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Author's profile photo Vinay Hiremath

Modelling Business Processes using Solution Documentation Graphical Editor in Solution Manager

What is a Business Process?

In simple words, a business process is an activity or set of activities that will accomplish a specific organizational goal.

For example, business process experts can design large-scale, enterprise process models that support core business processes, drive process harmonization and ensure standardization for greater efficiency. Business process experts can also design individual process models that represent human workflow or system processes that span across integrated applications. Finally, to align business and IT, organizations can use business process models to translate business requirements into the technical specifications of process execution.

What is Solution Documentation Graphical Editor?

Solution Documentation provides an inbuilt editor to graphically represent all processes in your business process model. To represent a business process graphically, an integrated graphical process editor, based on the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), is used.
A BPMN process model:

  • Concentrates on the process logic
  • Reveals the order of activities in which they are performed
  • Shows when activities happen
  • Depicts under what conditions activities happen

Below is a snippet showing how graphical editor inside Solution Documentation looks like:Features of Graphical Editor
The Graphical Editor in Solution Documentation comes with the following functions:

  • Model diagrams using BPMN specifications
  • Model diagrams provide control flow centric views on processes
  • Model diagrams “by Role” are designed to explain process flow
  • Model diagrams “by System” are designed for Business Process Monitoring

Graphical editor supports following type of Diagrams:

  • Process and Collaboration Diagrams
  • Universal Diagrams
  • Interface Diagrams
  • Value-Chain Diagrams

 

Process and Collaboration Diagrams
With process diagrams you can describe the internal flow of activities (process steps) within your process.
In collaboration diagrams, the modeling editor’s canvas can display more than one process. This means you can build more than one pool on the canvas.
Both Diagrams are based on BPMN 2.0. BPMN helps diagrams to maintain a unified language to communicate processes. BPMN is a standard and easy to understand.

Example of a Process Diagram:

 

Universal Diagrams
It can show a graphical overview of process and collaboration diagrams. From a universal diagram, you can navigate to other linked diagrams.
This type of diagram features icons with [+] symbols within them. Selecting a plus sign allows you to drill down to see process diagrams within (and organizationally belonging to) the selected icon.
You can custom build and modify the universal diagram in the graphical process modeling editor.

Example of a Universal Diagram:

 

 

Interface Diagrams
Interface diagrams can be created for composite interfaces which are defined in Interface Library section of Solution Documentation. Such interface diagrams aim at visualizing the flow of a complex integration scenario. Complex means that typically multiple systems are involved in the integration scenario which are connected via point-to-point connections (represented by interfaces), and additional processing logic may take place within the involved systems which can be described using interface steps. Like all other graphical representations in Solution Documentation interface diagrams use BPMN 2.0 to describe the sequence of interfaces and interfaces steps.

Example of an Interface Diagram:

 

Value-Chain Diagrams
This diagram can be used to show a high-level overview of processes just like the universal diagram. It’s generated automatically based on the structured elements in the solution. It is not modifiable.

Example of Value-Chain Diagram:

 

How to access/create a diagram in Graphical Editor?

We need to land onto Solution Documentation home page at first using transaction SOLDOC. After defining our business process with its scenarios, processes, and diagrams we will have something similar to the picture below.

 

To open any existing diagrams, click on the name of the diagram displayed in the bottom panel. Example of an opened existing diagram:

 

To create a new diagram, right-click on the “object list” field of a process (bottom panel), select “New” and then choose the diagram you want to create.

 

Why Graphical Editor?

Modelling business processes inside Solution Documentation is based on a column browser representation like you can see in figure below:

  • First column contains two default folders, business processes and libraries
  • In the second column, we can find different possible scenarios
  • In the third column, we can find many processes in a scenario. For example, payment process, regulation process, money recovery process etc.
  • Finally, the last column includes process steps and interfaces existing in a certain process

This way of modelling has few limitations like:

  • No clear timeline
  • No links between the process steps in one process
  • Need for a graphical representation

These limitations can be overcome using a Graphical Editor.

This editor provides a new way to represent processes and all other aspects in SAP solutions. User can choose between column or graphical browsers to navigate through hierarchies and manage different process elements.

The user is also able to create diagrams for the structure elements scenario and process and create links between them which allows navigation between different created diagrams.

Therefore, SMGC (Solution Manager Graphical Component) UI is basically a modelling tool that allows the user to draw diagrams based on business objects. It also allows the manipulation of those objects in graphical way.

For each Business Process we can create one or many diagrams. And for each Library composite interface we can create one or many diagrams.

 

Uses of Graphical Editor

  • The Graphical Editor allows users to describe a Business Process graphically. It enables users to use a range of simple graphic representations to map out any start-to-finish business process they can imagine
  • If you have a written plan of action to accomplish a goal, or if you are brainstorming actions that lead to a goal, use process and collaboration diagrams to provide supplementary visual information. This information enables you to see how a process works
  • A diagram of this type connects one output to another output in a logical order. Such a diagram organizes relationships between roles and conditions to carry out specific actions. It shows a roadmap of how to get from the start point to the end goal. As a result of building process and collaboration diagrams, you help colleagues and business partners more easily grasp complex information.
  • You prevent potential misunderstandings such as co-dependent versus concurrent actions that need to be taken at a particular time. As your diagram is modifiable, you can refine a process as needed.
  • You can use process and collaboration diagrams to graphically depict a step-by-step business process
  • Graphical Editor is also embedded in Business Process Monitoring application of Solution Manager. This will help users to identify and alert in case any potential issues with any process steps inside a business process.

An example of graphical editor embedded inside Business Process Monitoring application:

 

To conclude, Graphical Editor provides you an integrated environment to model your Business Processes so that they can be represented graphically in the form of Process, Collaboration and Universal Diagrams. Modelling business process graphically with the help of diagram objects or entities inside Solution Documentation Graphical Editor helps end users or other business stake holders to visualize the entire business scenarios and end to end process workflow across integrated applications.

 

Please feel free to provide feedback either directly here in the comment section or, in case of questions, you can submit them here. You are also encouraged to follow SAP Solution Manager tag here and Solution Documentation for SAP Solution Manager tag here.

 

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      4 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Rohitashaw Ghosh
      Rohitashaw Ghosh

      Great post, very neatly explained each section

      Author's profile photo Vinay Hiremath
      Vinay Hiremath
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Rohit

      Author's profile photo Mounika Kunaparaju
      Mounika Kunaparaju

      All useful information related to Graphical editor is well articulated in this Blog. Thank you for sharing and your work is much appreciated.

      Author's profile photo Alexandre Sabatier
      Alexandre Sabatier

      For anyone interested in a functional-oriented solution, this is also a great potential addition: here.