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SAP BPM: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

The current Blog would underline and publish several considerations on SAP BPM. Such as, SWAT analysis (based on a full experience with multiple projects), and gathering the opinions of subject matter expert that have been involved in the design, testing, and implementation phases.

The goal of this Blog is to gather information and suggestions for using BPM technology throughout IT lifecycle.  At the end of this Blog we ask that you provide comments, opinions and your point of view.

“Swatting” a project on SAP BPM technology means to consider the following strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats…..

SWAT table SAP BPM.jpg

Business view: increase the level of maturity of internal business process management, by simplifying and automating the procedures.

Using paperless processes will drastically cut the cost incurred by the company; Other benefits include: reducing manual handling of paper, instant delivery and from a clear audit trail (process traceability and visibility). It will also avoid high production and storage costs, archival, search and retrieval troubles; saving the company significant time and money by improving the company ROI.

Automated processes permit to reduce errors and process lead times, providing a step by step guide, made available to each user involved in the process activities, therefore making it easy to understand the process guided procedures with a clear definition of roles and responsibilities.

Improving business processes through a standardization and content integration enhancement, will optimize time required for information sharing across different business units (calls, emails, papers, etc…)

Cultural resistance is one of the major threats inside a BPM project, because, inevitably, things are indeed going to change. Cultural resistance should be used as important and useful feedback, as well as a potential scale of success for the project: what would cause end-users/stakeholders to be hesitant?  It could be the lack of certain processes in the project.

The big opportunity for a company is to take advantages of using BPM to increase the level of maturity of internal business process management, by simplifying and automating the procedures.

IT view: the more technology closes the gap between IT and Business, the better chances it will have to succeed.

But let me move on from business consideration and switch to Information Technologies.

The use of BPM is a natural way to switch to the Service Oriented Architecture technologies, because those technologies require the interaction of several applications of different nature, and BPM will consume the services of those applications. SOA is based on the use of standards that take on a huge meaning also in BPM.

At first glance, SAP BPM seems to be not really flexibility, therefore a low adaptability to the business change requests and excessive timing to update the process and to align the design to the business needs. But, actually, all these problems can be overtaken counting on a team with a strong technical known-out.

Therefore, behind the scenes, it is necessary to understand the correct way to develop a methodical approach. The following lists a few key suggestions to keep in mind:

  1. It is important to avoid complex BPM; it is better to divide the macro-process into multiple and simpler processes. This will enable you to easily govern and manage the process.
  2. Creating a Developer Component for each BPM assists in defining compiling and building simpler processes.
  3. Import the context in the BPM as soon as you are sure it is the final version. Continuous changes jeopardizes project schedules and timelines, causes misunderstandings, lack of comprehension of a project scope, and  disruptions to BPM processes.

I will appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Sorry, I don't have a hands-on experience to share.
      But I have some questions.
      I understand the benefits and opportunities brought by BPM. Is it an exercise that you take up before designing an IT solution. But what about organizations that already run on SAP? What is the driver for them to undertake BPM retroactively? Why will they do that? I believe there will be stiff resistance!

      I liked the image of cake and icing!! (made me hungry too). But can you elaborate on why BPM is an icing on the top of SOA?


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks for this useful feedback.
      It is not a simple to answer your first question because there are several factors to consider before to undertake a project on a client that already runs another BPM solution.
      In general, I think that it doesn't exist a technology that is better than another one, but each time it is important to consider the context where we are going to work, the business requirements, the client profile, the technology already used, the market strategies, the user habits and so on. For example, how many processes have to be re-engineered? Does the effort justify the advantages that we are going to get at the end? I don't know all the BPM technologies, but the following blog shows the differences between them and could be a good start point, in order to understand the additional value using SAP Netweaver BPM in your scenario:
      2 reasons why we like NetWeaver BPM for Data Governance

      About the second question, Web Services create compatibility and interoperability among various heterogeneous systems and this is the Key concept of Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). In SAP Netweaver BPM everything is based on services, for example it is possible to call a process or a BRM rule through a standard Web Service. Besides, SAP Netweaver BPM is able to call external services, like retrieving user data from SAP ECC or storing data in RDBMS (using CAF Business Logic) and so on.
      When a Process is started, it is possible to call Web Services either from the User Interface in JWD when a Task for the User is created or either during the process steps as an Automated Activity/Task. The concept of service is strictly connected to BPM and SOA.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Well, I must say that I have never used BPM.  However, after reading this blog, I will investigate it some more.  It made me want to explore the tool.  

      It does look like a good way to work with our business community.  Maybe it can be used to help modularize development.  (As you can tell, I don't know a lot about the subject)

      This was a good blog for an introduction to BPM.  I like that the drawbacks were discussed.