In October 2003, SAP and IDS Scheer made a joint press release announcing a strategic partnership for building next generation Business Process Management (BPM). This will cover the whole lifecycle of business processes, including design/modeling, configuration, execution, monitoring and analysis.
With the introduction of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and other solutions, such as Supply Chain Management (SCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and others from many vendors, we have a suite of business execution systems available to help customers. In the mean time, we have some vendors like IDS Scheer to help customers analyze their business processes using the Architecture of Integrated Information System (ARIS) modeling tool set. In most cases, the business analysts use business process model tools, and IT people work on technical details of execution systems. They are disconnected. For example, during R/3 implementation, a customer usually models the business process first by drawing a lot of diagrams, then goes to R/3’s Implementation Guide (IMG) to configure the system so that they can reflect the workflow described in the diagrams. There is no way to translate business process model into R/3 directly. One major reason is that modeling software and execution software do not talk with each other. Another reason is that business people and technical people do not speak the same language, one is talking about process from a business perspective, while other one is talking about technical details of the software. The consequence is that after the system implementation, any future changes in business process will meet resistance from IT side, since there might be a ripple effect to all the systems in the landscape. This prevents business from being flexible in responding to fast changing markets.
To improve the aforementioned disconnection situation, SAP and IDS Scheer plan to join forces and fill this gap between business process modeling and business process execution. As the first step for year 2004, we plan to releaseARIS for SAP NetWeaver to link/integrate ARIS Web Designer with SAP products, such as Solution Manager and Exchange Infrastructure. The business process model created in ARIS can be imported into SAP applications, and vice versa. Next, we will co-develop a Unified BPM. This product will cover the whole lifecycle of business processes using consistent modeling and execution tools stored in a shared repository. The details of Unified BPM will be discussed in a separate BLOG.