A standard role is an object used by SAP Business Workflow to determine the agent or agents of a work item in workflow. Roles enable you to route work directly to a specific person, or persons, in your company.
You use roles to specify an agent for a work item when the set of possible agents of the task is too large, or not specific enough. By helping to assign work items to organizationally relevant employees, roles ensure that responsibilities or authorities are regulated and bottlenecks are avoided.
You may want to send Mr. Smith’s absence approval request to his manager. Approving absence requests is a task of all managers, but you do not want every manager in your company to receive Mr. Smith’s request. Roles allow you to evaluate the organizational structure at runtime by looking at the different relationships. They ascertain that Ms. Miller is Mr. Smith’s manager. The task is then sent to Ms. Miller only.
The agent of a role is not necessarily a user. Any of the Organizational Management objects can be the agent of a role.
Workflow uses the values in the role container to select a subset of the possible agents. As a result, the role resolution - which takes place at runtime to ascertain the agent of a workflow step - is intelligent, efficient and flexible.
There are a number of ways to define roles. You can use:
Use a function module to define standard roles if you have very complex selection criteria for finding the agent of a task. If you define roles this way, the system finds the possible agents of a task by running the function. How the information is obtained varies from function to function. You may use predefined functions, or create your own.
Use organization data to define standard roles if you rely on your organizational model to guide your business processes. If you define roles this way, role resolution traces the possible agents of a task via the relationships between the task, the Organizational Management objects, and SAP Organizational Objects.
Use responsibilities to define standard roles if you require narrow (and/or multiple) selection criteria for finding agents, but prefer to use a more straightforward method than function modules. You can also use the organizational model to trace possible agents, via jobs, positions, and so on. Responsibilities are a flexible tool, aimed at ease-of-use.
All three offer various advantages, but using responsibilities is preferable since you do not need to use ABAP coding and you can easily view (and reassign) agent assignments. You can also define any number of criteria at a role, even if you decide to use only some of these at the responsibilities.
The standard role transaction is vital to SAP Business Workflow if you intend to use role resolution as a means to find possible agents of workflow tasks. The transaction is part of the Organizational Management component. SAP Business Workflow uses the organizational structure you create in Organizational Management as information for role resolution (deciding which tasks must be sent to which agents) at runtime.