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BPM Approach: The SAP Process Map

Following up on my last SAP’s Business Process Management Approach, I now want to provide more details on the first phase (step) of the BPM approach that we worked on. One of the major tasks that we completed last year was developing a true enterprise process landscape for SAP. The reason we focused so much effort on this is because we believe that you can only get a transparent view of your business processes across the company and different business units with a global, uniform enterprise landscape.

But, why do I call it a “true” enterprise process landscape? Because what we created no longer represents departments or functions (for example, “Sales and Marketing”) but the actions that take place in the company (for example, “Market and Sell Products and Services”). There are a number of challenges that we faced, some of which we still have not completely overcome. Two of the main issues are:

  1. Many of our business units believe that they have unique processes that cannot fit into an overall, company-wide process landscape
  2. Many employees and managers confuse their departments or functions with processes

To resolve the first issue, we based our SAP Process Map on the APQC Process Classification Framework. The more general terminology used allowed us to create the first two levels (what we call the Process Scenarios and Processes) on a global basis, with each business unit linking their process documentation (what we call Sub-processes down to Activities) on the lower levels. This allows us to have process variants that still fit into one complete process landscape. This also makes it easier for us to identify Business Process Owners, having global ones on the top two levels and operational ones on the levels that follow.

Below are the first two levels of our SAP Process Map, categorized in the Process Types Strategy, Core Processes and Corporate Services:



The second issue is something that we’re still working on. Right now, we’re encouraging the business units to think of their processes in terms of a verb and noun, but we accept most of the descriptions provided. We believe that over time, however, we will get more and more consistency across the board.

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  • Hello Mark!
    This is interesting material. But I have question about your blueprint before i can understand how you separate out SAP Corporate Services.
    I do not want cavil to every word but it seems to me that CS 5.1 “Develop the ecosystem” and 5.3 “Appraise and develop the ecosystem” are not mutually exclusive and intersect with each other considerably. What sense in it?
    Lis Kirill
    • Hi Lis,
      Thanks for your mail and your interest! You are correct about the Ecosystem processes. The first one should actually read “Develop the ecosystem strategy”. For some reason, my upload left the word “strategy” out.
      But in general, for each Level 2 process, we are continuously refining the definition and the inputs/outputs for that process to provide the business units more clarity on where their sub-processes fit.
      Just like everything else in the BPM world, there is always room for improvement!
      Regards, Mark
  • Hi Mark, would you be able to provide any additions details on the SAP Process Map (task descriptions, input/outputs).  How did you document the process model/map.  What level of governance did you place around the model such as business items, process task names and attributes, and roles?  Did you try to align the model to Solution Manager’s Business Process Decomposition?  Did you leverage the Enterprise Service Repository for service or business oject definitions in anyway? 
    • Hi Tom,
      I apologize for the delayed response but was not sure how best to answer all of these questions. I would suggest a meeting/conference call where I would then be happy to provide you with more details. Just write to me at
      Best Regards,
      • I just came across this Blog and I am wondering much of the same things.  Right now I’m working on a few Business Architecture related initiatives at the moment:
        1.  A standardised Framework for Business Processes – I am looking at the APQC framework. 
        2.  Solutions Framework that is linked to the business processes. 
        3.  How all of this aligns with the Business Process Repository in Solution managers, etc. 
        4.  Other related SAP Frameworks, e.g. the SAP Enterprise Architecture Framework (TOGAF-Based), Solution Composer, 

        My questions are:
        • I would like to know if you had the meeting with Tom Styslinger, and if you were able to share the answers to his questions.   
        • To what level in the APQC Model did you go?
        . How does it map to SAP business maps or other solution framework.   

        Trying to piece together all of these things is very confusing, and any help would be much appreciated!


  • Hello Mark,

    I understand that BPMN is the notation next to implementation (with BPEL).

    Your first two levels seem to be beyond BPMN.

    My questions are
    1. in what level (if any) of your approach comes BPMN ?
    2. is there a unique way to derive the BPMN level from the higher levels (or alternatively to group the BPMN descriptions to higher levels)?
    3. did you also consider COBIT as the BP reference and if so why didn’t you choose it ?
    Best regards

    • Hi Wolfgang,

      Thanks for your message. You are correct, the first two levels are beyond BPMN. The idea of the top levels of our Process Map, as I mentioned in the blog, is to integrate the various process variants existing in our business units into one overall landscape. The top two levels are owned “centrally”, if you will, level 3 and below is the responsibility of each “decentral” business unit. I see BPMN (with BPEL) at a level 4 or more likely 5 of our map( the “process activity” levels). I hope that answers the first two questions.
      Regarding your 3rd question, I see COBIT as only providing an IT process framework. We looked for a framework that provided an overall business process view for SAP. This we found in the APQC Process Classification Framework.
      Please let me know if you have further questions.
      Best Regards,

  • We just implemented Supply Chain and my manager (IT development and support) has me investigating ‘SAP CoE’.  From my experience and research as a business analyst, I think a CoE should really be looking at business processes and improvements across the enterprise, not just in use of SAP.  This seems to be what you are doing.  At what level in your structure would you expect business analysts to be doing this work?  At what level would a ‘SAP CoE’ operate?
      Do you know about the BABOK?  It is oriented towards system solutions, but does have a knowledge area for busniess analysts called ‘Enterprise Analysis’. I think what you are doing is really this. Is Galaxy going to lift that analysis up to looking at business process independant of solutions?
       I have read about Business Process Experts (BPX) on this website, but they seem to very technical and SAP software oriented – much more systems analysts that business analysts.  Where do they fit in your analysis processes?


    • I guess what you are seeing on the website is the historic connection to the SAP Developer Network which is the “big brother” to the newer Business Process Expert Community and SDN is/was traditionally SAP and developer centric.
      But I think if you take a look at the wiki spaces associated with BPX you will get a better picture of where the work of the BPX happens.
      Just go to the wiki and search BPX roles to see business process owners, business architects, business consultants, modelers, and analysts defined in the context of the process lifecycle.
    • Hi Ginny,
      Thanks for your mail. In an ideal situation, I would see a Process (not SAP) CoE directly within the CEO or COO organizations. However, this should be a fairly small team, working with Process CoEs located in the various business units.
      You are correct that we are not focused on SAP solutions but on our business processes in general. However, since SAP systems do cover a large majority of key processes for our customers, I have a feeling that most customers actually focus more on the technical side.
      This has also been one of my critics to Marilyn about the BPX Community being to technical-driven, but I believe that it is slowly moving away from that.
      If you want to have a call or need more information, please let me know.
      Thanks, Mark