Co-authored by Pia Klausnitzer
Back in the autumn of 2013, I was thrilled to hear that my dear colleagues Birgit Heilig and Martin Moeller were asked to write a book about SAP NetWeaver BPM and took the adventure without hesitation.
It sounded like a very tight deadline back then, but as you can imagine, they both dedicated to it long evenings and many weekends.
The result published in February 2014, is a new book called “Business Process Management mit SAP NetWeaver BPM” in German (for now). Approximately 500 pages of practical approach and examples of all features and benefits of SAP NetWeaver BPM. Truly impressive!
Strangely enough both authors say the biggest challenge was the request to write it in German...
Yes, we all hope for an English version sometime soon. But until then, here are some details about the topics it covers:
- Introduction to the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN)
- Modeling BPMN-based processes with the Process Composer, the design time of SAP NetWeaver BPM
- Generation of user interfaces
- Modeling and integrating business rules with Business Rules Management
- Analytics and reporting of business processes
- Usage of the SAP BPM public API and the BPM OData service
- Running and administering processes and tasks
- Configuration of SAP NetWeaver BPM and performance optimization
- Outlook on SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration and SAP Operational Process Intelligence opint and the integration of SAP NetWeaver BPM in these two solutions.
More about the authors and their endeavors:
Birgit Heilig has been working in Application and technology development at SAP for more than 7 years. As Knowledge Architect, she is responsible for the documentation of SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management and Process Orchestration. She has been involved in the development of SAP NetWeaver BPM from the very beginning. Birgit is working as moderator and author in several SCN areas. Prior to SAP, she worked as a trainer, project manager and technical writer for a service company in Munich for more than 9 years. She has a degree in Computer Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
Martin Moeller has been working in SAP Software development for more than 10 years. Since 2005 he is focusing on the Business Process Management topic. One of his tasks is to connect the technical side (Java) with the business side (business processes). He has been involved in the development of SAP NetWeaver BPM right from the start and has comprehensive knowledge of the solution overall. During the introduction of SAP NetWeaver BPM, Martin was part of a team that supported customers and partners implementing the solution. Martin has built a strong customer focus and regularly participates and contributes to BPM conferences. Furthermore, he is very interested in Lean, Agile software development and design thinking and he uses them to develop added-value software faster and in high quality. Martin is also an SCN author and moderator.
Q: The immediate question: why there is chocolate box on the cover?
A: SAP NetWeaver BPM is a solution to model, execute, monitor and optimize the business processes of your organization. In order to achieve that, the modelling part also requires picking the right services out of your heterogeneous system landscape and orchestrating them together with the right user interaction to get a real-life value. So it’s like choosing your beloved chocolates out of a chocolate box and the pleasure of melting chocolate in your mouth ;-)
Q: What was your experience when writing the book?
A: Firstly, the effort was more than we expected. However we also learned even more about business process management and orchestration and gained a better understanding of the big picture. On the other hand it was really exciting to have external reviewers asking good and absolutely valid questions in particular about SAP-specific terminology. This was the kind of immediate feedback an author loves to receive during the software development cycle as well. Last, but not least, writing in German was challenging as well since most of the common IT terms we are using in our daily work are of course English terms.
Q: And what is the key message of the book?
A: The short answer? It gives you all the necessary information on how to automate and optimize your business processes with SAP NetWeaver.
How do we do that? The book gives a short motivation for the discipline of Business Process Management (BPM). After that we introduce the established standard Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) that is used with SAP NetWeaver BPM as well. Building on that foundation we use a practical example to address all SAP NetWeaver BPM features from A to Z. This enables the reader to model their (potentially first) business process step by step and run it without writing any code. So on top of modelling aspects as runtime user interfaces, administration and configuration are highlighted as well. But the book is not only for beginners: Readers with BPMN and SAP NetWeaver BPM background can use it as a reference and for techies we present the Public API of SAP NetWeaver BPM, which helps you to extend your solution whenever the standard functionality offered by SAP is not sufficient for your scenarios.
Q: Sounds like an IT answer. How would you explain it to someone outside SAP and IT like your grandma or grandpa?
A: Tricky as we might have to first explain why we put the television behind the typewriter. However let’s give it a try: in every organization there are a lot of repeating activities including manual processes such as filling and submitting forms, e.g. for purchasing goods or requesting approval for budgets or vacation to name just a few examples. Every organization must automate, organize and prioritize these processes to ensure high quality and make their execution easier and faster. Therefore, in today’s world, Business Process Management system such as SAP NetWeaver BPM to model, implement and execute business processes is a must. The book explains with examples how to achieve just that. And if grandma or grandpa did not get it they will definitely love having a book of their grandchildren with a chocolate cover they can show around to their friends.
Q: So once I finished the book and became a SAP NetWeaver BPM expert I would ask “What’s next? What comes after BPM with SAP?”
A: With SAP NetWeaver BPM you took the first step in making your business processes transparent and achieve faster and easier execution. Once this becomes the routine more and more processes will be executed and thereby a lot of data will be produced. While you only reacted on single process exceptions in SAP NetWeaver BPM it now becomes more and more necessary to see bottlenecks coming before they actually occur and proactively drive countermeasures to keep the business up and running. This is achieved with the bundling of SAP NetWeaver BPM into the Process Orchestration solution which is a powerful platform for all your integration needs and allows extending your SAP investment beyond your SAP domain.
In our book we give an outlook on a new solution called SAP Operational Process Intelligence powered by SAP HANA which addresses this space. It enables you to monitor business scenarios with a lot of data across various systems. Source could be SAP NetWeaver BPM or SAP NetWeaver PI, however the data could also be hidden in applications, transactions or on database level. With SAP Operational Process Intelligence you get real time information on that data and forecasts to immediately take actions when or - at best - before problems occur.
The new SAP Middleware offering in this space is called Intelligent Business Operations. We will be publishing more on this topic on SCN, however as a start you may want to review this comprehensive Introduction to Intelligent Business Operations with SAP HANA by SAP Middleware expert Silvio Arcangeli.
< If you are learning both German and SAP NetWeaver BPM this is a unique opportunity! >