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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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).