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InBuilding the Bridge – Part II, I talked about business creating their own path to ESA with IT Practices.  Now, we get a little deeper into the implementation of IT Practices with IT Scenarios…

Part III – IT Scenarios and Variants

Earlier, I have related IT Practices to selecting a food style (like picking Mexican food from the many available food types). After picking your style of food, though, recipes and ingredients are eventually needed to prepare (implement) the food style.  Let’s first go back to the business processes.  Process users do not care about the actual technical construction of a business process – the underlying technology and systems that support a process are irrelevant to users as long as the processes work.  To put it another way, most eaters do not care and are not aware of exactly how the meal is prepared (unless they are watching Iron Chef or Emeril) just as long as it tastes good.  So, we need to provide a menu to the business user that allows them to order the IT processes that deliver a complete and satisfying meal.  The menu will then direct those preparing the meal exactly what (processes) to provide.  IT Scenarios are the next part of the bridge that helps provide the menu to the business.

An IT Scenario is a set of IT processes grouped to attain a defined business goal.  IT Scenarios target the business of IT, helping the technical side of the business provide the promised agility of ESA.  IT Scenarios help you more quickly and easily develop applications, integrate information, evolve a system landscape into a services-based architecture and so on.  IT Scenarios break down the IT Practices, allowing an incremental approach to implementing SAP NetWeaver functionality.  Very importantly, SAP is aligning our entire information rollout into IT Scenario groupings.  IT Scenarios replace the previous “component” view of SAP NetWeaver and all product information will be rolled out based on IT Scenarios.

What’s that?  Replaces the component view?  More on that later…

Within SAP NetWeaver, this produces the Technology Map.  The business can use the Technology Map like a menu to help define their roadmap to ESA. 

Now we get to the good part…pepperoni pizza!  (I told you we were fond of food.)  Each IT Scenario contains IT Scenario Variants.  This is the more granular part of the business process.  Specifically, an IT Scenario Variant is an ordered sequence of processes, showing a specific end-to-end process flow of an IT Scenario that

  • Facilitates the implementation of an IT Scenario for a particular purpose
  • Provides implementation guidance with the help of reference models
  • Provide visualization of end-to-end processes

IT Scenario variants are the actual “steps” to implement a part of an IT Scenario.  Variants are not only developed by SAP, but also by partner organizations and ISVs.  Scenario variants are also release dependent (unlike IT Scenarios themselves).  To steal the food analogy again, if IT Scenarios are the general “dish”, then Variants are specific versions of the recipe – like pepperoni pizza is a variant of a pizza “dish”.

Let’s take a specific example to illustrate all of the new terms.  User Productivity Enablement is an IT Practice.  Within this IT Practice are the IT Scenarios Running an Enterprise Portal, Enabling User Collaboration, Business Task Management, Mobilizing Business Processes and Enterprise Knowledge Management (also note that IT Scenarios can be assigned to multiple IT Practices).  Within a particular IT Scenario, “Mobilizing Business Processes” for example, are IT Scenario Variants, Running Mobile Applications with an Online Connection and Enabling Mobile Applications for Occasional Connection.  The business, then, looking to achieve better user productivity for their sales force in the field through mobile devices would take a look at this “menu” and eventually drill-down to Enabling Mobile Applications for Occasional Connection.  This scenario variant will then direct IT what (software) to implement.

Building the Bridge – Part IV…food courts, the disappearing components and completing the bridge with Usage Types…

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