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Avoiding the Build and They Will Come Approach

A BPX Guide to SAP Business Suite Value Scenarios 

Our collaboration team manager Michael Schwandt has a reputation for having a low tolerance threshold for marketing content (and blah blah).  So when he introduced me to Robb Bush, back around the time when SAP was getting ready to announce SAP Business Suite 7 launch, I was pretty excited.  After all, enough jokes had been circulating about the acronym of the name and certainly plenty of questions about the concepts of themes and value scenarios in BS7.  I was looking for a practitioner and a community-minded participant.  Someone walking the talk of the business suite.

I had already pulled up some internal presentations and was looking to understand what this approach was all about.  By reading and listening to available collateral what I pieced together was the following:

  • Up until around 2007 we(SAP) generally positioned individual applications rather than looking at the business suite
  • The SAP Business Suite integrates an application view with customer strategy, business priorities, and industry focus
  • The SAP Business Suite has natively integrated scenarios which are not siloed
  • These scenarios can be called value scenarios (or cross-functional processes) and serve to solve customer problems around the KPIs for a company’s primary differentiation drivers (which could also be called themes)
  • Each company has a number of primary drivers for differentiation
  • These drivers are value generation modules which in some parlance are called themes
  • Themes themselves have nothing to do with software or SAP. They drive awareness around high-level business topics
  • Themes represent the agenda of business roles: 3 themes that represent the agenda of the CFO, the CIO and Head of HR could be thought of respectively as Financial Excellence, Strategic IT and Best People and Talent

What emerged from the reading is that:

  1. You have a business driver – for example, Financial Excellence(theme)
  2. You have key stakeholders and roles – for this example of Financial Excellence the roles: CFO, Controller, Head of Shared Services(stakeholder)
  3. You have stakeholder goals and objectives -for the Financial Excellence theme an example goal: streamline financial processes and lower the cost of finance
  4. You have goals that can be viewed as cross-functional processes – for above theme, example is processes around Gaining Efficiency in Finance(value scenario)
  5. You have more granular steps to these processes – for example to gain efficiency in finance you would need accelerated global financial closes, broken further down into more implementation steps
  6. Lastly you have implementation content for value scenarios in solution manager content and scenario component lists. According to the reading “These are available to consulting, partners and customers. The solution manager content includes configuration documents for implementation of the value scenarios. The scenario component list explains which technical components and release combinations are needed to run the value scenario.”

 Links to more examples of these are found here.

While reading through more internal content I also was introduced to an executive white board concept for the value scenarios with corresponding “hell slide” and “heaven slide”. The former describes pain points. The later depicts the line of business – value scenario viewpoint with desired outcomes and key benefits for each aspect of the value scenario – which obviously means solving issues presented in the previous “hell slide”.

So Who Will be Our BPX Guider From Hell to Heaven?

When I finally met Robb Bush (virtually of course), I was struck by his straightforward manner and the very clear way he spoke of all the concepts above.  When he described his approach to the theme of Product and Service Leadership and further expanded his value scenario on continuous product and service innovation and explained that he could demonstrate value scenarios in the context of SAP, the software product company (ie how we SAP eat our own value scenario dogfood), I was instantly reminded of how Mark Scavillo and Ann Rosenberg captivated audiences last year describing how SAP employed BPM methodologies in SAP’s own process maturity model journey and decided to pair Robb with Ann for this year’s ASUG/Sapphire BPX pre-conference event. (see Another good reason to attend Sapphire/ASUG… for details)

And since our pre-conference day has traditionally had a very community-minded agenda, I wanted to invite the BPX community along for the ride (build).  Why?  Because Robb’s approach is refreshingly community-oriented and the session promises to be a build together rather than a “build and they will come” event.  And in terms of quality content for a BPX day, well, we all have our reputations to maintain.

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  • Hi Marilyn,Thanks for bringing this pre-conference session to the attention of our fellow SCN-ers.  This will be a great session – and it offers those traveling to ASUG/SAPPHIRE even more educational value.

    What’s that you say?  Someone’s not going to ASUG?  Don’t miss the best user-driven educational event of the year.

    See you there!

    • It will be good to have the workflow goddess in the bandstand.  Although bear in mind that the discussions at the workshop will not focus purely on solutions or technologies. A lot will be said about how SAP itself as a company, approaches its own process-scenario delivery process with our own products. So, in summary, the day won’t be “too technical”, although I fondly remember your own delivery of Workflow for Suits in past pre-conference days.  And yes, feedback for these are always quite enthusiastic.
  • I am very keen to attend and get several questions clarified – but my project might prevent me from travelling. My team has been talking about value scenarios for past few weeks.
    Here are some questions we are discussing now – specific are these scenarios? can we expedite blueprinting by having a template for say “billings and bookings for hi-tech industry” or some such?
    2.Are these integrated with solman?
    3. Is it right that these are always for core-processes, and edge processes will follow the SOA paradigm? And can all the parts of a given scenario orchestrated via services?
    4. How does one get trained in using them?

    • I’ve reached out to Ann Rosenberg to help clarify the solman content question.  That might mean an additonal posting or her appearance here.  As far as education, I did see a notification from SAP Education on new courses around SAP ERP Upgrade Positioning Enablement for SAP Partners DERPUP was the code.
      Other questions we will defer to Robb, Ann and those with Business Suite 7 experience.
    • The Value Scenarios are very specific and yes they need to be used during the Business Blueprint. The Value Scenarios are integrated into Solution Manager in the same way as the BPR content – you can view the different process levels, transactions, standard documentation, pre-defined test cases, link to the supported IMG object and services. BC-sets and pre-composite applications will also be available for some of the value scenarios.
      The BPX Training for Associate and Professional cover how to implement a Value Scenario both in respect to method and technology.
      I will during the ASUG Pre-Conference Workshop “SAP Business Suite Themes and Value Scenarios” illustrate in details how to implement a Value Scenario – it will be an example where we both look a the lifecyle of the process “Value Scenario” and the lifecycle of the solution which both will cover standard configuration and a composite application”. Ann
      • Thanks much, Marilyn, Susan and Ann.
        Let me go back to my team and discuss this some more – but I have a feeling that we will take the plunge soon.
  • Most companies have implemented SAP ERP systems with a view to automate their business processes.

    Approach 1:

    It usually starts with automation of their most common systems like Finance / Sales etc.
    Then they add more modules to the same to add to the existing automation and also to try and  develop their landscapes around a central theme.

    The central theme or value scenarios as I see them will help customers :
    a. Give direction to their ERP systems
    b. Target critical functional areas where they can gain ROI by bringing them to a central platform.

    However :
    Most companies atleast over the years have :
    a. Developed this central theme – like supply chain for example using existing technologies or stiching together best available options using a complex network of data transfers , XI etc etc.

    This has led to a stagnate point because the same has become so critical to their business that they do not want to touch it to improve the same or look at process efficiencies that can be got , especially at times like these. Also a process like the one outlined above would be something that should last for atleast 1 to 2 years where the transition happens one by one and does not happen overnight and that is a lot of money..

    b. Deploying the value scenario out of the box would not essentially apply to all because most of them already have most of the pieces fiigured out in terms of using existing facilities within the ERP system – be it file dumps using XI or BDCs to dump data into the backend etc…

    A: Customer base :
    What is the customer base being targeted ?
    Is it New customers or Upgrade customers to BS7 ?
    IMHO it can be summarized as :
    A. A customer who is getting into BS7 or someone who is upgrading to BS7? the more I think of it , the more it seems like value scenarios are suited for a new customer who gets a lot of things out of the box…
    B. A customer upgrading the same is looking IMHO on saving time and money on upgrades and also is of the knowledge that the current platform can support an initiative at a later point in time where the customer can go to a Value Scenario.

    B: What does the customer get from the same ?

    We all know about the documentation available on Value Scenarios and BS7 but then a lot of it has been slideware .
    What can be done I feel is – something like the Ramp Up process – get customers to work with SAP – publish detailed case studies on what their landscape was like and how long and what effort it took to get them on to the value scenario and most importantly – savings realized out of the same.

    C: How hard or easy is it ?
    Addressed in Point B

    D : Perception
    Each customer percieves their processes as something that they are proud of and almost always custom to their market conditions and needs. Many people do not like their processes. Yes a lot of processes have to be compliant but then there is a suttle difference between standard and compliant…
    A typical customer as outlined above will have to be convinced that BS7 value scenarios will be of help.

    E: Roadmap
    A lot of consulting is required where the customer can be advised with a roadmap for their ERP landscape and come out with something that they can see value in. This I would say is the most critical piece of the puzzle. Give the customers a roadmap , this might andin most cases will involve some serious consulting and system assessments for which you need an ecosystem to support the same.

    It is like saying that you can remodel your house and you get everything out of the box – but you need someone to figure out the million things that come out of the box and see what fits and what does not… and this would mean a steep learning curve for the consulting community and SAP too because they have to get the education right within the customer and user community and make sure that

    There is an old Indian Saying ( India as in Hindustan !!!) which goes like
    “Do not put your leg into a hole without knowing how deep it is ” – Crudely translated – but the origins are in Tamil… and
    ” Be careful when you dig a well – you might end up waking up an old ghost and complicate things as they stand currently ” – Again Translated from Tamil…

    These are my opinions and not that of my organizations. I have also given what I think about the same … I might be wrong on many counts – would like to apologize for any gaffes in advance!!!

    • Well, my leg is dangling in the abyss because I’m new to the topic as well, and have tried my hand here playing back (as in reiterating) that which I believe I understood from the internal training, materials, explanations, documentations. As Jon Reed said in a comment to Robb’s post: “some of this content is hidden in plain sight”.  I’m relying on Robb to continue the conversation in an additional post to begin to address your questions. And I believe that will take us beyond a slideware approach to the conversation.  I’m relying on our field consultants and partners to pipe in here too, because you are asking for examples and experience, and not just theory; a very legitimate request.