Process Blueprints and the SAP Enterprise Architecture Methodology
The SAP integration strategy, as outlined in the Integration strategy paper published by CEO Christian Klein, includes the following two key pillars:
- SAP will drive future planning, development, quality assurance, rollout, and implementation activities along E2E Business Processes.
These E2E Business Processes span across SAP’s portfolio, and possibly partner or third party solutions. The integration will not stand at the end of the value creation in development, but at the beginning and in the center of all activities.
- SAP introduced Suite Qualities. The Suite Qualities range from a seamless user experience to embedded and cross-product analytics. Suite Qualities are SAP-internally accompanied by underlying guidelines for all development units across SAP.
The currently focused Business Processes can be assigned to the following groups:
- Source to Pay
- Lead to Cash
- Design to Operate
- Recruit to Retire
It is planned to refine and extend these groups in the future.
The in the Suite Qualities included Process Blueprints bundle multiple reference architecture models and diagrams. The creation of the architecture content is initiated together with the projects and constantly extended during planning and development.
Business Value Flow Diagrams provide an overview of the Business Processes, in a very simple way and from a pure business perspective. Each Business Process is shown as a collection of value-adding Business Activities in a logical order, which supports the easy comprehension of the Business Process. The actual sequence of execution can differ from the shown order, and Business Activities can also be optional or executed multiple times within a process.
Value Flow Diagrams help to bring everyone to a common understanding of the scope of a Business Process and to introduce a common terminology, which is important SAP internally when we discuss the scope of Business Processes across different development units, and externally when customers scope their implementations.
Business Activities are depicted as chevrons and in large part derived from the APQC Cross-Industry Process Classification Framework®, which is an open standard developed by APQC, a nonprofit organization that promotes benchmarking and best practices worldwide. The PCF is intended to facilitate organizational improvement through process management and benchmarking, regardless of industry, size, or geography. To download the full PCF or industry-specific versions of the PCF, as well as associated measures and benchmarking, please visit www.apqc.org/pcf.”
Solution Component Diagrams provide high-level architecture blueprints. A Solution Component Diagram shows all required solution components of a specific solution, represented as boxes and the communication channels between them. The communication channels need to be established to implement the process.
Solution Collaboration Diagrams are based on the BPMN standard and are used to specify the collaboration of the different components in much more detail than the component diagram. We can understand which component plays which role in a concrete solution process flow.
The diagrams depict activities, the order and the needed message flows between the solution components.
Experts can drill down to further details, e.g. from the message flows between solution componentsto the documentation of the used APIs in the SAP API Hub, or to the iFlows provided by the SAP Cloud Platform Integration tools.
Solution Data Flow Diagrams illustrate typical data flows between solution components. To support the implementation they cover master data, transactional data, and configuration data.
Finally, Solution Value Flow Diagrams are similar to the Business Value Flow. They show which activities of the Business Process are already supported by a given release and how they are linked to supporting Solution Components and Solution Capabilities.
Overall, the diagrams shall deliver significant value and help to
- Understand the underlying end-to-end business processes, scope, and value
- Receive an implementable reference architecture for SAP software showing how components interact to support business process
- Explore how implementations can be broken down to APIs with all the integration content being linked
- Use the business processes as an entry point for a business-driven scoping and configuration
- Leverage the content to define your own target architecture based on specific needs
All the diagrams are part of the SAP Enterprise Architecture Methodology.
Enterprise architecture links business and IT. In the center of the SAP Enterprise Architecture Methodology are the Business Architecture and the IT Solution Architecture Domain.
Figure 6 Overview of SAP Enterprise Architecture Methodology
Both have a capability view, a process view, and a data view. An organizational view will be added soon.
All models and diagrams in the Business Architecture Domain are interlinked with each other and describe
- the abilities enterprises need,
- how value can be created in processes and
- which information is needed to come to optimal decisions in those processes.
Capabilities, Processes, and Information can be evaluated and prioritized based on Business Strategy and Business Models, represented in the very left column.
To the right, capabilities, processes, and data objects are linked to SAP products and SAP solutions in the models and diagrams of the IT Solution Architecture Domain.
Here we describe how the business is supported by SAP software.
In the IT Landscape Domain on the very right, we describe patterns to build concrete landscapes.
In the next SAP community posts, we will explain where you can access the content to have a closer look, will provide details for specific topics, and explain how we plan to extend the available content.
I want to thank you for your interest and hope, you will follow the topic in the SAP community in the future.