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This blog entry is part of a series of blog entries on Slipstream, an SAP Research prototype for Business Activity Management for SAP NetWeaver BPM. It is a follow up on last year’s blog entry and extends beyond mere monitoring.

After I detailed a lot of details of how we enabled business activity management for SAP NetWeaver BPM, this article sums it all up and applies it in an example case.

The intention of the scenario is to simulate a perfect order process. It consists of two parts: Order capturing and order processing. Order capturing comprises order reception, a check for credit worthiness and a check for availability. In case of exceptions, a sales manager has to intervene and may redirect the control flow of the process. After the order is released, order processing begins. A picking list is created for picking the goods and checking the picking result. Afterwards the goods are packed and shipped. We use two different shipment types. Express shipping is more expensive but faster than standard shipping. The different shipping types allow for staying below or close to the threshold of the average processing time of an order defined in the SLA. The evaluation in the gateway relies on external data that is calculated in real-time over multiple process instances.

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We decided to include the following key performance indicators in real-time to be able to judge the processes performance. These include:

  • Process and task runtimes and counts (over multiple instances)
  • Perfect order rate
  • Process context/ business data such as ordered items
  • Sales target prediction

And apart from historical data, we want to be able to access external data source such as a CRM system to include complaints. In order to calculate the scenario, we implemented the queries for the KPI in Aleri:

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This massive graph however does more than the calculation of KPI. It can also detect patterns such as duplicate orders and use SAP Business Rules Management to look up definitions of critical order and prediction thresholds which can be centrally managed.

The business activity management implementation is also able to perform process manipulations such as control flow adjustment and the suspension of process instance in case of detected patterns. Also, it can do alerting and send notifications through channels such as e-mail, SMS and Twitter messages for promotion purposes.

Below is a link to the video that explains the concept, scenario, and showcases the solution.

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Slipstream 2.0 has been a collaborative effort which could not have been done by one person. The current prototype has been developed in a collaboration of the SAP Research Center Brisbane in Australia with the European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS) at the University of Münster in Germany. The project team consisted of Felix Leif Keppmann, Jan-Philipp Friedenstab, Stefan Thiemann, Marcel Walter, Thomas Raffelsieper, Robert Malsch, and Bernd Schwegmann. The project was supervised by Martin Matzner, Oliver Müller, Prof. Dr. Jörg Becker, and myself.

If you have questions or application scenarios you would like to discuss, or if you are an SAP employee and want to demo this yourself, don’t hesitate to contact me. We are looking for that kind of feedback all the time. Slipstream will be part of the Innovation Weekend and Innovation Lab at TechEd 2010 in Berlin and Las Vegas. Hope to see you at TechEd 2010.

Keep in mind: Yes, it is a fully functioning implementation, but at this time it’s a prototype with a few hiccups, not an official SAP product. Feedback, suggestions for improvement, potential collaboration? Please let the author know.

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  1. Jean Pierre Le Lorier
    Christian,
    About 2 weeks ago I started to follow-you on this web. I have seen the  BAM funcionnality, a little weak, compared to what I have seen in TIBCO. What I have seen on you demo,seems very interesting, for several environments, and positon BPM as a much stronger contender.
    I understand this is a prototype. Could you elaborate on the following:
    – Slipstream is a set of functionnalities that have been devolopeed  by you with the vision to have a product available?
    – You are thinking to have a product available for the market?
    – Is it feasible for the field operationto develop something similar to sliptream funcionality?

    Any way congratulation for this project

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    1. Christian Janiesch Post author
      Thanks. Concerning your questions:
      Yes it is a research prototype that may never see the light of day as a product BUT it certainly has been developed with the idea in mind and it does look good (especially since people ask for it). So yes, product development and research are looking into this but I cannot make any statement on its availability.
      I am currently looking into making a version available for download which can be used by field, partners and the like to enable functionality on a standard 7.2 or 7.3 release without patching it. This way we can event-enable basic BPM functionality now. Let me know if you are interested!
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