Business process variants and change impact analysis with BPCA (Part 2)
Below I continue the topic from the first part of my blog: Business process variants and change impact analysis with BPCA (Part 1 – Introduction)
Business process variants for change impact analysis with BPCA – The replication method
Following the replication method you would replicate your business process steps or business processes in the business process structure. You can start the replication process using shortcuts. First, you create a standard/global business process. You can then copy it and insert as a shortcut:
The shortcut will duplicate your process in the BPH but will not allow to do any changes to this newly-created process variant. The below example shows replication of a business process using a shortcut:
From the process variant documentation point of view, it makes no sense to have a shortcut entered in the same business scenario. However, a shortcut to a business process could be useful in a different scenario if this process is the same in the other business scenario or when you define E2E scenarios.
The shortcuts in the BPH, do not allow to adjust anything in the replicated process including creation of a new TBOM. The shortcuts won’t be suitable if you plan to create TBOM variants in the replicated process or when you plan to integrate SAP Solution Manager with HP ALM. The adaptor between those two systems does not recognize shortcuts.
That’s why the next step would be to disband the shortcuts from the originals:
The disbanded business processes still remember the predecessor they were created form.
The other option, it would be to just copy and paste the business process in the BPH without using shortcuts.
Now, you have a replicated process which you can turn into a process variant. You can rename the business process, add additional process steps, document additional objects, attached specific documentation, maintain different attributes AND create TBOMs specific to this variant.
The picture below shows two variants of the business process Sales Order Processing: one for Order Type ZA and other for Order Type ZB:
In this example, the sales document types ZA and ZB are the most critical order types – we say priority high processes. It is important to ensure that those process variants or their fragments are tested every time they are affected by a change (a project change or a maintenance cycle change).
You can use the BPCA functionality to determine the impact of changes to those processes and identify the testing scope. Documenting a process variant in this way will allow to create dynamic TBOMs for the specific sales document types. This in turn will make possible to precisely indicate which of the steps have to be tested.
The TBOMs for those two process variants can be presented in this way:
Now, you can run the change impact analysis for a change (e.g. a transport request).
Let’s assume that the transport request contains changes to a custom enhancement used in the variant for the sales order type ZA.
The change impact analysis will accurately indicted the TBOMs containing this changed custom enhancement what, in turn, will indicate the process steps (of the process variant) which are due for testing.
If an association between a process step anda test script is made, the BPCA will also automatically preselect the relevant test scripts:
In results of such a detail business process variant documentation and the dynamic TBOM creation, the test scope can be precisely determined. In our example only three affected transactions (test scripts) must be tested.
This way of business process documentation and usage of the change impact analysis is very attractive but also labor intensive. It requires explicit documentation of business process variants and the dynamic TBOM creation. The dynamic TBOMs, in majority of cases, would need to be created manually by the functional users. Additionally, the outdated TBOMs need to be updated after the change was implemented in the SAP system. All the activities are summing up to the “test effort”. From one side you can achieve a perfectly determined test scope (“test coverage”) but from other side there will be a large effort of the test preparation activities:
That’s way it is important to find a right balance between those two areas.
It is recommended to identify the critical business processes/steps (e.g. priority high processes) which need to be documented as explicit process variant using the replication method.
The customer attributes can be used to tag the blueprint structure with the information about the business process priority in the Solution Manager project/solution.
Business process variants for change impact analysis with BPCA – The accumulation method
It may be sufficient, for other processes or remaining process variants, to document them using the accumulation method. For example, if you classify the other sales order types (e.g. Z1, Z2 and Z3) as priority medium processes, you can create a generic sales order process to document the remaining process variants.
In this case, the TBOMs will also be created in an accumulated way. The TBOMs will not be specific to a particular execution variant but will contain all objects from all executed variants of your business transaction. Those semi-dynamic TBOMs are crated based on the UPL data form the production systems.
The BPCA will analyze the semi-dynamic TBOMs against the changes and indicate the affected process similarly as in the above example but without the exact information what sales order type is affected:
You may have one or more test scripts attached in the generic process to the process steps. For the impacted process steps, the BPCA will consider all of the attached test scripts as relevant. You may need to use additional test script attributes or key words to filter out some of the test scripts.
This way of business process documentation and usage of the change impact analysis is significantly less labor intensive. The semi-dynamic TBOMs are created and updated in an automated way by scheduling a background job.
In general the following guidelines should be kept in mind when defying process variants with future plans to use BPCA:
- Create process variants and dynamic TBOMs for the critical business processes
- Create generic processes and semi-dynamic TBOMs for non-critical processes.