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SAP BusinessObjects Strategy Management and SAP StreamWork

Editor’s note: This is a guest blog post from Laura Mikovsky, senior consultant at Column5.

SAP StreamWork is changing the way organizations unite people for project collaboration problem resolution. Using SAP StreamWork, resources create activities representative of internal or external initiatives, and within these activities manage meetings, create and monitor time- and resource-bound action items, identify key decisions, and engage in informal discussions relevant to the initiative.

SAP Partners Column5 Consulting, LLC, and Cipher Business Solutions have leveraged the SAP StreamWork open-source application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with SAP BusinessObjects Strategy Management, a solution within the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite. Strategy Management enables organizations to monitor performance toward achievement of strategic goals, facilitate visibility and accountability, create and manage initiatives associated with strategic performance, and embrace strategic programs.

Through integration with SAP StreamWork, Strategy Management users can now take strategic initiative management to the next level. With direct SAP StreamWork activity linkage to strategic elements such as strategic objectives and KPIs and to Strategy Management reports and dashboards, users can embrace the collaborative capabilities of SAP StreamWork to manage strategic initiatives with increased accountability, task management, document management, and decision-support.

Let’s look at some of the key features of the integrated solution:
Features Overview

The integrated Strategy Management-SAP StreamWork solution includes a dedicated toolbar utilized to launch account synchronization, activity-linkage, activity creation, and information-sharing capabilities, as well as to launch a user’s SAP StreamWork home page, from within the Strategy Management business user interface.

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Figure 1: SAP StreamWork toolbar in Strategy Management end-user interface

The SAP StreamWork toolbar enables business users to:

  • Authorize Strategy Management to access their SAP StreamWork account
  • Synchronize activity details between Strategy Management and SAP StreamWork environments
  • Capture screenshots of Strategy Management pages and post them directly to an SAP StreamWork activity
  • Embed links to specific Strategy Management pages within a SAP StreamWork activity
  • Create new SAP StreamWork activities
  • Attach SAP StreamWork activities to Strategy Management objects

Let’s look at a use case that illustrates how the integrated Strategy Management-SAP StreamWork environment enables collaboration within and across organizations to drive strategic initiatives.

Use case: Multi-organization performance issue identification and resolution

Katherine, the CFO of a clothing retailer, recognizes that the organization is not meeting expected sales growth targets (Figure 2). Leveraging Strategy Management’s dimensional drilling capabilities, she determines that sub-target sales are linked to specific products. She appoints a senior business analyst, Jeffrey, who has detailed knowledge across product groups, to manage resolution of this issue.

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Figure 2: Strategy map reflecting sub-target performance for “Maintain consistent sales growth” objective

To better understand the sources and scope of the performance issue, Jeffrey goes through several levels of drilling from the corresponding strategic objective, “Maintain consistent sales growth” (Figure 3). After evaluating performance of the Net Sales KPI across products, he determines that several product lines are underperforming but are on an upward trend, indicating that performance among these products is improving.  However, one product line, women’s jeans, is underperforming and trending down.  To investigate further, he creates a report entitled “Net Sales Target Deviation by Product” to detail the percent deviation from sales targets for each product group and line. Through this report, Jeffrey learns that, in the last six months, sales within the women’s jeans line decreased by 20 percent.

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Figure 3: Drilling pathway from strategy map to KPI details, accompanying report

To identify the root cause of and address the decline of women’s jeans sales, Jeffrey creates an SAP StreamWork activity (Figure 4) to manage the issue. He attaches it to the target deviation report so net sales can easily be monitored throughout the activity’s life cycle. He then sends activity invitations to the women’s product group manager, the women’s jeans product line manager, regional store managers, and Katherine, the CFO, to initiate the resolution.

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Figure 4: “Create Activity” window in SAP StreamWork-enabled Strategy Management environment

Through a series of meetings, which are tracked and documented in the SAP StreamWork activity, the team determines that the decrease in women’s jeans sales is the result of an unusual number of returns in the last six months. Regional store managers consult with store managers and learn that customers are reporting construction flaws with the jeans. Further investigation indicates that the flawed products originate from one of two manufacturing plants that supply women’s jeans to the firm.

This knowledge in hand, Jeffrey adds key resources from the manufacturing plant to the SAP StreamWork activity. These resources are not users of the clothing retailer’s Strategy Management system, but, through reports and screen captures linked to the SAP StreamWork activity, they are provided access to supporting data. Collectively, this cross-organization team identifies and rectifies the manufacturing issue contributing to the flawed products. The team also comes to a resolution to compensate the clothing retailer for the lost sales resulting from the flawed products.

Throughout the activity life cycle, all corresponding meetings, decisions, action items, and informal discussions are recorded in SAP StreamWork to support a central source of record for issue resolution. Over time, the team witnesses the net sales deviation for the women’s jeans line steadily decrease in the linked report. When the sales deviation moves from a negative to a positive value, indicating above-target performance, the team agrees that the issue has been resolved. Everyone involved in the activity signs off on the issue’s resolution, and Jeffrey closes the activity in SAP StreamWork.

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