In Creating BPM awareness within your organization. Part I of this blog we left off having modeled the process that we want to implement, in order to show the end result of Business Process Management, rather than just showing off the tools that we use.
We quickly decided that the process steps being performed by the sales rep. in order to initially register the task should be handled by a single application. These are the steps that it covers:
As I mentioned in the first part, this is all about showing how nice looking and intuitive your daily work can be by using the BPM tools offered by SAP suite. So we put quite a bit of effort into making this “Task initializer” application be just that. Here’s how it turned out:
As you can see, we have designed the application much like a Visual Composer wizard. But in order to bring a little more wow-effect we added some flavor in the form of new graphics.
The steps are exactly the same as in the process:
- Assign customer.
- Describe task.
- Set task conditions (stuff like, if mileage and hotel/meal costs can be invoiced to the customer.
- Summary and create.
I’d like to dwell a little more on the graphics showing the step you’re working on:
Besides looking nice we wanted to add some features to the step guide. First of all you’re able to click each image or link to jump directly to the step. Secondly a check mark graphic shows you if you have completed the step in compliance with the validation we set up for that ste. This includes filling out mandatory fields etc:
Another neat thing we added is this little icon:
Which, when clicked on, starts a tutorial movie with narration that explains how to use the application. For the fun of it, we made i star two danish children TV dolls who takes you through it all – perhaps we had a bit too much cola the night we came up with that idea ;).
Even though it’s business applications that we’re building we shouldn’t underestimate the effect of good looks in the.
In addition to the application above we created an offline interactive pdf file (sorry about the danish localization):
The PDF has the exact same inputs as the application, and we included it in order to show that possibility to work both offline and online as a sales rep. in our process. The saved PDF can be loaded directly into the online application transferring all data so we avoid having to retype it.
When our sales rep has filled out all the necessary data about the task and pressed save he is done. The process then switches to the Task Contoller role. This is one of the more interesting times when designing the processes – the places where the process crosses the line to another role:
Since Galaxy wasn’t out when we created this we decided to use CAF Guided Procedures to control the flow of this part of the process. This means that that the Task Controller gets an entry in her work list that she has to take over and “do something” to the task in the process (again, sorry about the localization):
Clicking on the task opens up an application built, in appearance, like the sales reps Initialize Task application, but with her specific needs in focus, making the Staffing part of the application quite central:
The process moves on from here going through the customer and consultants using various frontends. The whole demo takes while to go through, remeber that the part of the process that we’ve been looking at is only the first of three. So I won’t go through it all in this blog or my fingers would curl up and cramp on me…
Coming back to the point of it all. Showing what an implemented process can look like, really opens up the eyes of the organization. We’re showing this demo, in our local market, to anyone who wants to meet with us and everywhere the reactions from IT departments are:
We want to build applications and workflows like that.
And from the business:
We want to work like that!
Sometimes we get another reaction though, and I’m sure that some of you reading this is thinking it as well: “There’s nothing new in this. These are just interactive forms, webdynpro applications and CAF guided procedures. We’ve been doing those for years”. To those remarks I can only reply: “Stop thinking in tools and machines!!!”. Yes we’ve had the technologies for a while, but working with them based on well defined business processes and tailoring them to the specific roles that need to work with the process, that’s BPM, at least from the end users perspective. When, at the same time, we’re utilizing Enterprise Services and UI building blocks in order to get the implementation costs down, we are able to implement processes that will empower organizations and let them spend their time optimizing their way of work, instead of trying to wrestle manual procedures and applications that are too generic and not intuitive enough.
So there you have it. This is our way of showing what BPM does for the end users in a company. There are a few dos and don’t s when building a demo like this that I would like to point out. First of all remember that it’s “just” a demo. Don’t go looking for BAPIs and Enterprise Services for all your backend connectivities and don’t get too hung up on what framework you use to implement it. Create the whole thing using HTML and notepad if that works for you, but make sure it’s interactive and not just pictures. On the other hand make sure that you don’t promise anything in the demo that can’t be implemented in real life, using the tools that you mean to be using. If, for example, you plan to use WebDynpro, then don’t create the demo with a lot of mouse over stuff.
I realize that all of this may seem like a lot of work, just to get the attention of your organization and have them realize that Business Process Management is an excellent path to go down. So if you’re not feeling up to the task of implementing a demo yourself, then contact your business partners locally or SAP themselves and ask them for great examples of BPM in action.
I hope this blog has given you some insights into how to create awareness about Business Process Management and has provided you with a way to start working with processes in your organization or with your customers.