Business scenario

A trading company sells a steadily growing assortment of articles. Almost daily, new articles are created as the material master in SAP. The process of material master maintainance is subject to a certain workflow pattern, where several employees successively enrich the material master with more and more data.

Initial situation

An employee picks certain characteristics of a new article into an Excel sheet and creates some basic data for the material. The new SAP material number is transferred to the Excel sheet. The employee sends the Excel sheet to the product manager.

The product manager completes the material with the following informations:

  • Purchase price,
  • Sales price,
  • Discount,
  • Supplier,
  • Indicator of goods receipt.

The product manager sends the completed Excel sheet back to the responsible employee for the material master. The employee now completes the following information in SAP:

  • Adding all the necessary views to the material master,
  • Create further sales organization and accounting views,
  • Create the sales price as a condition in the SD module,
  • Create discounts as a condition in the SD module,
  • Create info record in Purchasing department.

New business process with an SAP Interactive Form by Adobe

The tasks were split between two developers. A developer primarily was responsible for the ABAP programming in SAP, the other developer created the Adobe interactive form. The developments were executed in close cooperation with the project manager, the responsible keyuser and the pilot users.

The following three modules were realized.

  • Module 1: Create a dialog transaction for capturing the mini-material master and create the Adobe interactive form

    A dialog program has been created in the SAP system in which the agent for the material master can create a mini material master with some basic data for a new material. The following sequence logic was implemented when the material master was saved:

    • Read the material master
    • Determine the suggested values ​​for the form
    • Filling the allowed value of the input fields in the form
    • Generate the Adobe Interactive Form
    • Send the form to the product manager by email
  • Module 2: Creating the Adobe Interactive Form with the Adobe Lifecycle Designer

    The form contains the following functionality:

    • Allowed values ​​for input fields,
    • Show or hide specific sections and fields in the form,
    • Check the entered data for consistency and plausibility,
    • Send the completed form to the SAP Web Application Server
      Zulässige Wertevorräte für Eingabefelder
  • Module 3: Unpack and process the Adobe interactive form

    SAP has provided a method in its email inbox to respond to incoming emails. At this point, a global class is called that performs the following actions:

    • Unpack the variables of the Adobe Interactive Form by calling Adobe Document Services,
    • Update the material master with Adobe Interactive Form data,
    • Create an info record with prices,
    • Create prices in SD,
    • Create a log of all executed actions.

Developments for the process presented

After a careful analysis of the actual situation, a fundamental re-design of the business process took place.

The following process steps were implemented.

  • Step 1: Employee creates a mini-material master in SAP

    The employee goes into a specially programmed dialog transaction for the initial creation of the material master. There he enters some basic data and saves the process. Now a material master is automatically created for the new article. Furthermore, an Adobe Interactive Form is generated and sent to the product manager.

  • Step 2: The Product manager completes the material master in the PDF form

    The Adobe Interactive Form contains a well-defined set of data to make it easy, accurate and efficient for the product manager to capture data.

    • The input fields contain a permissible value set.
    • The input fields are checked interactively for plausibility.

    When the Adobe Interactive Forms is completed, the product manager presses the “Send” button and the application report is sent to the SAP system as an email.

  • Step 3: Process the finished PDF form automatically

    The Adobe Interactive Form is now unpacked in the email inbox of the SAP system, and an ABAP program now starts a certain sequence of actions, which are:

    • Add additional views to the material master,
    • Copy the material master to other sales organizations and offices,
    • Create sales price in SD,
    • Create discounts as a condition in SD,
    • Create an info record in MM,
    • Log any action with possible error messages.


The project objectives have been achieved in all respects. The following results were obtained in detail:

  • The process for creating a material master was significantly accelerated.
  • Incorrect and incomplete detection of the material master data could be almost completely eliminated.
  • Although the product manager does not have SAP access, the data collection is subject to the SAP check rules. His inputs can be processed directly in SAP and do not need to be copied manually in the SAP by an administrator.
  • Prices and purchasing conditions are immediately available in the processes of purchasing and sales.

Related topics

I’d like to learn more about SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe.