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Welcome to the Podcast Directory

This podcast directory provides handy previews, in text format, of all the podcasts available for download at There are also video podcasts in the SAP Blog section. Note: The JonERP iTunes feed is currently the most complete audio feed of all new audio content, as Jon posts audio of his video podcasts and hangouts in that feed also. If you're a video fan you'll want to track also.
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Podcast: Why SAP BPM Skillls are in Demand - SAP TechEd Live 2009 Print E-mail
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"On the Emergence of SAP BPM Skills, the Impact of Process Approaches on SAP, and the Process Design Slam"
Podcast Interview Date: October 15, 2009
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Many still think of SAP BPM as futuristic stuff - images of "business users putting on propeller hats" might be one way to dismiss these trends. That's why I was excited to do a podcast with SAP's Greg Chase, who had approached me prior to SAP TechEd Phoenix to tell me about the customers SAP was hearing from who were looking for a type of SAP BPM skill set that was not readily available.

During TechEd, I was able to sit down with Greg Chase, who is the Director of Platform Marketing with SAP, covering BPM and CE (Composition Environment). We were joined by his colleague Patrik Fiegl, who is with SAP's Business Transformation Consulting Services Organization, driving BPM growth with customers. During this 19 minute podcast, we were able to examine the relevance of SAP BPM to today's project environments, and take a closer look at some of the skills that are needed as BPM intersects with IT. The discussion points to new skills that can be added to existing roles, as well as an overall convergence of business and IT that is creating the need for new modeling tools experience and new scrum-inspired methodologies.

Note: we also debriefed on the Process Design Slam in Phoenix and why it charted new waters, and we talked about the SAP BPM curriculum that is part of SAP's BPX certification.

During this podcast, recorded live at SAP TechEd 09, Jon Reed talks to Patrik Fiegl and Greg Chase of SAP about the emergence of BPM and the SAP BPM skills companies are looking for.

:44 Why this topic is compelling to Jon: the BPM topic often comes off as futuristic and not relevant in today's economy, whereas Jon sees the topic of BPM's impact on SAP skills to be a key issue for today's SAP professional in the here and now. What do the guys think?

Greg: Greg gets customer feedback on BPM: "Yes, BPM sounds great, but we don't find the skills needed for BPM in a typical SAP professional or typical Basis consultant." Even many SAP partners can be more focused on 4.6/ABAP style projects. Many firms do not have the kind of SAP-savvy "agile" development teams needed to realize the BPM vision from a skills perspective - so changes need to be made here.

Patrik: IT has not served business needs as well as it could have. We needed a better translation effort between IT and business. BPM is "back to the future" because we are pulling in business users who understand the problem into the process design. With BPM, the business users have access to the tools and are involved in the process design from the beginning. This is "IT the way it should be."

3:41 So what is the problem we are trying to solve?

Patrik: Whatever the top priority business need is: acquiring a new company, rolling out a new product, making an existing product more profitable. This is where the problem has resided: we haven't been able to address these issues in an affordable, agile manner. To deliver agility, the problem solvers must be in a permanent cycle of improving the solutions. BPM is a "cycle of innovation" that is very different than the classic "big bang" ERP implementation.

4:55 The SAP consulting market has been slowed by the economic downturn, so all SAP professional are interested in developing skilsl that companies need right now. What skills are lacking in a traditional SAP consultant that are needed for BPM initiatives?

Greg: Understand the kind of people that do BPM and have BPM-oriented thinking: this is not a technology-based discipline. This could all be done without IT, simply developing optimal end-to-end processes, and even that would benefit the business. But the question is: if you included IT support to make the process better, track it, measure it, remember it - there is a role for IT here to improve the agility in the process. This is where the business and IT lines start to blur. You need someone who is a business professional and understands the business, but who can also translate those needs into technical requirements. On the technical side, there are agile development processes that require new IT skills and knowledge also. Agile development lends itself really nicely to BPM philosophies of rapid turnaround and rapid improvement. It's a different way of thinking and a different skills set, and a blurring of the lines between IT and business.

All: Become a "suite" - a cross between a "suit" and a "geek."

Patrik: The SAP BPM consultant is a new type of persona, providing solutions and solving business problems. This is more than just Enterprise Architects. There is a "been there, done that" aspect of this skill set - bringing proven business experience to the equation, rather than losing track of the business need in a complex technical solution. There is also a teamwork effort here. There is a governance role to be played here also - the ability of the enterprise to support cycles of innovation. This is a major departure from the "waterfall" approach and the governance framework must be taken into account.

10:00 It seems that SAP has taken a step back from simply talking about the tool, and focusing on the cultural and organizational changes and processes, but then again, BPM is also about tools. So what should SAP professionals be doing in terms of learning new BPM tools, such as NetWeaver BPM, formerly Galaxy, or even an open source modeling tool like Intalio?

Patrik: You want to understand NetWeaver BPM, and you want to be familiar with modeling tools that are used primarily for driving discussion during process design, such as the IDS Aris tool which is often used in SAP environments. There is also Google Wave and SAP's own addition to it, called Gravity. These tools are important to bring the team with different skill sets around the table. We're going away from writing things to showing them visually, building a network that can be changed as we go.

11:55 The Process Slam at TechEd Phoenix used the Google Wave Gravity tool - what else happened at the Slam?

Greg: At the Process Slam, we were inventing a crowd-sourced BPM methodology on the fly. In this case, we used Gravity, which was very helpful because we were pulling in European team members live. But the original design was also important - we had to have an initial business case and story so we could define the opportunities for optimization. Teams could then work on creation of business rules that would go into NetWeaver BRM (Business Rules Management), and then the user experience design in the Composition Environment (CE). Then the implementation team leverages existing services, and figures out which new ones are going to be needed, and pulls in the relevant model, rules, and UI design. This all happened live at the Process Design Slam.

14:46 The Process Slam focused on sustainability and solving a real business problem in the Utilities industry in a live setting.

Greg: This was a scrum-like project setting with many who are not used to being in a scrum environment - and many of the folks participating were new to a scrum-like approach. So imagine what a team could do that was already versed in these methodologies and gathering to tackle a company's business problem.

15:35 So I'm listening to this podcast, I'm interested in acquiring more SAP BPM skills, I'm not totally sure where to begin, how do I get started?

Greg: The SAP BPX community is a great place to start. There's a "plethora of information" about the product, the methodology, and how to apply these things in practical ways. On the SAP BPX community, there are a number of experts, including SAP Mentors, who are there to help out.

Patrik: Recommends the BPM Roadmap book, as well as the BPX Education track that focused on BPM tools, methods, and processes. People have gone right through BPM classes into "proof of concept" sessions at their companies and become a welcome force for change in those organizations, so the lessons learned have immediate relevance.

17:40 There is also a formal BPX certification for those who complete the class track and pass the BPX certification exam. Those first adopters who get those BPX certifications are going to get a lot out of it career-wise. It's also a great business opportunity for SAP partners.


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