A great example of how SAP itself uses SAP NetWeaver BPM
Like any organization SAP also has processes that can benefit from the use of SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management (BPM).
In the latest SAP press publication “Applying Real-World BPM in an SAP Environment” you can explore the details of how SAP improved the post-merger migration of master data process by using the combination of SAP NetWeaver BPM, SAP NetWeaver Business Rules Management (BRM), and SAP BusinessObjects Data Services.
On 21 Jan 2011, I listened with excitement to a presentation by Atul Savur who is part of the SAP IT Transformation Services team of SAP America, Inc. led by National VP, Jason Fox. Atul works with SAP customers in building solutions with SAP technology offerings such as SAP NetWeaver BPM. A common question he faces from customers is not only how other customers use BPM for BUT also how SAP itself uses SAP NetWeaver BPM. Atul clearly understood the power of having SAP as a reference for SAP NetWeaver BPM and decided to take up the customers challenge. He discussed this with the Practice Manager, Lucy Eaves, and together they led the charge to improve the efficiency and value of a manual process in their department. Atul then spent time during his vacation to build a prototype of automating the investment decision and expenditure approval process with SAP NetWeaver BPM. The objective of his project was to:
- Replace the manual, e-mail based process with an automated process
- Provide managers/practice leads with a tool to track ongoing/completed investment projects and associated budget
Naturally the prototype was well received and he obtained the necessary funding from Lucille Eaves who is the Project Development Services community lead to develop version one of the system. The implementation successfully went live in September 2010 and since then 25 investment projects have been processed with the new system. SAP employees in the SAP America Field Services organization can now easily request investment approvals from within SAP’s internal Corporate Portal.
They are then prompted to submit their investment proposal for approval using an intuitive interface:
Responses from the users to this new solution have been awesome. Here are some of the quotes that Atul shared with me:
“What most impresses me about the application is its potential to drive consultant empowerment and innovation in progressing value-add internal projects for the business. I also like the focus on transparency and ease of use” Pam Chance, Sr. Director Services Operations
“This tool answers the gap between idea and action. Simply, every idea has a great potential of returns“ Shelly Ng, Platinum Technical Consultant
Atul highlights the following additional benefits of the system:
- Increased business efficiency and agility through automating a manual process.
- Increased reliability by eliminating the chances of tasks falling through the cracks.
- Increased accountability by providing investment status tracking capabilities.
- Improved process visibility by providing real-time statistics, and analytics on investments through dashboards
Motivated by the enthusiastic responses Atul has been working on further enhancements of the solution that are planned to go live still this quarter. Here are some of the features Atul has included in the new version:
- Developer can capture ad hoc status updates while working on the task.
- View all status updates for an investment.
- Request extension on an approved investment.
- Resubmit a rejected proposal.
- Notifications on missed deadlines.
- Analytics/reports for managers/practice leads:
Technically the project was built using:
- SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management for the process.
- Web Dynpro Java for the UIs.
- Composite Application Framework for the persistence and services.
- Federated Portal Network
- Visual Composer for Analytics
Atul and Lucy have also had requests from SAP field services in other regions, as well as other lines of business who are interested in implementing the automated process with SAP NetWeaver BPM for their regions. The tool’s design ensures that it can easily be localized. For example all the texts on the screen are not hard-coded but are stored externally. In this way the application can be implemented in any language e.g. German, Spanish, French, etc., with minimal effort. Also the application can very easily be leveraged for other investment approval processes, e.g. marketing spend requests, travel requests, equipment purchase requests, etc.
Thanks Atul for sharing this successful implementation of SAP NetWeaver BPM at SAP with the BPX community!
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