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Co-authors: Alexander Bundschuh and Christian Loos.

 

SP06 of EHP1 for SAP NetWeaver 7.3 is already released to customers and brings various enhancements for Business Process Management, Process Integration and Orchestration scenarios. There are several enhancements in direction of further tightening the integration between SAP NetWeaver PI and BPM. Here are some of the most important news.

What is new in SAP NetWeaver BPM

Process Orchestration Integration Patterns: Conditional Process Start

Conditional process start is now introduced to support integration patterns for Process Orchestration scenarios. A typical example would be to collect a number of similar messages in a single BPM process instance. The start event and the intermediate message event share the same interface/trigger. If you send a message to the BPM process, the message can either start a new process instance, if there is no process running already, or it can be consumed by a running instance. There are different variants of how you can end your instance: counter (n number of messages reached), timer (x hours passed) or dedicated end message (end now).

Some restrictions:

  • The order in which messages are collected is not guaranteed to be exactly the same in which they have been sent from the backend system. Messages which were initially matched to a running instance but not consumed (because the instance was completed in the meantime) are put back to the queue and will be processed again.
  • Conditional start processes cannot be started via the Process Repository application integrated in the SAP NetWeaver Administrator or via the public Java API.

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For more information on integration patterns for Process Orchestration scenarios read these blogs:

And also refer to SAP documentation: Conditional Start.

BPM Analytics with out of the box dashboards

We have introduced out of the box dashboards providing better insight for business administrators and process owners. The access is role-based – you will only see processes and tasks for which you are the administrator.

Main functions:

  • View process and task statistics per process definition and status.
  • The data is available to business process administrators and/or business task administrators.
  • Direct navigation to SAP NetWeaver Administrator tools.
  • Data export functionality for further data analysis.

Processes and task statistics are also available via the BPM public API giving you the ability to create custom dashboards and use data in Xcelsius, Crystal Reports etc.

Also see:

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Custom Task Attributes

For each task definition you can now create a custom list of attributes to display additional information that is useful for the persona performing that particular task:

  • Attributes are defined per task in the Process Composer.
  • Support for simple types (string, float, date).
  • Translatable labels.
  • Filled via expressions on task context.
  • Values can be retrieved via BPM Public API. Integration into the BPM Inbox is planned for SP07.

See documentation on SAP help portal: Defining Custom Attributes for Tasks.

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BPM Reporting API

The BPM Reporting API is introduced as an extension to the BPM Public API. It allows you to find your process by context values. It enables you to provide process monitoring to end users, different from the tech monitoring via SAP NetWeaver Administrator, so that end users can see the step, what’s the status of the process instance, etc.

In a nutshell Process Monitoring UIs for end users allow to:

  • Find process instances by values stored in the reporting data source.
  • Search either within one reporting data source version or across all versions.
  • Wildcard search is supported.
  • All data types from Reporting Data Sources are supported except Date, Time and DateTime .
  • The user needs to have the following UME actions: SAP_BPM_RDS_View, SAP_BPM_RDS_Search, SAP_BP_RDS_Query.

Sample application available on SAP Code Exchange: BPM Reporting API project.

For more information read these blogs:

Also refer to SAP documentation: BPM API for Reporting Data Source-Based Search.

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Managing of Substitution Rules in your BPM Inbox

There are two options for creating substitution rules:

Option 1: Tasks are automatically forwarded during pre-defined period of absence.

Option 2: The person who will substitute can activate automatic task forwarding and take over in case of unforeseen absence.

You have an overview of current substitution rules for your substitutes and colleagues for whom you are a substitute. These rules can naturally be activated / deactivated and are persisted in the BPM system (not managed in your inbox).

For more details see SAP documentation: Managing Substitution Rules in the BPM Inbox.

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SAP NetWeaver BPM as a provider for SAP Operational Process Intelligence
SAP Operational Process Intelligence provides you with insight and end-to-end visibility into your business processes running across multiple provider systems with process logs and flow events from Process Observer (enabling SAP Business Suite), SAP Business Workflow, SAP NetWeaver BPM and from SAP NetWeaver PI in the future.

With SP6, SAP NetWeaver BPM is available as a provider system for SAP Operational Process Intelligence scenarios.

The following events can be currently used in a scenario definition:

  • Process start and end.
  • Referenced sub-process call.
  • Created, claimed or completed human activities or tasks.

In addition, attributes updated by a reporting activity are available as context data in the scenario.

Prerequisites for running SAP Operational Process Intelligence scenarios:

  • SAP HANA.
  • SAP Operational Process Intelligence 1.0.
  • SAP NetWeaver Gateway for importing the BPM process model to the HANA studio.
  • SLT to replicate the runtime data from SAP NetWeaver BPM to HANA.

Read more about sapopint SAP Operational Process Intelligence here.

What is new in B2B – Secure Connectivity and B2B Add-on

SP1 of Secure Connectivity Add-on and B2B Add-on is also coming with multiple new features and enhancements. For full details see:

What is new in SAP NetWeaver Process Integration

Large Message Queue

As you probably know, with the shift from dual to java-only stack, customers have two installation options:

  • AEX – pure messaging, mainly for stateless message processing.
  • Process Orchestration – combination of PI, BPM and BRM for stateless, stateful message processing combining human centric and integration centric processes.

Customers migrating from dual-stack to Java only can get avail of improved runtime behavior and limiting concurrent processing of large messages to avoid ‘out of memory’ (OOM) occurrences. When large messages are processed concurrently, there is a risk of OOM for the Java server when the system performance goes down. Typical use cases could be memory intensive mappings such as XSLT or memory consuming receiver processing.

The solution provides a proactive approach for handling of large messages that can be processed at the same time across a set of Messaging System queues on one AS Java server node. You have to configure two parameters mainly: number of permits and threshold. All incoming messages which message size exceeds the threshold are treated as large messages. The number of permits determine the number of parallel large message queues.

In a nutshell: Large Message Queue configuration via permits and threshold:

  • Large message requires message size / threshold number of permits or maximum number of permits.
  • Messages wait until the required number of permits is available.
  • Message larger than threshold * number of permits can be blacklisted.

Also see SAP note 1727870 and read more in SAP documentation: Handling Large Messages Using Claim Check Pattern.

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Graphical Mapping Editor in ESR Eclipse
Improved usability and ability to create complex mappings. The graphical editor has a similar look & feel like the Enterprise Services Builder (Swing client).

Expression editor or graphical mapping editor?
The expression editor becomes a challenge in case of complex mappings. You can now choose between both editors in Preferences. The graphical editor which is more intuitive is used by default. The graphical editor for field mappings is used by simply dragging and dropping of fields and functions into the editor pane. It allows easy maintenance and better visibility.

7-PI-graphical-mapping-editor.png

Referenced Channels in Integration Flows
You can now further reduce TCO via re-use of channels and reduced maintenance. You can choose to use Inline Channels as part of the Integration flows or Referenced Channels that can be assigned to one or multiple Integration flows as independent objects with own lifecycle.

Lifecycle of Referenced Channels:

  • Create, edit, and delete channels within SAP Process Integration Designer perspective.
  • On activation, channels get deployed on runtime.
  • Assign/ un-assign channels to Integration flows.

Activation of incompatible changes is prevented and requires un-deployment of the Integration flow. Incompatible changes are for instance changing the direction of the channel or assigning it to a different adapter channel.

8-PI-referenced-channels.png

Integrated Monitoring between AEX and BPM
Reliable messaging has been introduced and you can now get avail of improved TCO by monitoring messages across SAP NetWeaver PI and BPM in the BPM Log Viewer.

To provide monitoring capabilities for SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration scenarios across PI and BPM, message-related business log entries contain the message ID that is delivered by PI to BPM using the XI 3.0 message protocol. This information can be looked up in the BPM Log Viewer to follow up on what happened to a PI message in BPM. From the PI message ID in the Business Log Viewer, you can navigate to the PI message monitoring.

Context sensitive navigation:

  • For a given BPM process instance, details of all associated PI messages are shown.
  • For a given PI message, details of the associated BPM process are shown.
  • You can search for business log entries based on the PI message ID.
  • You can also use this procedure to search the PI messages based on the Process Instance ID.

Prerequisites:

  • The communication component has to be marked as Integration-Centric Process.
  • PI and BPM have to communicate with each other using XI 3.0 message protocol.

Please note:
The PI message ID is only provided for Process Orchestration scenarios. For scenarios that do not involve PI, and which specifically do not use the XI 3.0 protocol for sending messages, no message ID is displayed with the corresponding business log entries.9-BPM-PI-Integrated-monitoring.png

For more details refer to SAP documentation:

Please see the release notes for a complete overview of enhancements with SP06, including different SAP NetWeaver components.

We recommend that you upgrade to the latest SP to benefit from all new enhancements.

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11 Comments

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  1. Daniel Graversen

    Excellent we just upgraded, so now I know what to look for.

    One thing that I have not been able to find is how to upgrade NWDS from SP4 to SP6 or just a clean install.

    (0) 
    1. Gareth Ryan

      Hi Daniel,

      Personally, I prefer to install a clean version when moving from SP to SP of NWDS – I’ve had too many issues and “features” in the past so prefer not to perform an in-place upgrade.  I’d also go with a new, clean workspace for the new install.

      To download the software, go to: https://nwds.sap.com/swdc/downloads/updates/netweaver/nwds/nw/731 and log in with your S-Number, then navigate to Downloading Distributions and choose what is most appropriate for you.

      I can see the latest available version is “8.31.60004.130308123051 SP06 PAT0004” which I think is correct.

      Regards,

      Gareth.

      (0) 
      1. Christian Loos

        Even if you select upgrade, it will put the the new version for each plugin next to the old one so the NWDS folder will double in size.

        New installation is really the best way to go.

        (0) 
  2. Rajesh pasupula

    Good to see lot of improvements/new features in the area of BPM and of single stack..

    Though I am aware that future stack is of java only…

    I would like to know any thing to cheer for dual stack installations with this SP?

    Regards

    Rajesh

    (0) 
    1. Alexander Bundschuh

      Hi Rajesh,

      since the dual stack comes with an adapter engine on java it also benefits from some features that we provided on PO such as the b2b adapter enhancements, large message queue for integrated configuration scenarios running on the adapter engine, and graphical mapping editor.

      Alex

      (0) 
  3. Roberto Viana

    Dear all, thanks for sharing this information.

    Can someone  confirm whether most of these new features are also available when using SAP BPM/BRM as part of SAP CE?

    Many thanks, Roberto Viana

    (0) 
    1. Christian Loos

      Hi Roberto,

      Yes, all BPM-related features (including conditional start) are also available in a standalone BPM installation on CE. Of course you don’t get the PI and B2B parts then.

      Regards,

      Christian

      (0) 
      1. Roberto Viana

        Hi Christian,  many thanks for your feedback.

        Does it make sense for customers with a green-field scenario to implement a new BPM solution using CE? Or is it better to go for PO?

        I have the feeling that CE is not on SAP BPM’s roadmap anymore which makes the choice for PO very obvious.

        Many thanks, Roberto

        (0) 

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