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Hello,

 

My name is Bernd Schmitt, and I will be writing  a series of blog posts about our new component, “Process Observer for Built-In Processes” (POB),  which is available in the ABAP stack of Business Suite 7i2010.

 << Update on availability: Process Observer is also available in S/4HANA! >>

I’d also like to introduce my colleague Jens-Christoph Nolte, who will also write articles for this series.

 

Let’s start with the basics:

What is Process Observer about?

Most business processes within the Business Suite are based on programmed but configurable business logic using ABAP. We call these “built-in” processes as opposed to workflows that are “modeled” and driven by some kind of engine. /wp-content/uploads/2011/09/workflow_built_in_82019.png
Different Kinds of Process Orchestration: Built-In Processes versus Workflow

 

While workflows are reasonably easy to monitor, built-in processes do not offer any easy means to manage, or even just “see” them, at run-time. Monitoring lead-times, KPI calculation and alerts based on KPIs, SLA handling based on KPI thresholds, is not easily possible. Some applications have found specific solutions for these problems, but these solutions are not applicable for a wider area of applications.  Process Observer is going to give a general solution to this problem.

 

The Approach

 

As a prerequisite, you provide a simple process definition, just containing the list of steps (= activities) that you want to monitor. No specification of predecessor, successor, or other relationship is required. Then you correlate each step with an application event (= task).

/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/process_definition_82020.png
A Section of a Process Definition.

 

The central runtime component, the Process Observer, will correlate application events during application execution with the defined model, and then create process instances in a process log. If defined, KPIs may also be calculated at runtime.

A process monitor allows real-time access to the process log. Analytics is available through BI.

 

The Scope

 

In the current release, Process Observer features a simple, straight-forward modeling environment to create process definitions. The definitions support versioning, process status, and KPI definition based on process steps (= activities). For more complex definitions the Business Rule Framework plus is incorporated.

At runtime, Process Observer can process BOR events and workflow events. (For further information on BOR and workflow events, see: Complete Guide for Events in Workflows in SAP ECC 6.0.) But it also provides a direct event API, see Process Observer (POB) Direct Event API for Logging Processes from SAP and Non-SAP Systems .

The process monitor allows flexible access to the process log, showing process instances, their steps (= activities) and calculated KPI values. It supports end-to-end process visibility across systems.

/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/process_monitor_82021.png
A Sample Process Log: From Sales Order to Outbound Delivery.

Data Sources allow the extraction of data to a BW system, as well as direct access from the BW system. For analytics we provide specific BI Content for Process Observer and a sample Xcelsius dashboard.

The following is delivered with Process Observer:

  • Sample content for process definitions
  • A set of administrative tools to test the set-up and the process definitions through extended simulations
  • Reports to delete obsolete data

 

/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/dashboard2_82025.png
A Sample Dashboard: Lead Time from Sales Order to Outbound Delivery and Count of Sales Order Changes

 

Additional functionality in the areas of threshold processing and alerting to support service level agreements (SLAs), and an alternative event API, that can also be addressed from external event providers should be available soon. The availability will be announced in this blog series.

 

Value Proposition of Process Observer

Please read this article from my colleague Matthias Saettele about the Business value being addressed by Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB) for the SAP Business Suite.

 

POB’s Relationship with the Networked Solutions (NWS) architecture program

The Networked Solutions (NWS) architecture program has been established by SAP to effectively address today’s and tomorrow’s needs of business and IT in hybrid landscapes by creating a single architecture blueprint that defines how SAP and non-SAP solutions behave as one and  to make sure that the “pieces fit together”. NWS Qualities define the non-functional capabilities, coherence and interoperability and serve as the baseline for a consistent NWS architecture.

 

Process visibility enabled through Process Observer is a corner stone of the NWS Quality “End-to-End Process Orchestration”. End-to-end Process Orchestration includes:

  • Process Modeling
  • Blueprinting and Process Configuration
  • Process Integration
  • Process Extensibility and Flexibility
  • Process Automation and Workflow
  • Process Monitoring and Analytics
  • Process Consistency and Compliance

 

Process Observer Software Availability

Process Observer is available for the following releases of Business Suite 7:

  • Business Suite 7: SP11 of the Business Suite Foundation Layer (SAP_BS_FND) 701, or
  • Business Suite Edition 7i2010: SP06 of SAP_BS_FND 702, or
  • Business Suite Edition 7i2011: SP00 of SAP_BS_FND 731

 

You will find information about Process Obsserver in the Release Notes of Business Suite Foundation Layer.

 

BI Content for Process Observer is available from:

  • SAP NetWeaver 7.0 BI Content Add-On 6 SP 02 and Extension
  • SAP NetWeaver 7.3 BI Content Add-On 6 SP 01 and Extension

 

Continuous improvement of Process Observer will be shipped through Support Packages. In our blog, we’ll keep you informed about new features.

 

Find more about Process Observer at TechED 2011

You can meet us at SAP TechEd 2011 in Las Vegas – Bangalore – Madrid by attending any of the following sessions:

  • Hands-on session “Process Visibility, Monitoring, and Analytics for Suite Core Processes” (PMC264).
  • Lecture “Big Picture Process Orchestration from an Application Point of View” (PMC212): a bit more general, but still with focus on Process Monitoring and Analytics. View the recording of PMC212 from TechED Las Vegas.
  • Lecture “The SAP Architecture for a Consistent Product Experience” (TEC106): more on NWS with an appearance of Process Observer.

 

The Architecture of Process Observer for Built-In Process (POB) and look more closely at the technical level and how things actually work. We will follow-up with theSetup of Component Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB) and then show how Process Observer looks to a user, by demonstrating Monitor Sales Order Processing with Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB). After this we will show you, how you can Create Process Definition for Process Observer for Built-In (POB).

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12 Comments

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  1. Sascha Wenninger
    This looks like a great idea, much in line with ’emergent’ design of processes, and getting useful intelligence from the processes as they actually are in your organisation. Very agile! 🙂

    I’m looking forward to finding out more and will try to catch one of the sessions at TechEd.

    Sascha

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    1. Bernd Schmitt Post author
      Hi Sascha,

      we are really happy about getting your positive feedback on our new component! Please watch also out nexts posts that will provide even more information on how PMA works, and how it can be used.

      We are looking forward to meeting you and discussing with you at TechEd!

      Bernd

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    1. Bernd Schmitt Post author
      Hi Thierry,

      I see you are – among others – discussing SAP modeling tools as well as Project Gateway in your own blog :-).

      On your question: according to SLD SAP_BS_FND 702 is part of SAP CRM 7.0 EHP 1. So, if you have SP06 of SAP_BS_FND installed in the stack, you will actually will be able to use PMA there.

      Watch out: we are soon going to give the howto-setup PMA information and create a first model for monitoring in this blog. At TechEd you would see that mainly in Hands-On Session PMC264.

      Best Regards,
      Bernd

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      1. Thierry CRIFASI
        Can’t wait until the next Blog then. In the meantime, I will have SAP_BS_FND 702 SP06 installed on our CRM7 box.
        Wish I could attend all the hands-on session I would like to in Madrid….
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  2. Bernd Schmitt Post author
    As now available, I added the link to the recording of lecture “Big Picture Process Orchestration from an Application Point of View” (PMC212) from TechED Las Vegas.

    Bernd

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    1. Jens-Christoph Nolte

      Hi Renato,

      sorry, I’m late answering this… and I am not sure if I have a perfect answer.

      At this point, POB and SAP EM are  not related. Obviously ideas and use cases from SAP EM have not been avoided actively, but strictly speaking it is not an evolution of any sorts.

      SAP EM is very strong in its native surroundings, having content and instrumentation.

      POB is a much more generic tool, that is available for all major Business Suite systems. Technically it would be possible to connect SAP EM to POB and leverage the strength of both.

      Best regards,

      Christoph

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  3. Jochen Damzog

    I would be very interested to know how to incorporate non SAP applications or services into process observer. Is there any information on that? Are there public api s or service interface definitions provided by SAP?

    Regards,

    Jochen

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    1. Bernd Schmitt Post author

      Hi Jochen,

      with SAP_BS_FND 702 SP 08 (~ ERP EhP 5) an RFC interface is available that can be used by SAP and non-SAP systems to provide events directly to Process Observer. It is a mass-enabled, but synchronous call.

      It is also available for the releases SAP_BS_FND 701 SP 11 (~ ERP EhP4) and SAP_BS_FND SP 02 (~ ERP EhP6).

      As we have a couple of new features like this, I plant to add a new blog post explaining them soon.

      Regards,

      Bernd

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  4. Trimurthulu Bandaru

    Until now I was thinking BPM would be best suitable for OP-int solutions.

    But we can successfully use POB into SAP OP-int and can deliver analytics for any transaction.

    Regards

    -Trim

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    1. Jens-Christoph Nolte

      Hi Trim,

      yes, certainly. But it is not a question of BPM or POB, it is a question of what data/processes you are interested in. If you need to look at Suite (ERP etc.) processes, POB will be the right choice. If you are running processes in NW BPM, you’d want to look at those processes. If you are doing both – you can put either data into OPInt.

      Best regards,

      Christoph

      (0) 

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