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In my new role as Technical PreSales at CompriseIT I was tasked to learn about the new Operational Process Intelligence Framework and to use it to develop several Proof Of Concept Projects. Having a good in-depth BPM knowledge and a brain for business scenarios, this request was right up my street.

The overview of this blog will help you understand more about OPInt and the detail will help you avoid any pitfalls you may encounter when developing your first scenario.

For those who are asking themselves the question WHAT IS OPInt ? Here is a quick and dirty explanation……

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OPInt is process analytical software that sits and runs on SAP HANA giving the business the opportunity to view a specific set of BUSINESS WORKFLOW PROCESSES or NETWEAVER BPM PROCESSES (or processes from other supported workflow engines) from a birds-eye view. Using either a Java Replicator or a SLT server, process data is sent from the workflow engine into a schema that sits on HANA, this will then be displayed in the pre built UI5 application SAP OPI, powered by SAP HANA (Space.me).

For a more in depth blog about what OPInt is all about and how it may help your business, please read the following blog by Owen Pettiford

http://scn.sap.com/community/bpm/blog/2013/06/22/the-process-black-box-opint-shines-a-light-inside

In this blog we are going to look at one particular scenario, taking a Sales Order Creation BPM that sits within SAP Process Orchestration 7.4 and modelling an OPInt process to manage the customer creation and discount approval parts of the process.

Whilst this isn’t a step by step guide, it will hopefully outline some of the important steps and provide tips for your first OPInt project.

1. Build your BPM Process and deploy to a PO server

When building your BPM Process, ensure that you add and fill at least 1 reporting object in your BPM as this is the process specific data that will be replicated into the HANA schema. Standard data such as No. Started / Phase Duration etc, are dealt with for you, but if you wish to show KPI’s for those metrics based on specific scenario data you will need a reporting object.

E.g. We had 100 Sales Orders created on the 22nd of July (10 in UK / 10 in France / 80 in USA)

Also ensure that you set an administrator for the process as you will then be able to use the standard BPM Analytics screen provided in PO.

http://<PO Server>:<Port>/bpmanalytics/index.html

Once finished, deploy your BPM to the PRO Server (Process Orchestration Server).

2. Pull your BPM into HANA Studio

Use the Search Console View in HANA studio to search for your BPM’s (ensure you have set up a search destination to your PO system)

This can then be dragged into your Business Scenario area.

3. Create your Phases

OPInt utilises the concept of phases within your Business Workflow / BPM Process. This could be a specific human step or an automated call, but it could also be a selection of steps. When defining a phase you are required to select an event from your process, e.g when a certain task is created / claimed / completed. This approach allows you to group large or small sections into phases that are of importance.

E.g. Where a purchase requisition has 3 POTENTIAL levels of approval and we only want to see when the first approval has been created and when the final required approval has been completed ……

When looking at your workflow understand what elements you’d like to capture and quantify; what elements will be important to view from a high level.

“I’d like to see at what hour of the day most requests are made” ????? Really ?

“I’d like to see how many orders we take from call centres Vs. the website / by week” Thats more like it !

When defining the start and end point of your phases, ensure you think about all possible routes of your workflow. If the workflow could skip phase 1 and jump straight to phase 2 then ensure the end point of phase 1 is not only the actual end of phase 1 but also the start of phase 2. This will keep your scenario from looking confusing and showing red overdue elements that were just not required this time round.

4. Generate and Activate

At this point I would attempt your first generation. Certain things need to be in place for this to be successful.

  • Ensure that you are generating with a user who has all the required roles (see online documentation on this –http://help.sap.com/saphelp_hana_opint/SAP_OPInt_Developers_Guide.pdf)
  • Ensure the replication schema has been generated in your HANA system (Schema C73 – may have a different name now)
  • The correct validation rules have been removed (If there are generation errors on validation you should be able to identify the rule that needs removing in Preference > Modeler > Validation Rules)

5. Login to Space.me

Before doing this you will need to assign the 4 generated Analytical Privileges (these will be generated and placed within a new Gen package in your scenario). Once done you will be presented with the overview page for your scenario.

Basic analytical views can be seen on the overview.

  • How many processes are running
  • How many are running at Phase N…
  • What state its at (On Track / Overdue etc)
  • The details of these items

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As you can see Im a little overdue with these items!!!

Selecting on these phases will also give us a phase specific view of the data.

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This alone gives us a good overview of our processes, but for me the real benefit is the ability to build specific indicators and measures on the data that is stored against the process.

  • I’d like to see how many sales orders are created for my top 5 customers
  • I’d like to see a view to show me engineer leave requests by plant
  • I’d like a view to show me how many customers are being created for a certain area of the country every week

Its these quick view analytics that can make a real difference to the way departments are run; being able to make informed real time decisions can be invaluable. The other big advantage this tool can give companies is to shine the spotlight on processes they know aren’t that efficient but aren’t sure why.

We have 300 sales orders fail to create every day and its been that way for years” – OPInt could be placed on top of this process to show you that actually 70% of those 300 are orders that come from a certain call centre, the other 30% are all from first time buyers through the website. Understanding this could allow the company to put a more controlled data entry process in place at that particular call centre and a higher validated UI for the website.

In a different example looking at why sales orders fail to create, we get to see what Plants / Sales Org / Errors are associated with the failed orders.

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The beauty of OPInt is not just its analytical power but also the fact that once you’ve got one under your belt they are so quick and easy to build. SAP have made the perspective in HANA studio very easy to use and understand, allowing you to build on top of existing processes you may already have running.

All in all, OPInt is a great product and I hope it gets the widespread use it deserves as it could genuinely make process visibility a big player once again.

For more information please visit any of the links below

I hope you enjoyed the blog 🙂

Owen Pettiford Blog – http://scn.sap.com/community/bpm/blog/2013/06/22/the-process-black-box-opint-shines-a-light-inside

OPInt Overview – http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-35420

#SAPOPInt

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9 Comments

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  1. Eduardo Chiocconi

    Hi Tom,

       This is a very nice piece of a summary for Operational Process Intelligence. Glad to see blogs about this topic as it greately complements all SAP’s workflow and process solutions to provide the most needed process visibility. Business historically has been able to see pure data analysis and reports, but most of the time they were lacking the real time process context in which the data lives. Operational Process Intelligence provides that insight to make smart and intelligent decisions and the ability to convert a business practices from a reactive to a proactive mode !

        Keep it coming Tom !

                   Eduardo.

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