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How does this relate to the role of Business Process Expert? – Part 2/2

In the first part of this blog I described the role of a business analyst using ARIS for NetWeaver. I also made references to the new role of the Business Process Expert (BPX) without clearly defining it. – In part 2 of this blog I would like to explain the BPX role in detail. I will start out with defining the skill set; then I will explain how to develop or recruit the right people; finally, I will differentiate the BPX from other key IT or business roles. And so you know from the get go, I don’t think there is only one career path or entry point to this role. Due to the variety of skills needed, any applicant will bring some of them and will need to build others.

Business Process Expert skill set

As I promoted the use of pictures and diagrams before, let me start with a model of the Business Process Expert role. Below, you can see the skills (next to the triangle and in the donut) and behaviors (in the yellow arrows) of the BPX. They will be discussed in the next paragraphs. – Please be aware that this is my own definition and I did not 100% cross reference this with the official SAP definitions; after all, this is a blog, and therefore reflects my own experiences and opinions … and hopefully yours too 😉

image

Balanced core skills in the triangle Next to the sides of the triangle, you see the core skills needed by the BPX. They are:

  • business skills,
  • technical skills and
  • project management skills.

Of these three, the business skills are the most instrumental to the success of the BPX. And why is that? It is because the end product of the BPXs work – the business process – will be the measure for success. In the world of composite applications with SAP NetWeaver, the technical implementation is transparent to the end user and therefore all that matters is meeting the business requirements in a streamlined fashion! All three core skills are dependent on the company the BPX works for: business processes are specific to the company, project management methodology may be standardized at a company, and the deployed technical solutions may be different from place to place too. Hence, the BPX needs to understand the environment he/she is working in and acquire the right company specific flavor of these core skills. While the BPX does not need to excel in each of the three core areas, the person needs to have a well balanced mix of the three. If not, the triangle will fall over to one side or the other and he/she will not be successful! Interaction skills in the donut The second layer of skills, shown in the donut surrounding the core skills, is what I call interaction skills. Key ones are:

  • facilitation skills,
  • collaboration skills,
  • adaptability and
  • method and tool knowledge.

Interaction skills are of softer nature than the core skills and are mostly independent of the company situation. They are more tied to the character and behaviors of the individual. And while interaction skills are tied to the individual, they need to be adjusted and adapted to the corporate culture of the BPX’s company or of the partners he/she is working with. Successful interactions are not only positive and professional, they also need to be productive. This is where the method and tool knowledge comes into place (discussed in part one of the blog -> click here). Even though the interaction skills are of softer nature than the core skills, both skill groups need to exist, again in a balanced fashion. Only through successful interactions, the BPX will be able to use and apply all his great core skills. After all, he is tasked to build and integrate complex end-to-end processes with stakeholders within and outside of his own company. Only a good communicator and collaborator – with the understanding of the process and technology – will be able to do this. Look at the diagram: Interaction skills are needed to ‘round out’ the Business Process Expert! Both core and interaction skills are the foundation for the key behaviors of the BPX. Key behaviors expressed to stakeholders The yellow arrows in the diagram above show the key visible behaviors of the BPX within and towards its environment. This environment consists of peers, team members, (project) management, project sponsors, business partners and so on. In short, all the stakeholders. It is important to recognize and understand these key behaviors. Unlike skills, they are normally more visible within the organization. Secondly, competence in behaviors is harder to train than competence in skills. So what does that mean? First, the behaviors help you to identify the right people for the job. Secondly, make sure that any candidate for the job of the BPX has shown some or all of these behaviors in the past. As I said, they are harder to train than the hard skills like knowledge about the Composite Application Framework (technology changes all the time anyways). And this leads us into the next section of how to develop or recruit people for the role.

Do Business Process Experts grow on trees?

Well, that would be nice. – Actually they are rather like weeds! They will or may have popped up somewhere in your organization and their activities may feel a little disruptive to you (weed analogy). This notion of disruption may be caused by their behavior: They challenge the status quo of doing business, have lots of ideas how to improve things and talk to everybody about their ideas. Yes, I agree, this can be disruptive since the organization has to run or support a business with constant day to day pressures and may not be prepared for these kinds of discussions. If you look at it from a different angle though, this probing and questioning kind of behavior can be very beneficial to your organization. If you recognize it as an asset and promote it as a desired behavior, all the energy can be focused in a positive direction on solving organizational and business process challenges. Hey, I think we just identified the first Business Process Expert within your organization! And you may still say this behavior is disruptive. Let me reiterate: if you recognize such a player and give him the right environment and playground, he/she will prosper and lead your organization in innovation. First, create the role of Business Process Expert and recognize the weeds as such. Secondly, make them part of your Enterprise SOA strategy and give them the Composite Application Framework as a playground for example. Let’s approach this from a more positive angle now Let’s assume you have worked with HR and have implemented the role of the Business Process Expert within your organization. Now you are trying to identify the right people from within or are trying to recruit from the outside. Also, you do not have any weeds. I recommend that you use the diagram above as your roadmap. Make sure to find people with the right balance of core and interaction skills. In case there are skill gaps, remember that nobody will bring them all, but core skills are easier to train than interaction skills. One exception, however, are business skills and savvy. Any candidate needs to have a good baseline in this area. But this baseline may be in a different business process than you are recruiting for (please read the first part of the blog if you would like this point elaborated -> click here). During the interview process, make abundant use of behavioral questions like the following:

  • Tell me about the biggest challenge you came across during a business process implementation? How did you overcome the challenge?
  • Tell me about a creative business process solution that you designed? What was creative about it?
  • What was the most diverse or distributed group of people you worked with? How did that feel and what did you learn?
  • Give me an example of when you felt any kind of resistance in an assignment: What caused the resistance and how did you overcome it?
  • How do you approach learning a new methodology or new technologies?
  • If I would observe you in a team meeting through a glass door, what visible behavior could I recognize you by?

Hopefully I was able to clearly explain the role of the BPX to you. As a last step, I will have a brief look how this role is different from other roles in business or IT.

How is the Business Process Expert different from other related roles?

A comparison of the BPX to other roles in business and IT will help in defining career paths within your organization and will further outline the role. A brief discussion of the Business Analyst, IT Architect, and Developer follows. Business Analyst The role of Business Analyst is probably the closest to the role of Business Process Expert. The key differentiator is the clearly more technical nature of the BPX. Hence, a Business Architect that used to play with configuration and tools all the time and shows the other capabilities needed for the BPX would be an excellent choice for the role. To get such a Business Analyst fully up to speed, assess his technical capabilities and fill in the holes with some targeted training in NetWeaver, Composite Application Framework or Visual Composer. Also assess all other skills needed per the diagram above. Make sure that you see the outlined behaviors like excitement and eagerness in the person. IT Architect In my opinion BPX and IT Architect are related roles with three key differences:

  1. Time horizon of work The Architect works in tactical to strategic assignments, hence looking 1 – 4 years ahead. The BPX works on operational to tactical assignments, hence looking several weeks to one year ahead.
  2. Level of technical versus business expertise While the BPX needs to be able to choose and apply the right tools and technologies from his toolbox to solving real business problems, the Architect has to define the set of tools in the box beforehand. In order to choose and standardize on these tools, a deeper technical understanding will be helpful. Understanding of the high and medium level business needs are still needed.
  3. Ability to successfully implement While an architect should have shown the ability to successfully implement projects in the past, it is no longer part of his role. The responsibility to implement the solution is with the project team and the Business Process Expert as a member of this team.

IT Architect and BPX are strongly related roles with an easy transition from one to the other. Some kind of rotation between the two roles would also help to keep IT architecture and strategy close to the business and vice versa. Developer The business application developer is focusing on the programmatic implementation of the business requirements within your application solution. One of his/her tools is a code based development environment. With NetWeaver 2004s, the Composite Application Framework and Visual Composer, his/her time coding will be reduced in comparison to the time composing. Still, developers will be deeply involved in technology and implement/compose complex scenarios. As such, this function is the deeper level technical extension of the BPX, however, with less time spent in interactions. Hence, a senior developer with solid business skills and good interaction skills may be a candidate for the BPX. But only if the person wants to. Since developers love technology, they may not like the more visible integrator type role of the BPX.

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107 Comments

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  1. James Guanzon
    hi swen – nice blog.  look forward to installment 2… i like the good ol’ “whiteboard” for business analysis/modeling  =P 
    cheers, 
    james
    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Thanks James!

      Yes, the good old whiteboard was a lot of fun … harder to do in the times of tele-conferences  🙁

      Later,
      Swen

      (0) 
  2. James Guanzon
    hi swen – nice blog.  look forward to installment 2… i like the good ol’ “whiteboard” for business analysis/modeling  =P 
    cheers, 
    james
    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Thanks James!

      Yes, the good old whiteboard was a lot of fun … harder to do in the times of tele-conferences  🙁

      Later,
      Swen

      (0) 
  3. James Guanzon
    hi swen – nice blog.  look forward to installment 2… i like the good ol’ “whiteboard” for business analysis/modeling  =P 
    cheers, 
    james
    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Thanks James!

      Yes, the good old whiteboard was a lot of fun … harder to do in the times of tele-conferences  🙁

      Later,
      Swen

      (0) 
  4. Anonymous
    “Business Analysts used to focus on one application like SAP R/3 before. Today, in SAP NetWeaver, they need to understand many more components, need to implement end-to-end processes that run across multiple systems and between your partners. “

    Hey Swen,

    Great blog!

    I really liked the above comment of yours. It really puts everything in perspective, where SAP is heading, how present-day consultants should prepare themselves for the future!

    Nikhil

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Nikhil,

      Thanks for your kind words! –
      Please read part two of this blog at /people/swen.conrad/blog/2006/06/01/business-analyst-133-aris-for-netweaver-133-business-process-expert-133

      Take care!
      Swen

      (0) 
  5. Anonymous
    “Business Analysts used to focus on one application like SAP R/3 before. Today, in SAP NetWeaver, they need to understand many more components, need to implement end-to-end processes that run across multiple systems and between your partners. “

    Hey Swen,

    Great blog!

    I really liked the above comment of yours. It really puts everything in perspective, where SAP is heading, how present-day consultants should prepare themselves for the future!

    Nikhil

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Nikhil,

      Thanks for your kind words! –
      Please read part two of this blog at /people/swen.conrad/blog/2006/06/01/business-analyst-133-aris-for-netweaver-133-business-process-expert-133

      Take care!
      Swen

      (0) 
  6. Anonymous
    “Business Analysts used to focus on one application like SAP R/3 before. Today, in SAP NetWeaver, they need to understand many more components, need to implement end-to-end processes that run across multiple systems and between your partners. “

    Hey Swen,

    Great blog!

    I really liked the above comment of yours. It really puts everything in perspective, where SAP is heading, how present-day consultants should prepare themselves for the future!

    Nikhil

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Nikhil,

      Thanks for your kind words! –
      Please read part two of this blog at /people/swen.conrad/blog/2006/06/01/business-analyst-133-aris-for-netweaver-133-business-process-expert-133

      Take care!
      Swen

      (0) 
  7. Hashir Ahmed
    Excellent explaination of BPX.

    How does a Developer transform himself into a BPX? Going to a Business School & doing MBA or is there another key to entering this career.

    (0) 
  8. Hashir Ahmed
    Excellent explaination of BPX.

    How does a Developer transform himself into a BPX? Going to a Business School & doing MBA or is there another key to entering this career.

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Simon,

      based on your comment, you may be one of the weeds?! Is that correct??? – Well, chin up, with outsourcing, global virtual teams, and Enterprise SOA, your role will significantly grow in importance over the next few years!

      I encourage you to join the BPX community and blog some of your own experiences if you have not done so yet.

      Take care,
      Swen

      (0) 
    2. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hashir,

      This is not an easy question, since it really depends on the individual and his/her experience. Let me try to make some generic comments:

      1 – Start with a self assessment per donut model; then ask some peers at work, friends, and family to assess you per the same criteria. Use the results to determine two things: a) what are your strength and weaknesses and b) how self aware are you; in other words, did your self-assessment result in the same strength and weaknesses as the assessment by the third party?

      2 – Develop a strategy for your career development to become a BPX. Most companies have extensive training offerings that will not cost too much of your managers budget and your time.

      3 – Work with your manager to get more exposure in business analysis type situations as part of your assignments.

      An MBO is of course a great investment. However, it is also one of the more expensive ones in regards to time and money. It will give you an excellent foundation to move into a BPX role. Still, do not solely rely on the MBO but rather try to round out your profile with as much practical related experience as possible.

      Two more things: You may want to consider is a certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the PMI Institute. This would be an excellent (academic) foundation for the BPX. Secondly, with speaking, convincing, and negotiating being so important in this role, practice this as much as you can, for example by joining the Toastmasters.

      Hope this helps and good luck!
      Swen

      (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Simon,

      based on your comment, you may be one of the weeds?! Is that correct??? – Well, chin up, with outsourcing, global virtual teams, and Enterprise SOA, your role will significantly grow in importance over the next few years!

      I encourage you to join the BPX community and blog some of your own experiences if you have not done so yet.

      Take care,
      Swen

      (0) 
    2. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hashir,

      This is not an easy question, since it really depends on the individual and his/her experience. Let me try to make some generic comments:

      1 – Start with a self assessment per donut model; then ask some peers at work, friends, and family to assess you per the same criteria. Use the results to determine two things: a) what are your strength and weaknesses and b) how self aware are you; in other words, did your self-assessment result in the same strength and weaknesses as the assessment by the third party?

      2 – Develop a strategy for your career development to become a BPX. Most companies have extensive training offerings that will not cost too much of your managers budget and your time.

      3 – Work with your manager to get more exposure in business analysis type situations as part of your assignments.

      An MBO is of course a great investment. However, it is also one of the more expensive ones in regards to time and money. It will give you an excellent foundation to move into a BPX role. Still, do not solely rely on the MBO but rather try to round out your profile with as much practical related experience as possible.

      Two more things: You may want to consider is a certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the PMI Institute. This would be an excellent (academic) foundation for the BPX. Secondly, with speaking, convincing, and negotiating being so important in this role, practice this as much as you can, for example by joining the Toastmasters.

      Hope this helps and good luck!
      Swen

      (0) 
  9. Raja JK Maduri
    I might sound stupid to ask you a question like this one Swen. But, hope you wouldn’t mind me for that. I am a graduate with a Master of Business Systems, who lost track of my work on SAP. I have had a unit, which introduced with the imaginary system in SAP, when I was in the school. But, the past five years have been away from any readings on SAP. I’ve been into managing a convenience store. But, I kinda wanted to make a move back to SAP and start working as a functional consultant. So would you please take the pain of making me start in SAP somewhere so that I can start picking up the concepts and then emerge as a functional consultant(if everything goes well). Just show me where to start. Hope you wouldn’t mind my exhaustive mail.

    Thanks in advance…..Hope you help me get back on track dude. Adios!!

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Raja,

      Sorry it took me so long to answer your question. I had to think about it first before writing back to you.

      Yes, get a job as a functional consultant to get the exposure and hands on with SAP. This is number one. While doing this and focusing on one area at first, try to venture out into related (and unrelated) areas to your job.

      Secondly, continue your reading, for example with the new book by Dan Woods and Thomas Mattern, Enterprise SOA – Designing IT for Business Innovation. You can either order it from the publisher’s website at http://www.oreilly.com or at http://www.amazon.com.

      Hope this helps and good luck with your career change!

      Swen

      (0) 
  10. Raja JK Maduri
    I might sound stupid to ask you a question like this one Swen. But, hope you wouldn’t mind me for that. I am a graduate with a Master of Business Systems, who lost track of my work on SAP. I have had a unit, which introduced with the imaginary system in SAP, when I was in the school. But, the past five years have been away from any readings on SAP. I’ve been into managing a convenience store. But, I kinda wanted to make a move back to SAP and start working as a functional consultant. So would you please take the pain of making me start in SAP somewhere so that I can start picking up the concepts and then emerge as a functional consultant(if everything goes well). Just show me where to start. Hope you wouldn’t mind my exhaustive mail.

    Thanks in advance…..Hope you help me get back on track dude. Adios!!

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Raja,

      Sorry it took me so long to answer your question. I had to think about it first before writing back to you.

      Yes, get a job as a functional consultant to get the exposure and hands on with SAP. This is number one. While doing this and focusing on one area at first, try to venture out into related (and unrelated) areas to your job.

      Secondly, continue your reading, for example with the new book by Dan Woods and Thomas Mattern, Enterprise SOA – Designing IT for Business Innovation. You can either order it from the publisher’s website at http://www.oreilly.com or at http://www.amazon.com.

      Hope this helps and good luck with your career change!

      Swen

      (0) 
  11. Raja JK Maduri
    I might sound stupid to ask you a question like this one Swen. But, hope you wouldn’t mind me for that. I am a graduate with a Master of Business Systems, who lost track of my work on SAP. I have had a unit, which introduced with the imaginary system in SAP, when I was in the school. But, the past five years have been away from any readings on SAP. I’ve been into managing a convenience store. But, I kinda wanted to make a move back to SAP and start working as a functional consultant. So would you please take the pain of making me start in SAP somewhere so that I can start picking up the concepts and then emerge as a functional consultant(if everything goes well). Just show me where to start. Hope you wouldn’t mind my exhaustive mail.

    Thanks in advance…..Hope you help me get back on track dude. Adios!!

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Raja,

      Sorry it took me so long to answer your question. I had to think about it first before writing back to you.

      Yes, get a job as a functional consultant to get the exposure and hands on with SAP. This is number one. While doing this and focusing on one area at first, try to venture out into related (and unrelated) areas to your job.

      Secondly, continue your reading, for example with the new book by Dan Woods and Thomas Mattern, Enterprise SOA – Designing IT for Business Innovation. You can either order it from the publisher’s website at http://www.oreilly.com or at http://www.amazon.com.

      Hope this helps and good luck with your career change!

      Swen

      (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      lol … well, yes, that is maybe not an official term (yet). It stands for end-2-end … and the copyright is a good idea!

      s

      (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      lol … well, yes, that is maybe not an official term (yet). It stands for end-2-end … and the copyright is a good idea!

      s

      (0) 
  12. Mark Yolton
    Thank you, Swen, for this thorough and thoughtful blog — complete with triangles and donuts diagram.  Your thoughts and experience will help enlighten all of us. 

    Mark Y.

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for the compliment! – I enjoyed writing the blogs and am satisfied about the positive resonance! I is a lot of fun to share one’s experience, especially if there is such an interest for it.

      Cheers,
      Swen

      (0) 
  13. Mark Yolton
    Thank you, Swen, for this thorough and thoughtful blog — complete with triangles and donuts diagram.  Your thoughts and experience will help enlighten all of us. 

    Mark Y.

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for the compliment! – I enjoyed writing the blogs and am satisfied about the positive resonance! I is a lot of fun to share one’s experience, especially if there is such an interest for it.

      Cheers,
      Swen

      (0) 
  14. Anonymous
    Swen,

    I really liked your article and have seen the value of the ARIS Toolset in many different SAP implementation projects myself over the years.

    I have a question for you – is SAP planning to deeply integrate process models into NetWeaver so that the configuration of processes, process scenarios or varying process flavors can be automated based on its business context? – In other words, will NetWaever be smart enough to connect me to a supplier ASN process (living on NetWeaver or elsewhere) once I place an order with that supplier? If you are planning to offer that capability down the road, wouldn’t ARIS be a natural choice for an appropriate tool? Any insights are appreciated. Thanks!

    Chris Hanebeck (hhanebeck@globeranger.com)

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Chris,

      Excellent vision about the automatic connection of partner processes. Definitely a vision today, but absolutely the goal!

      I can tell you a little bit about our future roadmap around ARIS and NetWeaver. As you know, we already have a strong integration to ARIS from several of our tools. One is SAP’s Solution Manager where you can synchronize process models from Solman to ARIS and return. Secondly, we have an integration between ARIS and Exchange Infrastructure for the exchange of BPEL models.

      With the next major release of NetWeaver, we will offer a much tighter integration between ARIS and NetWeaver. Unfortunately, I am not able to elaborate further.

      As I said before, I like your vision of automatically connecting partner processes, like plug and play. Unfortunately, we and the industry are not quite there yet. But we are closely watching the whole topic of the Semantic Web with standards like RDF (Resource Description Framework) and OWL (Web Ontology Language).

      Thanks for your feedback,
      Swen

      (0) 
  15. Anonymous
    Swen,

    I really liked your article and have seen the value of the ARIS Toolset in many different SAP implementation projects myself over the years.

    I have a question for you – is SAP planning to deeply integrate process models into NetWeaver so that the configuration of processes, process scenarios or varying process flavors can be automated based on its business context? – In other words, will NetWaever be smart enough to connect me to a supplier ASN process (living on NetWeaver or elsewhere) once I place an order with that supplier? If you are planning to offer that capability down the road, wouldn’t ARIS be a natural choice for an appropriate tool? Any insights are appreciated. Thanks!

    Chris Hanebeck (hhanebeck@globeranger.com)

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Chris,

      Excellent vision about the automatic connection of partner processes. Definitely a vision today, but absolutely the goal!

      I can tell you a little bit about our future roadmap around ARIS and NetWeaver. As you know, we already have a strong integration to ARIS from several of our tools. One is SAP’s Solution Manager where you can synchronize process models from Solman to ARIS and return. Secondly, we have an integration between ARIS and Exchange Infrastructure for the exchange of BPEL models.

      With the next major release of NetWeaver, we will offer a much tighter integration between ARIS and NetWeaver. Unfortunately, I am not able to elaborate further.

      As I said before, I like your vision of automatically connecting partner processes, like plug and play. Unfortunately, we and the industry are not quite there yet. But we are closely watching the whole topic of the Semantic Web with standards like RDF (Resource Description Framework) and OWL (Web Ontology Language).

      Thanks for your feedback,
      Swen

      (0) 
  16. Anonymous
    Swen,

    I really liked your article and have seen the value of the ARIS Toolset in many different SAP implementation projects myself over the years.

    I have a question for you – is SAP planning to deeply integrate process models into NetWeaver so that the configuration of processes, process scenarios or varying process flavors can be automated based on its business context? – In other words, will NetWaever be smart enough to connect me to a supplier ASN process (living on NetWeaver or elsewhere) once I place an order with that supplier? If you are planning to offer that capability down the road, wouldn’t ARIS be a natural choice for an appropriate tool? Any insights are appreciated. Thanks!

    Chris Hanebeck (hhanebeck@globeranger.com)

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Chris,

      Excellent vision about the automatic connection of partner processes. Definitely a vision today, but absolutely the goal!

      I can tell you a little bit about our future roadmap around ARIS and NetWeaver. As you know, we already have a strong integration to ARIS from several of our tools. One is SAP’s Solution Manager where you can synchronize process models from Solman to ARIS and return. Secondly, we have an integration between ARIS and Exchange Infrastructure for the exchange of BPEL models.

      With the next major release of NetWeaver, we will offer a much tighter integration between ARIS and NetWeaver. Unfortunately, I am not able to elaborate further.

      As I said before, I like your vision of automatically connecting partner processes, like plug and play. Unfortunately, we and the industry are not quite there yet. But we are closely watching the whole topic of the Semantic Web with standards like RDF (Resource Description Framework) and OWL (Web Ontology Language).

      Thanks for your feedback,
      Swen

      (0) 
  17. Anonymous
    Hi!

    Thanks for all the information on the Business Process expertise and how to go about it. While working with some existing customers who are planning to adopt Netweaver as their next generation IT infrastructure component, I felt the need for having an approach for acquiring the skills for becoming a NetWeaver Solution Architect which would essentially involve knowledge of more than one or ideally all the netweaver components at a high level to start with. Frequently the MDM team is unable to completely understand the requirements a BI team would have from an MDM system and it takes some time to get the two teams to work together. This is just on instance and there are several other situations where this is required.

    Anyone working on this?

    Thanks
    sudhendu

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Sudhendu,

      We, the NetWeaver Product Management Team, have recognized the need to approach our topics more in an interrelated fashion. Please expect more articles and blogs that look at NetWeaver components in an integrated fashion. – I plan to write something about MDM and XI myself.

      Swen

      (0) 
  18. Anonymous
    Hi!

    Thanks for all the information on the Business Process expertise and how to go about it. While working with some existing customers who are planning to adopt Netweaver as their next generation IT infrastructure component, I felt the need for having an approach for acquiring the skills for becoming a NetWeaver Solution Architect which would essentially involve knowledge of more than one or ideally all the netweaver components at a high level to start with. Frequently the MDM team is unable to completely understand the requirements a BI team would have from an MDM system and it takes some time to get the two teams to work together. This is just on instance and there are several other situations where this is required.

    Anyone working on this?

    Thanks
    sudhendu

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Sudhendu,

      We, the NetWeaver Product Management Team, have recognized the need to approach our topics more in an interrelated fashion. Please expect more articles and blogs that look at NetWeaver components in an integrated fashion. – I plan to write something about MDM and XI myself.

      Swen

      (0) 
  19. Anonymous
    Hi!

    Thanks for all the information on the Business Process expertise and how to go about it. While working with some existing customers who are planning to adopt Netweaver as their next generation IT infrastructure component, I felt the need for having an approach for acquiring the skills for becoming a NetWeaver Solution Architect which would essentially involve knowledge of more than one or ideally all the netweaver components at a high level to start with. Frequently the MDM team is unable to completely understand the requirements a BI team would have from an MDM system and it takes some time to get the two teams to work together. This is just on instance and there are several other situations where this is required.

    Anyone working on this?

    Thanks
    sudhendu

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Sudhendu,

      We, the NetWeaver Product Management Team, have recognized the need to approach our topics more in an interrelated fashion. Please expect more articles and blogs that look at NetWeaver components in an integrated fashion. – I plan to write something about MDM and XI myself.

      Swen

      (0) 
  20. Anonymous
    Hi Conrad,

    I’m currently a developer and relatively new to the world of SAP. Since I am basically an engineering-management student, I was very curious about the roles and character of a BPX – your blog has brought in a lot more clarity!

    Enjoyed reading both the blogs:)

    Sushumna

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Sushumna,

      Glad you enjoyed the blogs and this is encouragement for writing more on this topic, looking at it from different angles as well as talking about specific aspects as they relate to SAP software projects! – Stay tuned …

      Swen

      (0) 
  21. Anonymous
    Hi Conrad,

    I’m currently a developer and relatively new to the world of SAP. Since I am basically an engineering-management student, I was very curious about the roles and character of a BPX – your blog has brought in a lot more clarity!

    Enjoyed reading both the blogs:)

    Sushumna

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Sushumna,

      Glad you enjoyed the blogs and this is encouragement for writing more on this topic, looking at it from different angles as well as talking about specific aspects as they relate to SAP software projects! – Stay tuned …

      Swen

      (0) 
  22. Nathan Laskey
    Swen, good description of the role. Are you able ot communicate the success criteria of good BPX? In other words, what type of indicators does a BPX track to measure their own success. I’m assuming there is a time / quality component but any more detailed ideas? I am in the process of attempting to define this role and ramp up capabilities and knowledge needed. Kind regards – Nathan
    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Nathan,

      Hhhmmmm, how do you measure success, good question?!

      I wish there was an easy and direct answer, but I am not sure I have one. Still, here are some thoughts:

      BPXs are type A people. As part of the yearly MBO process (I assume you have one), have them define their activities and goals for the year themselves. These activities should either be related to a project (more specific and more measurable) as well as to the organization as a whole (more generic activities, harder to measure). An example for the latter category is to evangelize the concept of Enterprise SOA within the organization. If you like, you can set goals of how many knowledge sharing activities need to take place. However, such granular management may rather de-motivate than motivate the type person you are trying to recruit for this job.

      Was this any help? Where do you stand in implementing this role? I like to hear more about this!

      Swen

      swen.conrad@sap.com

      (0) 
      1. Nathan Laskey
        It tells me there is still work to do there : ) I tend to feel we need to ‘eat our own dogfood’ Map our own internal processes and attach metrics to those and measure success quantitaitvely(sp). The evangilism is a good point and we have now influence our stakeholder to prioritize by process rather than project. Whats’ you take on Intalio ( open source BPMS )

        thanks – nathan.r.laskey@intel.com

        (0) 
        1. Swen Conrad Post author
          Excellent and obvious approach to tie performance measurement to the actual process improvement! Only caveat is that the overall
          process owner in the business unit needs to have aligned goals with the BPX. If not, he may not sponsor the BPX to improve his process in case
          of different priorities and goals.

          Yes, I am aware of Intalio and like it. – BPMN is a strong and evolving standard and it has a defined conversion to BPEL. On the other
          hand, Intalio, as ARIS, is only a tool with similar functionality to ARIS. Hence, I am leaning to the tool that fits best with the rest of my toolbox.
          With our roadmap of strong ARIS integration into SAP NetWeaver, I am heavily leaning to the best of suite and not the best of breed approach.

          My advise is to keep the set of tools to a minimum and choose the ones that are natively integrated. For Business Process Modeling and Management,
          this is the ARIS Toolset from IDS Scheer.

          Good luck with your endeavors and keep me in the loop of your progress!

          Swen

          (0) 
  23. Nathan Laskey
    Swen, good description of the role. Are you able ot communicate the success criteria of good BPX? In other words, what type of indicators does a BPX track to measure their own success. I’m assuming there is a time / quality component but any more detailed ideas? I am in the process of attempting to define this role and ramp up capabilities and knowledge needed. Kind regards – Nathan
    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Nathan,

      Hhhmmmm, how do you measure success, good question?!

      I wish there was an easy and direct answer, but I am not sure I have one. Still, here are some thoughts:

      BPXs are type A people. As part of the yearly MBO process (I assume you have one), have them define their activities and goals for the year themselves. These activities should either be related to a project (more specific and more measurable) as well as to the organization as a whole (more generic activities, harder to measure). An example for the latter category is to evangelize the concept of Enterprise SOA within the organization. If you like, you can set goals of how many knowledge sharing activities need to take place. However, such granular management may rather de-motivate than motivate the type person you are trying to recruit for this job.

      Was this any help? Where do you stand in implementing this role? I like to hear more about this!

      Swen

      swen.conrad@sap.com

      (0) 
      1. Nathan Laskey
        It tells me there is still work to do there : ) I tend to feel we need to ‘eat our own dogfood’ Map our own internal processes and attach metrics to those and measure success quantitaitvely(sp). The evangilism is a good point and we have now influence our stakeholder to prioritize by process rather than project. Whats’ you take on Intalio ( open source BPMS )

        thanks – nathan.r.laskey@intel.com

        (0) 
        1. Swen Conrad Post author
          Excellent and obvious approach to tie performance measurement to the actual process improvement! Only caveat is that the overall
          process owner in the business unit needs to have aligned goals with the BPX. If not, he may not sponsor the BPX to improve his process in case
          of different priorities and goals.

          Yes, I am aware of Intalio and like it. – BPMN is a strong and evolving standard and it has a defined conversion to BPEL. On the other
          hand, Intalio, as ARIS, is only a tool with similar functionality to ARIS. Hence, I am leaning to the tool that fits best with the rest of my toolbox.
          With our roadmap of strong ARIS integration into SAP NetWeaver, I am heavily leaning to the best of suite and not the best of breed approach.

          My advise is to keep the set of tools to a minimum and choose the ones that are natively integrated. For Business Process Modeling and Management,
          this is the ARIS Toolset from IDS Scheer.

          Good luck with your endeavors and keep me in the loop of your progress!

          Swen

          (0) 
  24. Paul Wilson
    Hi,

    BPX should have enough understanding of the system changes and how they will impact business with what degree of risk. If the impact is at first not beneficial for data workers, the BPX should attempt to identify areas within the configuarion parameters of the new system/upgrade where benefits can be developed.

    This will assist in achieving at least some degree of buy-in without taking a heavy-handed sponsor drive.

    Your description of a BPX is great and it would be nice to see a flavour of change management in your donut. In my view, organisational change management specialist will work with the BPX in order to present a Business Transformation solution which has maximum benefit and manageable risks.

    The biggest responsibility for the BPX is changing people’s idea that SAP is the solution…A Business Transformation is the solution, the BPX needs to deliver that.

    Regards,
    Paul

    (0) 
    1. Guido Brune
      Hello,

      for me the job description look to me that you
      are in search of “eierlegende Vollmilchsau/-schein(German) or X-Man/Woman” as human being.

      Having a expert in IT & business plus business
      transformation skill / mind set will deliver what IT has promises for decades.

      Should/Can these profile fulfilled be one person?

      Regards & Thanks & All the best,

      Guido 

      (0) 
      1. Swen Conrad Post author
        Guido,

        Well, yes, that is kind of what it is. I think “die eierlegende Wollmilchsau” – the x-Man/Woman is the one to survive the time of outsourcing. More and more, focused and well defined development tasks are moved to other parts of the world. What will stay behind are the people that can coordinate all the distributed specialists, can pull together the requirements and roll-out the results.

        To your point: The role of BPX is quite big, and this will attract a certain group of people to this job. The BPX is never bored, there is always something new to explore and figure out! – Yes, we are looking for ‘Jacks of all trades’, but they may be ‘masters of none’.

        You may have heard about a trend away from the pure business degrees towards mixed degrees of business and engineering. This may be a technical MBA or an industrial engineering degree. Those types of degrees are the perfect starting point for a BPX or any kind of person that has to interact and facilitate between technical people and business people.

        Thanks for your comments,
        Swen

        (0) 
        1. Guido Brune
          Swen,

          just some points:

          + On CeBIT I meet a chinese business man who
            said that outsourcing or whatever you call it
            is not about cost cutting it is also about
            improving business.
            Interessing statement where one’s thought about
            China as the new Jerusalem of IT cost cutting.
          + Does outsourcing fulfill our expection?
          + I personally convinced that a strong team
            of average busines analyst, application
            consultant and developer/architect will beat
            every X-Man/Woman out there.
            As you might know there is currently a
            competiton on the way where eleven human beings
            plus audience apply for world championship.

          All the best,

          Guido 

          (0) 
          1. Swen Conrad Post author
            Guido,

            With outsourcing, we are starting a huge separate discussion here. I made some personal experiences working with several Eastern countries and – as described in the BPX – communication skill, tact, and intercultural understanding are key.

            Please accept that I am not trying to argue with you. Yes, the list of requirements for the BPX is long. It is best achieved when started early during the college education. – Lastly, business analysts are excellent resources, and many of them may be able to transition into the BPX world. Still, I am trying to promote the generalist over the specialist.

            Lastly, I am predicting that the winner of this Fussball Worldcup is not going to be an average team; still, only a team can win!

            Swen

            (0) 
            1. Guido Brune
              Swen,

              I’m talking about a strong team of average human beings, beating a clique of X-Men/Women!

              Time will bring the answer.

              Take care & All the best,

              Guido

              (0) 
        2. Anonymous
          Hello Swen,

          I am working as a BASIS consultant since the past 2 years (first job) & have got lot of exposure in R/3 Enterprise 4.7 & currently working on Netweaver system.
          I want to move out of BASIS & work more closely with the business aspect of SAP where my technical experience could be of use also. That is how I decided to try BPX as a career but have no idea how/where to start & what are the options for a BASIS consultant to move into BPC.

          I am even more convinced about BPX as my career move after reading this:
          “….a trend away from the pure business degrees towards mixed degrees of business and engineering. This may be a technical MBA or an industrial engineering degree. Those types of degrees are the perfect starting point for a BPX….”
          I have done MBA in IT management.

          Please suggest a possible path towards or starting point for becoming a BPX (considering my Tech Expr.)

          Thanks & regards,

          Roshan.

          (0) 
          1. Swen Conrad Post author
            Hi Roshan,

            Not to discourage you, but it will take a lot of persistence on your end to make this transition due to the very technical nature of Basis. However, I totally believe it is possible, however, it may take some time.

            Career transitions are always easiest within the company you are working in, especially if you excel at your current job and have good supporters around you (your manager, peers or the entire management team). Try to work with your current manager to be part of a business implementation or transformation project. Define the assignment in a way that you can contribute with your current skill (for example via maintaining a set of sandboxes for the team). Within the project take on additional responsibility that are more of a business nature. One idea would be defining and implementing access profiles for the new application or process. Here, you would naturally work with the Business Process Expert type people in the team and could learn from them during the overall project.

            Having access to the overall business system or process implementation team, it is now up to you to sell your skills and show your value add you can bring to the team. Having an MBA education with the technical background of Basis, I believe that you have huge potential to add value in ways that other people may not be able to. Find these areas and add the value and your career may be moving into a new direction very soon.

            Hope this helps and good luck with the transition.

            Cheers,
            Swen

            (0) 
            1. Anonymous
              Thanks a lot Swen, for the relevant, frank & positive opinion & suggestions.

              As far as reputation & support in current job is concerned, that part I have already taken care of. Now its just a matter of finding the right opportunity/project & then working my way through…..finally to destination BPX! 🙂

              Thanks again,
              Roshan.

              (0) 
      2. Paul Wilson
        Hi Guido,
        You can call me Wolverine… 😉

        I have been an organisational developement consultant, SQL 7 system developer, web-developer, SAP mm/pp team-lead, CRM & SEM project manager including business process analysis and a SAP Change Management Specialist.

        I only recently got married so as you can guess used to have a lot of spare time on my hands.

        Looking over the years and working out why SAP projects fail has been the reason for exploring and developing different skills.

        Making SAP projects work for Business Transformations has been my value-proposition for all SAP engagements. The most important  thing is, my intent is always to care for and grow stakeholders. This intent opens my eyes to a variety of factors which are not clearly understood in pure project mode.

        These factors are what makes us mutants.

        With Regards
        Paul

        (0) 
      3. Mark Frear
        Change management for me is all about taking people and process from current state to future state. Hence it really depends on where you are as most end states end in the generic arena of “best practises.”

        This needs to habitualise new practices. I suspect anyone reading this blog does not think that changing habits is easy! eg losing weight, stopping smoking working smarter etc etc. Likewise change management is the last bastion to overcome but it is hard.

        (0) 
    2. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Paul,

      Great comments and good point about the Change Management portion of a successful implementation. This definitely needs to be reflected better in the donut and I will take note for v2 😉

      I also like your point about business transformation at the end. You are right that the use of SAP or other software solutions is not the end goal, but only a means to transform and improve business and its processes.

      So here is my take in regards to the BPX and the organizational change management specialist:

      The strength of the BPX is that he is so universal and can take care of so many things; this helps to avoid hand offs. If you look at a change management specialist who may work in a team of change management specialists in parallel to the implementation team, we have a physical separation between two teams. Facts and details may be lost in the hand off between the two teams. Instead, I would much rather have the BPX take care of change management too, possibly working with a communications team for roll-out.

      Change management, even though it is so important and often overseen, is not rocket science. It basically consists of the following steps:

      1) Introduce the upcoming changes to the organization from a high level point of view.
      2) Keep track of all changes over the course of a project.
      3) Communicate changes to the appropriate people during the project as well as the summary of changes to a broader audience to enable them to adjust their related processes as well as their expectations. (I plan to write more about this in future.)

      In case of large organizations where change management becomes a big task, I could see having somebody focus all his time on this. Ideally, however, this would be another BPX with focus on this aspect during the particular project. Change management needs to be close to or part of the core team.

      Let me know what you think …

      Swen

      (0) 
      1. Paul Wilson
        Hi Swen,

        I urge you to reconsider your comments about change management. ASAP Change Management is very clear about the deliverables required from change management, and DOES require a dedicated person whose sole responsibility it is to ensure that Change Management deliverables are met. As an ex-functional consultant (MM/PP Auto.) I can offer that the functional consultant is the BPX who shares information with the change management specialist in order to identify the business impact and associated risk. I believe that business analysis and ARIS should be a part of the SAP Certification for functional consultants.

        Looking at the deliverables for change management in the phases are as follows:

        1) Project Preparation:
        a) Contribute change management strategy into the project charter.
        b) Define the project procedures and standards for example escalation procedures.
        c) Define the project organization and structure, for example; who should be in the Steering committee what are their roles. Who are the sponsors and who will be the change agents in the impacted stakeholder groups?
        d) Maintain the stakeholder database.
        e) Who needs to be trained within the team. ASAP refers to this as level 1 training.

        2) Blueprinting
        a) Conduct training course developer orientation.
        b) Create communications framework and plan. This includes pull communications like surveys.
        c) Training needs analysis scope and output.
        d) EUT Strategy
        e) OCM Risk analysis (Extensive understanding of business stakeholder impacts-receives data from the pull communication framework indicating areas of risk ie: High perception of personal pain because of SAP project.
        f) Business Optimization Process, key here is the business impact list, which requires working with Subject Matter Experts, the team and end-users.
        g) Contribute and Review/Approve blueprint.

        3) Realization
        a) End User documentation content development
        b) EUT Preparation
        c) Review risk assessment findings and mitigate before go/no-go-live decision.
        d) Resolve issues
        e) Continue Business Optimization process, working with Business Impact and alignment list.

        4) Final-Prep
        a) Support Go-Live help desk processes and ensure communications to all end-users with regard to how to get support if not available from power-users.
        b) Create commitment campaign for go-live.
        c) Implement training logistics plan
        5) Go-live
        a) Post go-live assessment
        b) Post go-live EUT
        c) Project Closing: Handover.
        d) Install continuous business improvement processes.

        Having been in the change management industry for ten years, the last seven as a SAP Change Management specialist, I have done MM/PP config, been a project manager for a number of SAP projects and I always follow ASAP Change Management deliverables. With respect to you Swen, many SAP projects go-live but the benefits are not realized because Change Management (of the rocket science kind), is not followed.

        I am afraid that people do not understand Change Management properly and often don’t understand that the business needs configuration too. Would you let someone go into IMG and play around in a MM transaction? No. People should not fiddle in Change Management unless they know the process and are knowledgeable about sound change management principles in the organizational development context.

        I would like to see a brief essay on just how change-management developed so that we can understand why there is so much confusion surrounding this vital success factor.

        It can be proven that a Prudent Change Management process far outweighs any investment in resources to undertake a change management strategy.

        But then you might say that I am just defending my territory 😉

        With Kindest Regards
        Paul Wilson

        (0) 
        1. Swen Conrad Post author
          Paul,

          Thanks for this super info about change management. The discussion for this blog develops to be an excellent source of additional information.

          I did not mean to trivialize the topic of change management: It is highly important, can cost a lot of effort, and needs to cover a wide spectrum of activities. Still, it can be done if you take it seriously. – Your task list from the ASAP methodology is an excellent starting point and maps pretty well to my personal experience of key elements of change management.

          Instead of going into any more detail here, I promise to write my next blog about Change Management. If you are ok with it, let’s compare notes at that time 😉

          Thanks again for your insightful comments and looking forward to future discussions!

          Swen

          (0) 
        2. Anonymous
          Paul,

          I fully agree with your reply to Swen’s blog. I would only add that one of the main pieces of OCM work in the Realization phase is the ‘Org. Work Design’. During this period the OCM Representative coordinates the mapping of Roles which will serve the requirements for both Security and Training.
          The OCM Rep. will show how Transactions feed into the Activities within a Process Flow and then the Activities are clustered to form ‘Roles’, which will then be mapped to Positions & then to End Users (Using RACI). There are fairly elaborate rules tied to this process. This is a very important approach, as it brings consistency to the Training and Security Role development. The Role Mapping also supports the End User Readiness Sessions, in which the Role Mapping will be confirmed to the direct Supervisors of the End Users, informing them of who shall be trained etc.
          I hope that this is helpful.

          John

          (0) 
  25. Paul Wilson
    Hi,

    BPX should have enough understanding of the system changes and how they will impact business with what degree of risk. If the impact is at first not beneficial for data workers, the BPX should attempt to identify areas within the configuarion parameters of the new system/upgrade where benefits can be developed.

    This will assist in achieving at least some degree of buy-in without taking a heavy-handed sponsor drive.

    Your description of a BPX is great and it would be nice to see a flavour of change management in your donut. In my view, organisational change management specialist will work with the BPX in order to present a Business Transformation solution which has maximum benefit and manageable risks.

    The biggest responsibility for the BPX is changing people’s idea that SAP is the solution…A Business Transformation is the solution, the BPX needs to deliver that.

    Regards,
    Paul

    (0) 
    1. Guido Brune
      Hello,

      for me the job description look to me that you
      are in search of “eierlegende Vollmilchsau/-schein(German) or X-Man/Woman” as human being.

      Having a expert in IT & business plus business
      transformation skill / mind set will deliver what IT has promises for decades.

      Should/Can these profile fulfilled be one person?

      Regards & Thanks & All the best,

      Guido 

      (0) 
      1. Swen Conrad Post author
        Guido,

        Well, yes, that is kind of what it is. I think “die eierlegende Wollmilchsau” – the x-Man/Woman is the one to survive the time of outsourcing. More and more, focused and well defined development tasks are moved to other parts of the world. What will stay behind are the people that can coordinate all the distributed specialists, can pull together the requirements and roll-out the results.

        To your point: The role of BPX is quite big, and this will attract a certain group of people to this job. The BPX is never bored, there is always something new to explore and figure out! – Yes, we are looking for ‘Jacks of all trades’, but they may be ‘masters of none’.

        You may have heard about a trend away from the pure business degrees towards mixed degrees of business and engineering. This may be a technical MBA or an industrial engineering degree. Those types of degrees are the perfect starting point for a BPX or any kind of person that has to interact and facilitate between technical people and business people.

        Thanks for your comments,
        Swen

        (0) 
        1. Guido Brune
          Swen,

          just some points:

          + On CeBIT I meet a chinese business man who
            said that outsourcing or whatever you call it
            is not about cost cutting it is also about
            improving business.
            Interessing statement where one’s thought about
            China as the new Jerusalem of IT cost cutting.
          + Does outsourcing fulfill our expection?
          + I personally convinced that a strong team
            of average busines analyst, application
            consultant and developer/architect will beat
            every X-Man/Woman out there.
            As you might know there is currently a
            competiton on the way where eleven human beings
            plus audience apply for world championship.

          All the best,

          Guido 

          (0) 
          1. Swen Conrad Post author
            Guido,

            With outsourcing, we are starting a huge separate discussion here. I made some personal experiences working with several Eastern countries and – as described in the BPX – communication skill, tact, and intercultural understanding are key.

            Please accept that I am not trying to argue with you. Yes, the list of requirements for the BPX is long. It is best achieved when started early during the college education. – Lastly, business analysts are excellent resources, and many of them may be able to transition into the BPX world. Still, I am trying to promote the generalist over the specialist.

            Lastly, I am predicting that the winner of this Fussball Worldcup is not going to be an average team; still, only a team can win!

            Swen

            (0) 
            1. Guido Brune
              Swen,

              I’m talking about a strong team of average human beings, beating a clique of X-Men/Women!

              Time will bring the answer.

              Take care & All the best,

              Guido

              (0) 
        2. Anonymous
          Hello Swen,

          I am working as a BASIS consultant since the past 2 years (first job) & have got lot of exposure in R/3 Enterprise 4.7 & currently working on Netweaver system.
          I want to move out of BASIS & work more closely with the business aspect of SAP where my technical experience could be of use also. That is how I decided to try BPX as a career but have no idea how/where to start & what are the options for a BASIS consultant to move into BPC.

          I am even more convinced about BPX as my career move after reading this:
          “….a trend away from the pure business degrees towards mixed degrees of business and engineering. This may be a technical MBA or an industrial engineering degree. Those types of degrees are the perfect starting point for a BPX….”
          I have done MBA in IT management.

          Please suggest a possible path towards or starting point for becoming a BPX (considering my Tech Expr.)

          Thanks & regards,

          Roshan.

          (0) 
          1. Swen Conrad Post author
            Hi Roshan,

            Not to discourage you, but it will take a lot of persistence on your end to make this transition due to the very technical nature of Basis. However, I totally believe it is possible, however, it may take some time.

            Career transitions are always easiest within the company you are working in, especially if you excel at your current job and have good supporters around you (your manager, peers or the entire management team). Try to work with your current manager to be part of a business implementation or transformation project. Define the assignment in a way that you can contribute with your current skill (for example via maintaining a set of sandboxes for the team). Within the project take on additional responsibility that are more of a business nature. One idea would be defining and implementing access profiles for the new application or process. Here, you would naturally work with the Business Process Expert type people in the team and could learn from them during the overall project.

            Having access to the overall business system or process implementation team, it is now up to you to sell your skills and show your value add you can bring to the team. Having an MBA education with the technical background of Basis, I believe that you have huge potential to add value in ways that other people may not be able to. Find these areas and add the value and your career may be moving into a new direction very soon.

            Hope this helps and good luck with the transition.

            Cheers,
            Swen

            (0) 
            1. Anonymous
              Thanks a lot Swen, for the relevant, frank & positive opinion & suggestions.

              As far as reputation & support in current job is concerned, that part I have already taken care of. Now its just a matter of finding the right opportunity/project & then working my way through…..finally to destination BPX! 🙂

              Thanks again,
              Roshan.

              (0) 
      2. Paul Wilson
        Hi Guido,
        You can call me Wolverine… 😉

        I have been an organisational developement consultant, SQL 7 system developer, web-developer, SAP mm/pp team-lead, CRM & SEM project manager including business process analysis and a SAP Change Management Specialist.

        I only recently got married so as you can guess used to have a lot of spare time on my hands.

        Looking over the years and working out why SAP projects fail has been the reason for exploring and developing different skills.

        Making SAP projects work for Business Transformations has been my value-proposition for all SAP engagements. The most important  thing is, my intent is always to care for and grow stakeholders. This intent opens my eyes to a variety of factors which are not clearly understood in pure project mode.

        These factors are what makes us mutants.

        With Regards
        Paul

        (0) 
      3. Mark Frear
        Change management for me is all about taking people and process from current state to future state. Hence it really depends on where you are as most end states end in the generic arena of “best practises.”

        This needs to habitualise new practices. I suspect anyone reading this blog does not think that changing habits is easy! eg losing weight, stopping smoking working smarter etc etc. Likewise change management is the last bastion to overcome but it is hard.

        (0) 
    2. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Paul,

      Great comments and good point about the Change Management portion of a successful implementation. This definitely needs to be reflected better in the donut and I will take note for v2 😉

      I also like your point about business transformation at the end. You are right that the use of SAP or other software solutions is not the end goal, but only a means to transform and improve business and its processes.

      So here is my take in regards to the BPX and the organizational change management specialist:

      The strength of the BPX is that he is so universal and can take care of so many things; this helps to avoid hand offs. If you look at a change management specialist who may work in a team of change management specialists in parallel to the implementation team, we have a physical separation between two teams. Facts and details may be lost in the hand off between the two teams. Instead, I would much rather have the BPX take care of change management too, possibly working with a communications team for roll-out.

      Change management, even though it is so important and often overseen, is not rocket science. It basically consists of the following steps:

      1) Introduce the upcoming changes to the organization from a high level point of view.
      2) Keep track of all changes over the course of a project.
      3) Communicate changes to the appropriate people during the project as well as the summary of changes to a broader audience to enable them to adjust their related processes as well as their expectations. (I plan to write more about this in future.)

      In case of large organizations where change management becomes a big task, I could see having somebody focus all his time on this. Ideally, however, this would be another BPX with focus on this aspect during the particular project. Change management needs to be close to or part of the core team.

      Let me know what you think …

      Swen

      (0) 
      1. Paul Wilson
        Hi Swen,

        I urge you to reconsider your comments about change management. ASAP Change Management is very clear about the deliverables required from change management, and DOES require a dedicated person whose sole responsibility it is to ensure that Change Management deliverables are met. As an ex-functional consultant (MM/PP Auto.) I can offer that the functional consultant is the BPX who shares information with the change management specialist in order to identify the business impact and associated risk. I believe that business analysis and ARIS should be a part of the SAP Certification for functional consultants.

        Looking at the deliverables for change management in the phases are as follows:

        1) Project Preparation:
        a) Contribute change management strategy into the project charter.
        b) Define the project procedures and standards for example escalation procedures.
        c) Define the project organization and structure, for example; who should be in the Steering committee what are their roles. Who are the sponsors and who will be the change agents in the impacted stakeholder groups?
        d) Maintain the stakeholder database.
        e) Who needs to be trained within the team. ASAP refers to this as level 1 training.

        2) Blueprinting
        a) Conduct training course developer orientation.
        b) Create communications framework and plan. This includes pull communications like surveys.
        c) Training needs analysis scope and output.
        d) EUT Strategy
        e) OCM Risk analysis (Extensive understanding of business stakeholder impacts-receives data from the pull communication framework indicating areas of risk ie: High perception of personal pain because of SAP project.
        f) Business Optimization Process, key here is the business impact list, which requires working with Subject Matter Experts, the team and end-users.
        g) Contribute and Review/Approve blueprint.

        3) Realization
        a) End User documentation content development
        b) EUT Preparation
        c) Review risk assessment findings and mitigate before go/no-go-live decision.
        d) Resolve issues
        e) Continue Business Optimization process, working with Business Impact and alignment list.

        4) Final-Prep
        a) Support Go-Live help desk processes and ensure communications to all end-users with regard to how to get support if not available from power-users.
        b) Create commitment campaign for go-live.
        c) Implement training logistics plan
        5) Go-live
        a) Post go-live assessment
        b) Post go-live EUT
        c) Project Closing: Handover.
        d) Install continuous business improvement processes.

        Having been in the change management industry for ten years, the last seven as a SAP Change Management specialist, I have done MM/PP config, been a project manager for a number of SAP projects and I always follow ASAP Change Management deliverables. With respect to you Swen, many SAP projects go-live but the benefits are not realized because Change Management (of the rocket science kind), is not followed.

        I am afraid that people do not understand Change Management properly and often don’t understand that the business needs configuration too. Would you let someone go into IMG and play around in a MM transaction? No. People should not fiddle in Change Management unless they know the process and are knowledgeable about sound change management principles in the organizational development context.

        I would like to see a brief essay on just how change-management developed so that we can understand why there is so much confusion surrounding this vital success factor.

        It can be proven that a Prudent Change Management process far outweighs any investment in resources to undertake a change management strategy.

        But then you might say that I am just defending my territory 😉

        With Kindest Regards
        Paul Wilson

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        1. Swen Conrad Post author
          Paul,

          Thanks for this super info about change management. The discussion for this blog develops to be an excellent source of additional information.

          I did not mean to trivialize the topic of change management: It is highly important, can cost a lot of effort, and needs to cover a wide spectrum of activities. Still, it can be done if you take it seriously. – Your task list from the ASAP methodology is an excellent starting point and maps pretty well to my personal experience of key elements of change management.

          Instead of going into any more detail here, I promise to write my next blog about Change Management. If you are ok with it, let’s compare notes at that time 😉

          Thanks again for your insightful comments and looking forward to future discussions!

          Swen

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        2. Anonymous
          Paul,

          I fully agree with your reply to Swen’s blog. I would only add that one of the main pieces of OCM work in the Realization phase is the ‘Org. Work Design’. During this period the OCM Representative coordinates the mapping of Roles which will serve the requirements for both Security and Training.
          The OCM Rep. will show how Transactions feed into the Activities within a Process Flow and then the Activities are clustered to form ‘Roles’, which will then be mapped to Positions & then to End Users (Using RACI). There are fairly elaborate rules tied to this process. This is a very important approach, as it brings consistency to the Training and Security Role development. The Role Mapping also supports the End User Readiness Sessions, in which the Role Mapping will be confirmed to the direct Supervisors of the End Users, informing them of who shall be trained etc.
          I hope that this is helpful.

          John

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  26. Mark Frear
    In my past I have reviewed business processes in all industries for around 300 companies. Recently the core context models from G Moore made a paradigm shift in clarity for me. So now for BPX – the KPI should be $ contribution. Firstly BPX can address the “context” side of business but the massive value is in support the “core” processes which delivers market growth, revenue growth, differentiation etc. There are little enough corporate resources focussed here but the returns are really about the success of the company in the next 10 years.

    Because we are dealing with new world processes for growth we need to learn about ROI, risk, WACC and then process, controls to make sure the process is followed and you have a BPX.

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  27. Mark Frear
    In my past I have reviewed business processes in all industries for around 300 companies. Recently the core context models from G Moore made a paradigm shift in clarity for me. So now for BPX – the KPI should be $ contribution. Firstly BPX can address the “context” side of business but the massive value is in support the “core” processes which delivers market growth, revenue growth, differentiation etc. There are little enough corporate resources focussed here but the returns are really about the success of the company in the next 10 years.

    Because we are dealing with new world processes for growth we need to learn about ROI, risk, WACC and then process, controls to make sure the process is followed and you have a BPX.

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Wolf,

      Agreed, understanding the process via thorough analysis is the most important. Still, what I am saying makes sense. Here is why:

      As I said in my blog, with processes extending their reach, it gets harder and harder for a BPX or Business Analyst to know it all beforehand. Hence, he needs to be a good facilitator, interviewer and listener. After all, he is taking to all the process experts from the business that know the real truth. He needs to combine it into once consistent picture.

      While he does that, he may see some ‘Angst’ by the business people that know that their job is about to change. For them, since they already know their process, it is very important and interesting how the process will be implemented going forward. Is it going to be easier? What systems do I need to log on to (hopefully only once = Single Sign on or Portal)? What powers (or tools) will we have to make short term changes to the process or build analytics (e.g. Visual Composer)? What else will change?

      These are the somewhat technical questions that the BPX should be prepared and able to answer. – But you are right, what matters most IS the process.

      Hope this helps. Let me know what you think.

      Swen

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    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Wolf,

      Agreed, understanding the process via thorough analysis is the most important. Still, what I am saying makes sense. Here is why:

      As I said in my blog, with processes extending their reach, it gets harder and harder for a BPX or Business Analyst to know it all beforehand. Hence, he needs to be a good facilitator, interviewer and listener. After all, he is taking to all the process experts from the business that know the real truth. He needs to combine it into once consistent picture.

      While he does that, he may see some ‘Angst’ by the business people that know that their job is about to change. For them, since they already know their process, it is very important and interesting how the process will be implemented going forward. Is it going to be easier? What systems do I need to log on to (hopefully only once = Single Sign on or Portal)? What powers (or tools) will we have to make short term changes to the process or build analytics (e.g. Visual Composer)? What else will change?

      These are the somewhat technical questions that the BPX should be prepared and able to answer. – But you are right, what matters most IS the process.

      Hope this helps. Let me know what you think.

      Swen

      (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Wolf,

      Agreed, understanding the process via thorough analysis is the most important. Still, what I am saying makes sense. Here is why:

      As I said in my blog, with processes extending their reach, it gets harder and harder for a BPX or Business Analyst to know it all beforehand. Hence, he needs to be a good facilitator, interviewer and listener. After all, he is taking to all the process experts from the business that know the real truth. He needs to combine it into once consistent picture.

      While he does that, he may see some ‘Angst’ by the business people that know that their job is about to change. For them, since they already know their process, it is very important and interesting how the process will be implemented going forward. Is it going to be easier? What systems do I need to log on to (hopefully only once = Single Sign on or Portal)? What powers (or tools) will we have to make short term changes to the process or build analytics (e.g. Visual Composer)? What else will change?

      These are the somewhat technical questions that the BPX should be prepared and able to answer. – But you are right, what matters most IS the process.

      Hope this helps. Let me know what you think.

      Swen

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  28. Anonymous
    I’m a business analyst in a company transitioning from another ERP to SAP.  I’ve found the BPX community and your blogs very interesting, but I don’t understand a lot of the information about the technical tools.  I’m sure this is because I have no training on SAP at all.  I haven’t been able to find anything that gives me an overview of what the tools are and how they interact with each other, the SAP system, and people.  Can you point me to something that will give me that overview so I understand when they are discussed?  Can you suggest courses or training I should take to become a BPX on SAP specifically?

    Thanks,
       Ginny Dugan

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    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Ginny,

      Thanks for your comments and questions. I am happy to help and would like to point you to the following resources.

      I recommend you start with this blog by my colleague Ginger Gatling. It describes all the different Workflow and Business Process Management tools in SAP and NetWeaver and how they interact. Those are the tools that are the most relevant to a BPX:

      Workflow in SAP NetWeaver

      Secondly, I recommend that you keep an eye on following webinar series and join the presentations depending on topics and interest. These one hour presentations will give you a great overview. Please consider that of the two call series listed below, the first one is more high level, the second one is pretty detailed in nature (both series complement each other well).

      1 – SAP NetWeaver Customer Conference Call
      http://www8.sap.com/mk/get/us_ep_optin

      2 – SAP NetWeaver Know How Network Conference Series
      http://www8.sap.com/mk/get/US_KHNC_OPTIN

      Good luck and fun with the transition,

      Swen

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  29. Anonymous
    I’m a business analyst in a company transitioning from another ERP to SAP.  I’ve found the BPX community and your blogs very interesting, but I don’t understand a lot of the information about the technical tools.  I’m sure this is because I have no training on SAP at all.  I haven’t been able to find anything that gives me an overview of what the tools are and how they interact with each other, the SAP system, and people.  Can you point me to something that will give me that overview so I understand when they are discussed?  Can you suggest courses or training I should take to become a BPX on SAP specifically?

    Thanks,
       Ginny Dugan

    (0) 
    1. Swen Conrad Post author
      Hi Ginny,

      Thanks for your comments and questions. I am happy to help and would like to point you to the following resources.

      I recommend you start with this blog by my colleague Ginger Gatling. It describes all the different Workflow and Business Process Management tools in SAP and NetWeaver and how they interact. Those are the tools that are the most relevant to a BPX:

      Workflow in SAP NetWeaver

      Secondly, I recommend that you keep an eye on following webinar series and join the presentations depending on topics and interest. These one hour presentations will give you a great overview. Please consider that of the two call series listed below, the first one is more high level, the second one is pretty detailed in nature (both series complement each other well).

      1 – SAP NetWeaver Customer Conference Call
      http://www8.sap.com/mk/get/us_ep_optin

      2 – SAP NetWeaver Know How Network Conference Series
      http://www8.sap.com/mk/get/US_KHNC_OPTIN

      Good luck and fun with the transition,

      Swen

      (0) 
  30. Raj Sundaragiri
    Hi Swen,

    This is a very great post to start with in BPX Community. I tried using the ARIS several times and was not successful due to the complications, Partial reason is also I did not spend much in reading anything related to it.

    Do you have any documentation to understand how ARIS works and how it is integrated into SAP applications.

    Thanks
    Raja S

    (0) 
  31. Raj Sundaragiri
    Hi Swen,

    This is a very great post to start with in BPX Community. I tried using the ARIS several times and was not successful due to the complications, Partial reason is also I did not spend much in reading anything related to it.

    Do you have any documentation to understand how ARIS works and how it is integrated into SAP applications.

    Thanks
    Raja S

    (0) 
  32. Raj Sundaragiri
    Hi Swen,

    This is a very great post to start with in BPX Community. I tried using the ARIS several times and was not successful due to the complications, Partial reason is also I did not spend much in reading anything related to it.

    Do you have any documentation to understand how ARIS works and how it is integrated into SAP applications.

    Thanks
    Raja S

    (0) 

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