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Introduction

Planning processes in enterprises are often complex, time-consuming, have many loops and needs for coordination.
Besides, many systems are usually involved, e.g. Excel for marketing planning, SAP ERP for cost center planning, a third-party tool for liquidity planning and SAP BW-IP or SAP BPC for P&L and balance sheet planning.

It’s difficult to monitor the current status of single subplans in all organizational units. Deadlines are checked manually.Eventually, an audit-proof system for planning activities does not exist at all so you can’t say anything about the quality of the overall planning process.

So why not thinking about a system supporting the planning workflow, enabling both process owners and participants to monitor the status in real-time and thus improve transparency of your planning processes?

After many BPM and enterprise planning projects, I would like to share my experiences with you.

Approach with SAP NetWeaver BPM

SAP NetWeaver BPM is part of strategic integration product SAP Process Orchestration. You model your workflow in standard notation BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), assign human activities to user interfaces, assign automated activities to web services or RFCs and finally deploy the process model on the Java application server.

The workflow can be started by calling a web service from any system. The workflow engine now processes the process model. In case of reaching a human activity, the users assigned to it are informed automatically.

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SAP NetWeaver BPM: Combining any application, user interface and services/function calls in one process model

The big advantage is that from 7.3 onwards, you can use the BPM API which allows you to start processes and complete tasks also from any external system.

This means that the cost center responsible planning in ERP system (e.g. transaction KP06) can finish his BPM task from ERP side, the user who is planning balance sheet data in SAP BW-IP can finish his task from there, the user planning marketing campaigns in Excel can finish his task from there etc.

SAP NetWeaver BPM takes care of deadlines, can initiate escalation workflows, send custom emails and provides process visualization out of the box.

Benefits

You can benefit from this approach in many respects:

  • Efficient management and governance of planning processes
  • Integration of any planning tool (ERP, Excel, SAP BPC, SAP BW-IP, SAP Visual Composer, 3rd-party planning tool)
  • SAP NetWeaver as strategic workflow system (not only for planning processes)
  • Realization of mobile planning scenarios
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Deadline handling
  • Alerting in combination with escalation workflows
  • Automatical sending of emails
  • Transparency for process owner and process participants
  • Operational process monitoring for process owners, e.g. with CubeServ Process Monitoring template
  • Process analytics, e.g. with CubeServ BI Content Process Analytics for analyzing average and overall lead times

Conclusion

By using SAP NetWeaver BPM for modelling and orchestrating your enterprise planning processes, you can gain more insight into status and quality of your planning processes than in the past.

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Model, manage, analyze, improve planning processes and integrate all planning applications/tools

Of course, you have to consider the costs for licensing, setting-up and maintaining the system.

Nevertheless, the ROI should be excellent if you consider and use SAP NetWeaver BPM not only for planning processes but as the strategic workflow system.


Finally, this leads to streamlining and improving your processes.


I’m already excited about your comments.

Of course, you can also contact me directly via sebastian.zick@cubeserv.com.

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1 Comment

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  1. Jocelyn Dart

    Hi Sebastian,

    Thanks for sharing and I agree it’s an interesting option to use the BPM API for communicating from other SAP solutions and from 3rd parties.  Of course, BPM does have reporting and planning capabilities through the SAP NetWeaver Administrator, through Visual Composer, through BI, and I hear of more facility for this coming with BPM API in the future.

    However I’d be interested in your opinions on what exactly needs to be monitored with regards to planning processes?  From my experiences on project, working out what should be included in additional custom-built monitoring for expert users is a challenge in itself. Are there any particular PPIs or KPIs or dashboards you would see as being particularly helpful in this space?

    Regards,

    Jocelyn

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