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Author's profile photo Bernd Schmitt

Architecture of Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB)


I want to continue the series of blogs “Process Observer for Built-In Processes” (POB)  by discussing the architecture of Process Observer.

The Introducing New Component: Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB) of the series has given an overview of what Process Observer is about, what approach it follows, its scope in the current release, how it is available, and where you can hear about it at SAP TechEd 2011.

Architectural Overview

Process definitions for Process Observer are stored in a new Process Metadata Repository. And for reference initial sample content is delivered.

Application events are captured by the process observer, which then matches them against the process definitions and the activities (= steps) defined in the repository.

Any matches made on definition level are handed over to the process log manager who correlates the events with predecessor events to process instances. The process instance describes a real process flow in the application. For the connection, business object relationship information is used. Process instances can have a predefined system status, and a user-defined status.

The process instances are stored in the process log, where they can be accessed from the process monitor (real-time process instance view), or for analytics purposes.

High-Level Architecture of Process Observer.

Connection with Application Events

At the moment, the process observer is able to observe BOR or workflow events and it provides a direct event API. Therefore, a specific connection is provided that captures the event information and hands it over to the Process Observer if corresponding process definitions exist (publish & subscribe principle). The handling of events in the process observer happens asynchronously and is decoupled from the application session. While the instrumentation will be detailed in a separate blog post, let me point out here that even in areas that do not provide BOR events, many generic frameworks do provide BOR events, e.g. change documents, the post processing framework or BRFplus.

A connector for non-BOR events and for events from external systems is currently being developed.


The BOR Event Connection to the Process Observer

E2E Process Federation Concept

As you read in the first blog post, the process monitor supports viewing end-to-end (E2E) processes across systems. To achieve this, a federation concept is used, supported by a central E2E process registry. One of the systems containing the Process Observer component is configured to act as the E2E process registry for the system landscape, no additional system or component is required.

The E2E process registry contains information about process connections between systems on a process definition level. The communication between process monitor and process log works over the so called “process facade”. The process facade queries the process registry for possible connections, and then retrieves connected process instances from the remote systems.

E2E Process Federation in the Process Monitor.

Analytics Architecture

In the process repository you are able to define Process KPIs: counts and durations for process activities (= steps) involving more complex conditions, for example:

     “Count the number of changes of Sales Order after first releasing the Sales Order”

     “Measure the duration between the creation of the Sales Order and the first creation of an Outbound Delivery”

“Classifications” allow to process a Business Rule Framework plus rule, and assign a classification value to a process instance that lets you use it during analytics for filtering and aggregation.

     “Classification of Process Instance according to Sales Volume”

At runtime, the metrics engine calculates the relevant KPI values, and persists them in the process log. So they are available for both analytics and monitoring.


The Analytics Architecture of Process Observer.

DataSources allow the extraction of process log information to the SAP Business Warehouse (BW). Example BI content, including a sample dashboard, is provided for Process Observer [InfoArea: Cross-Application Components – Process Orchestration (0CA_POC)].

The DataSources are directaccess enabled, so they can also be accessed via VirtualProviders from the BW for operational reporting without replication of data.

The DataSources are also released for external usage, so they  can be used for other ETL consumers like 3rd party through SBO Data Services or SAP HANA.

In Business Suite Foundation 7.31 (part of edition 7i2011) Operational Data Providers are also provided.  These can be used to build and execute BI queries and dashboards on the operational data in the backend. A Business Warehouse Accelerator can also be connected.

In 7.31, we  support Enterprise Search for process instances.

Business Application Area  and Business Function

Process Observer is assigned the new business application area CA-EPT-POC  “Process Orchestration for Built-In Processes”. Using this topic area you will find further notes relevant for Process Observer.

To use Process Observer you will need to activate Business Function: FND_EPT_PROC_ORCH_11 “Infrastructure for Core Process Monitoring & Analytics”.

The next blog post will explain how you Setup of Component Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB), then we demonstrate some Monitor Sales Order Processing with Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB), and we give an introduction how you canCreate Process Definition for Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB).

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