Plan Phase: Business Process Management (BPM) Methodology
In SOA Methodology Blog Series, Part I: How to disenchant the haunted SOA library of this blog series I already provided an overview of the new methodology for SOA implementations (Methodology for Accelerated Transformation to SOA) and its positioning. The blog should provide the big picture of this methodology and corresponding SOA implementations. Furthermore I wrote about the complexity of SOA projects and the different facets. A key aspect to master this complexity is to design your processes and plan the solution transformation to SOA properly.
But where do you start with it? This is actually what the “Plan” phase of the methodology is about. It provides guidance for business process management resulting in the respective business & solution transformation.
In general this part of the methodology can be used for any kind of SAP implementation projects, since it can result in different implementation options, such as SAP standard implementation or SOA / composition. In the context of our methodology we assume the SOA / composition case of course.
It comprises the improvement of customers’ business processes and the subsequent mapping to the corresponding implementation options in the context of an initial architecture guide. This is supported by a variety of accelerators/templates and provides a homogenous view and defined deliverables.
The methodology’s “Plan” phase consists of the four sub phases: 1) Calibration 2) As-Is Analysis 3) To-Be Design 4) Solution Transformation
Here a brief description if the single phases:
The objective of the Calibration phase is to reach agreement on a list of processes that are to be analyzed and optimized in the next phases. The first task is to understand the customer’s business and IT strategy. This is a basic requirement for optimizing the processes and ensuring that optimization projects adhere to the overall strategy. The second step is to focus on the processes that are considered to have significant optimization potential.
Based on the understanding of the process landscape and the related business success factors, processes can be evaluated and prioritized.
2) As-Is Analysis
After agreement is reached on the processes that are to be optimized, the objective of this phase is to understand the as-is situation of the selected processes and the IT landscape, and to identify weaknesses and pain points. Having selected the relevant parameters (roles, costs, time, data and so on) for the process analysis, it is necessary to classify the processes based on their optimization potential to eliminate identified weaknesses. After the agreement on the processes that are to be optimized, the as-is situation of the processes is documented in detail. All weaknesses identified are clustered in order to identify those with the greatest impact on the business.
3) To-Be Design
After the customer’s business has been understood within the Calibration phase, and the relevant processes have been analyzed in respect to their As-Is situation, the optimized To-Be processes are going To Be defined. In terms of the To-Be process design, different aspects have To-Be taken into account: non-functional requirements; identified weaknesses that need To-Be eliminated; the As-Is IT architecture that needs to be considered in later implementation phases; or organizational situation that possibly needs to be adopted as well. Depending on the target solution (e.g. SAP Standard) a solution mapping to standard functionality is being done during the To-Be design of the processes. The result of this phase contains detailed descriptions of the processes that need to be realized and their mapping to possible standard solutions. Identified gaps and relating process requirements are specified in more detail to support a later custom or SOA based solution development.
4) Solution Transformation
The goal of this phase is to provide a basis for information and decision-making for a possible subsequent implementation project. As mentioned above, in this context we assume a SOA / composition solution. But basically each of the four bullet points listed below represents a solution track in an implementation project. For example, core implementation refers to the configuration settings required for the implementation of an SAP core solution like ERP, CRM or SCM.
- Core implementation
- Core enhancement
- Third-party solution
Finally, this phase will result in its a Business Blueprint as its deliverable. This document basically contains all key deliverables required as input for the “Build” phase. To name of few of these: Completed business process list stating solution approaches for each business process; Transformation roadmap as hand-over presentation with milestones and actions to be completed; Architecture overview of the solution; Identity management and security concept for the solution; Requirements for master data concept. Hopefully this blog provided some more insight to the “Plan” phase and illustrated a starting point for approaching SOA implementation projects. For further details, please have look at the Methodology for Accelerated Transformation to SOA itself.
Within the next part of this blog series I will focus on the methodology’s “Build” phase: provisioning of enterprise services and their consumption with composite applications.