into Innovative Solutions
In the era of seamless collaboration, effective document management is paramount. This article explores the cutting-edge integration of Adaptive Cards as an intelligent interface within Microsoft Teams, revolutionizing the way we handle document flow. Coupled with a trusted Single Sign-On (SSO) mechanism, this solution not only enhances user experience but also sets a new standard for efficiency and security in collaborative environments. Join us on a journey into the intersection of technology and teamwork, where Adaptive Cards pave the way for a more intuitive and streamlined document management process. Find the full article at SAP blogs Enhancing Operational Efficiency in Management of Subscription Order Document Flow and join us on a journey into the intersection of technology and teamwork, where Adaptive Cards pave the way for a more intuitive and streamlined document management process.
Business users faced significant challenges in tracking the subscription orders document flow. With multiple systems involved, they had to cope with the everyday challenge of finding all the relevant documents including billable items, convergent invoices, posting documents, purchase orders, contracts, billing plans and source documents. This tedious process required navigating through numerous SAP transactions and Fiori applications which often resulted in inefficiencies and errors. However, with the implementation of modern technological solution based on the adaptive cards intelligent interface in MS Teams connected with the trusted SSO to SAP S/4HANA system, it was made instantly possible to effortlessly obtain a comprehensive and accurate list of documents by simply entering any relevant document number or its part, or applying other filters.
Business users were really struggling through in order to find a relevant document as there was no central list containing the entire Subscription Orders Management (SOM) documents flow. For example, if the user had the subscription document number, or only external system document number (source document), they had to use several SAP transactions and Fiori applications to be able to add the posting document number. It should be additionally noted that not every business user had access to execute SAP transactions. Let us see step by step how it was carried out:
First, the user had to search in Fiori Application of Billable Items. To do so, the SOM order number was required.
Next, the user had to copy the invoicing document number and refer to another Fiori application of Invoicing Documents.
And only after searching through numerous applications and taking at least 10 steps, the user had a chance to get the necessary posting document number. Not to mention other cases in our example, for example, when the user wanted to get the entire relevant documents list or had an external document number as their input.
Given the above-described pains of our client, we set the following business objectives to help the company address the challenge
- To implement an intuitive interface and powerful search capabilities
- To eliminate the necessity to navigate through multiple Fiori applications and SAP transactions.
- To ensure accuracy and minimize risks of errors or omissions in the document flow tracking.
- To provide a high level of security and user friendliness.
This resulted in the following solution
One of the most up-to-date and convenient methods for interacting with the information within chat interfaces is using adaptive cards. Employing adaptive cards does not only ensure a clear and user-friendly interface but also allows presenting a wide variety of attributes and details in a compact and organized way.
At its core, an adaptive card is a versatile and interactive UI component that adapts to the platform it’s displayed on. This means that the same card can seamlessly adjust its layout and appearance to fit the user’s device, whether it’s a desktop computer, a mobile phone, or a messaging app like Microsoft Teams.
Designing adaptive cards begins with defining the card’s structure and mockup creation in the native constructor.
Filling the adaptive card with data occurs in the ABAP RIK class which is called using the Central OData service available after installation of SAP certified Skybuffer IDD add-on.
So what happens in the ABAP RIK class? First, there is a user authorization check taking place to make sure that access is only granted to the user with sufficient access to the SAP object. Also, the language is set to support multilingual processing. Thereafter all the data to be displayed is processed and prepared, and a special method to prepare the adaptive card is called.
To enable easy access to all required documents from a single location, Microsoft Teams messenger is connected.
It is highly secure and connectable to SAP using SSO to get the order details from SAP S/4HANA system, so only authorized users can get the appropriate data.
To ensure the development to be stable, controlled, secure and fast, we use a facilitator that includes a Central OData Service with the built-in single sign-on support from Azure and a set of SDK skill classes.
As a result, already in the first step, the user receives the entire SOM order document flow by simply pressing a button in MS Teams and inputting the SOM order number or its part (the search feature allows retrieving documents by entering any relevant document number or its part, using the filters of date, sales organization, etc).
In the second step, the user can see the main details of any linked document directly in MS Teams by simply clicking on the desired document.
If the user needs to open this document in the application, they can just click on the link, and it will open directly in the Fiori App, that is, no additional search is required.
With the implementation of the adaptive cards interface in MS Teams with the SSO based integration to S4HANA facilitated by Skybuffer IDD add-on middleware, a comprehensive and correct list of documents associated with subscription orders can be obtained effortlessly. Implementation of the adaptive cards interface to SAP can save time, improve accuracy and enhance productivity, thus allowing the client to focus on core business activities.
The approach described above made it possible to simplify the process of working with documents, bypassing the need to enter multiple transactions in SAP, while providing not only convenience for users, but also a high level of security.