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I have been following this community for quite some time now and I also saw many questions from technical consultants with a typical coding background on how to become a BPX. I’m a technical consultant with industry process experience working towards BPX. I have written a step by step approach for a technical consultant which will guide him or her in transforming himself into a BPX.  1.  Choose the functional area.  This step is very important as it is not realistic for one to be an expert in all the functional areas. It is very important for the technical consultant to choose the functional area in which he or she wants to specialize. Specialization here would mean the technical consultant  would eventually go in depth into the functional area and would learn all the processes related to the functional area. The best possible option for an experienced technical consultant is to start looking at the modules in which he or she has worked the most.Technical consultants have the liberty to choose because,for them all the areas would be equally new because of lack ofindustry experience.  This step would serve as a foundation for the transformation. 2.  Learn the process overview  Here the consultant would start with an overview of the functional area which he or she has chosen. This is important as one need to understand the importance of the functional area in the day to day business. It will also expose the consultant to the most important processes of the functional area. It is important to get an overview of all the functional areas of business as it will help to understand the integration points between functional areas in next subsequent steps. 3. Understand the process in ERP system.The process when explained theoretically appears simple, but understanding the process from an IT or ERP perspective is challenging as one needs to understand how the process is implemented in the respective ERP system. This is step where business and technology starts interacting and from here it would go hand in hand. This step would take considerable amount of time and it would be continuous learning process. This step is a typical role of a functional consultant working in any ERP application. One should also try to understand the integration points of the different functional areas. For example the points where an SD and WM module interacts, cross functional processes which is dependent on the configuration of different functional areas. 4. Learn the business blue printing.This is an important step as this is the first step which will help you transform to a BPX. Here a technical consultant would go a step further and learn how the business architecture is configured in the ERP system. This serves as the foundation for whole ERP implementation. Reaching this stage will depend on how well a consultant is familiar with the business process and the ERP system. Process improvement starts right from this stage. The efficiency of the processes which would be configured based on the blue print. Blue printing is like laying the foundation for a building.   5. Knowledge (Technology and Process)updation. The major challenge for a BPX is to continuously update technical and process knowledge. For example a BPX should have an idea of all the available options (Tools and services) provided by an ERP vendor like SAP and also he or she should have a clear understanding of the emerging trends in the business process front. For a technical consultant it would be easy to understand the tools and services available to support a business process. He should focus more on the emerging trends in the business process which will help him to optimize the existing process for his clients. 6. Process Innovation.With most of the ERP vendors working on bridging the gap between technology and the business, a BPX would be expected to come with innovative ideas in the area of process improvement with or without using the technology. He would be constantly monitoring the existing process and also will be on a look out for new improvised process which would result in greater ROI for his clients.   Steps 3 and 4 are the most important steps and are time consuming too. It is advisable to spend more time on these steps as knowledge of the existing process is important to innovate a new one else one would end up re-inventing the wheel again.  Apart from the steps above it is very important for a consultant to have an excellent communication skill and project management skill. Communication plays an important role in understanding the existing process from the users and also it helps in conveying what a consultant thinks is effective for the client scenario. Here communication not only means speaking the language,it also includes knowing the necessary business and process jargons used in the day to day business.
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  1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Hi Arvind:

    I really like your blog…It makes understand a little bit more of what BPX is all about…It’s more easy to understand some steps that read a lot of documentation -;)

    I hope to read more of your blogs -:D

    Greetings,

    Blag.

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  2. Suresh Datti
    Steps 1 thru 4 could be for any beginner.. I don’t quite agree with you that an experienced Technical Consultant would need  the first three steps..
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    1. Anonymous
      Suresh,
      Thanks for your feedback.

      Actually I wanted to address a technical consultant’s doubt in this blog :).As you correctly said this blog is not only for the technical consultants but it is for all the beginners. Now a beginner in SAP has to work little more as he needs to have a good technical knowledge along with the process knlowledge. So he has dual task to do. 

      Well coming to your view about the first 3 steps. I beleive that a typical ABAP programmer who has about 3 years of experience might not have an understanding of the processes as such. There are many instances where I have seen, though people are 3 years experienced their actual content experience boils down to 1 year. it is like 3 times 1 year which also makes 3 years :). When I say three times 1 year I mean the monotonous work he does. for example in many companies developer who develops smart forms is branded as a smart form guy and he ends up doing all smart form requirement. There are people who are branded as Upgrade people. Then we have people working in support project where they do debugging all the time. Going by my experience in the industry I decided that the focus on a functional area is very important.

      Now coming to an ABAPer who actually has the 3 years of solid experience, Though he has worked in diverse projects in technical side for 3 years it is very unlikely that he gets to work in a single module.So he ends up knowing bits and pieces of all the modules in which he has worked which will not help him if he wants to move towards BPX as the very basic prerequisite for BPX is strong business knowledge. Again we are down to the step one which says choose the funtional area you want to work and get into it deeper.

      Please share with me how you would approach this without first 3 steps.

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      1. Suresh Datti
        can’t quite agree on that note too.. as I have been doing (only) HR Technical stuff since early 99..
        I agree with Andre.. can’t quite visualize the role of a BPX as yet…
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        1. Anonymous
          Suresh,

          It would be really helpful if you share with the community how a technical consultant can work his way to a BPX without the first 3 steps in my blog. Coming to your experience in ABAP HR, I would say your are really lucky as ABAP HR is one area in ABAP where once you get in,you continue in that for ever. Most of the HR ABAPer’s would not be interested in working in any other module which in a way is disadvantage too because they will be absolutely clueless about the business processes. Yah it is definitely too early for us to visualize the scope of a BPX but for technical consultants I think it is high time they should start thinking from the business perspective rather than pure technical perspective because tomorrow when the scope gets clear one may not have enough time to retool himself. SO I still believe that the steps outlined in this blog will definitely help one in his journey towards BPX.I’m eagerly waiting for your approach because you are a HR conaultant with over 7 years experience. Kindly share with us how you would like to prepare yourself if at all if you are interested in a BPC career. From your comment I think uyou are definitely game for it:)

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  3. Andre Truong
    From what you write, I’d see it more like a path towards functional or business analyst for techies.

    Obviously there’re differences between BPX and the functional world. Plenty content addressing that differentiation is available in the BPX area.

    A BPX existence is legitimated in the context of concepts like BPM, SOA, composite applications, services,enterprise and solution architecture and process innovation (you mention it in your step 6).

    Whether it’s required for a techie to know the logistics modules of R3 to become a BPX in Logistics, it’s debatable. I believe it’s important but maybe not as important as you seem to think looking at your blog.

    But what I’m sure is that BPX is heavily associated with the concepts mentioned above and the path to get there would required something of a different path than the one you describe.

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    1. Anonymous
      Andre,

      Thank you very much for your feedback.

      I partly agree with what you say. At a glance it may look like a path towards functional or business analyst but if we see the bottom line of BPX it is the process and rest all comes next. I agree with you that SOA, BPM, Composite Applications are the in thing today. But at the end of the day it is connected with the business process. Even we talk about services; each service is a process is in itself. I have tried to address a very basic pre requisite which a technical consultant working on an ERP package need to have. If you see my point number 4 which talks about blue printing, slowly it will get extended into laying an ESA road map in coming days when the clients start adopting the SOA. Now in this scenario, a pure functional or technical guy will not be able to do much; we will need a BPX for this. Again BPM and process innovation can happen only when you know the existing process. I have mentioned this also in my blog. How do you think a technical guy will be able to think about business process management directly without knowing the underlying processes? I bet, still for many technical consultants BPM still means a work flow. Little that they understand that process innovation and optimization is the key when it comes to business process management. They need to understand that BPM is not a technical concept; that it is a pure business strategy which is achieved using the BPM tools which are used to model the processes for better efficiency. I agree with you that my blog shows one a direction towards business analyst but I believe there will a lot of difference between the typical of business analysts churned out by the BSchools and the consultants who become business analyst by following the steps mentioned. So I strictly think that business analyst is intermediate state which a technical consultant goes through during the transformation and how fast he adopts the role of BPX from there depends on an individual perspective. If you have a better way to approach on this please share with the community as we definitely need more inputs to able to come to a conclusion 🙂

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      1. Andre Truong
        You can always check my blogs on SDN. They offer some insights that can answer your need for more inputs. Looking for a conclusion on this topic? I’m not sure it’s such a black and white situation here.

        well interesting topic isn’t it? The thing about it is that a BPX will only be a meaningful one only when he/she will find somebody willing to pay premium for being such as opposed to traditional and known SAP job positions. So far I haven’t seen anything job postings for BPX.

        On top of that, there’s no training that can certify a BPX as far as I know. So maybe all the fuzz about it will remain for a while a good discussion topic for SAP professionals looking for salvation in light of decrease in abap rates and local projects, increase in outsourcing, and simply reaching the limit of boredom after x number of years of same old SAP work.

        All that depends on how successful SAP is in convincing the customer and partner ecosystem to use Netweaver as a business process platform. Without such adoption, no BPP, no BPX, no eSOA, and no fun in the sun…

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