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SAP SCN Podcast Transcripts

Starting in December of 2007, Jon began a multi-year series of podcasts with the SAP SCN Community team. Many of these have their own transcripts, which you can view here. If you want to check out all the SAP SCN podcasts and download them, go to the SAP SCN Podcast Page.
The Power of Use Cases: How the BPM Resources on SCN are Helping SAP Users - Podcast Transcription Print E-mail
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Podcast Transcription:
The Power of Use Cases: How the BPM Resources on SCN are Helping SAP Users
A BPX Community Podcast with Ruks Omar of the BPM Go To Market for SAP
Hosted by Jon Reed of
Podcast Interview Date: February 25, 2010

Jon Reed: Welcome to this BPX Community podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed of Joining me today is Ruks Omar, who supports the Go To Market strategies for BPM for SAP. We're here to talk about the developments in the SAP/BPM world and also how BPM is moving from theory to practice in actual SAP/BPM projects that are documented on the BPM use case wiki. Ruks is also going to tell us more about what we might expect to see at SAPPHIRE with BPM, and a new book on BPM is coming out as well.

First of all, we all hear a lot about BPM, but opinion seems really divided as to whether BPM is relevant in a downturn or maybe it's a luxury that you wait to invest in when the economy is better. Ruks, what's your take on the relevance or BPM to SAP users right now?

Ruks Omar: Firstly, we haven't seen BPM suffer from the downturn; in fact, we've seen it gain momentum with almost 100 customers signing up. The reason why BPM is especially attractive to customers is because it gives them a more cost effective way of creating flexible processes with SAP back end applications. I'll give you some numbers: the product became available in SAPPHIRE last year, and with more than 100 customers who have licensed the product, over 25 partners are actively working and selling BPM projects. One-third of those are involving service partners, so it's not just licensed users, but also servers.

Our pipeline is really looking very good, and more and more customers' RFP's are stating BPM as a requirement. The most exciting thing for me was participating in the community on the BPM topic around the Process Design Slam. I don't know if you are aware that when Marilyn Pratt first thought of this opportunity, it was more a sustainability topic, but very soon the community itself voted by spending more and more time on BPM, BPM tools, and BPM methods. So it became a BPM Process Design Slam rather than a sustainability Process Design Slam.

When I look at what analysts are saying, I am also seeing that BPM is becoming an opportunity for businesses to redefine their models for survival. Instead of trying to hang onto their existing market shares, they are really thinking innovatively; BPM principals help them do that.

Reed: Ruks, when we talk about BPM in an SAP context, what exactly are we referring to? Is it a methodology, a governance structure, a focus on the NetWeaver BPM tool, or all of the above?

Omar: From a technology perspective, as people know, it enables the creation of differentiating all high value processes. But I would just like to highlight that SAP applications should be viewed as "prepackaged BPM," delivering support for your standard processes. Is it only a technology? No, of course not. It is also a methodology, it is a governance; it's not process just from a design or an execution perspective but a full lifecycle. It's a technology, but the technology is just one part of it. How and when I use the technology becomes very relevant, and we will get to that later on when we talk about the use case wiki.

We are also doing a certification program because BPM is a new mindset and a new way of doing things. Gearing up is so important, hence the BPM certification program. We are also driving a lot of innovation with the University Alliance, and the certification programs have also been launched into the SAP University Alliance program.

Last, but most importantly, is the BPM community. More and more of our customers want to know what their peers are doing. They don't just want to listen to marketing messages. They want to know from real customers how and when they are using BPM. To answer your question, it's all of the above.

Reed: Looking ahead to SAPPHIRE 2010, I want to know what you expect to hear about BPM there. Are we going to hear BPM as a key theme or more of a subtext, and why or why not?

Omar: BPM is definitely a key theme at SAPPHIRE, and you will hear the term "process orchestration" a lot. We have gotten great references this year regarding BPM, and if somebody's really interested in coming to SAPPHIRE and learning BPM, what can they expect is a high-impact newscast-type presentation and discussion. It's not about the features and functions. Of course that's important, but it's more important that we get attendees at SAPPHIRE to experience the projects, the results, and the impact to their business.

We will also be launching a BPM starter kit for consultants. At SAPPHIRE there's also the ASUG part of it, so we are also going to see great presentations on methodology, technology and governance. BPM will definitely be a hot topic at SAPPHIRE.

Reed: Right on the heels of the BPM roadmap book, SAP's Adam Rosenberger coming out with a new book in June called, "Applying Real-World BPM in an SAP Environment." What's the purpose behind this new book?

Omar: As the title suggests, it's about how to apply BPM within the context of an SAP environment. This is becoming a recurring theme: giving guidance of when and how to implement BPM in all aspects of an SAP-centric environment is important. Explaining how BPM and standard software work together, how to prepare for the BPM project, how to put technology, methodology, governance and the philosophy behind it in action.

Most importantly - and this is the work that I'm doing as part of the book - is providing a comprehensive compilation of use cases from earlier data. Taking that journey with customers, such as Siemens, Coca-Cola and Unilever, just to name a few, and showing the lessons learned. How did they start with their projects? What did they do in terms of their "as is" process? What did they design in terms of their "to be" process? How did they implement the BPM solution and what results did they achieve?

I'm very excited about that because I think this will give customers who are still asking, "Should I or shouldn't I?" a lot more comfort that this is not something too new, but this is proven and our customers are already doing it.

Reed: Let's say I'm an SAP Community Network member and I want to learn more about BPM in an SAP context. What kinds of BPM resources are going to be available to me on SCN?

Omar: I just did a search on BPM this morning and found over 11,000 forums, 600 blogs, 500 articles, 200 wikis, 90 e-learnings and 16 partner solutions. My first reaction was that this was really overwhelming, and they cover all the different perspectives, not just the technology. But I would recommend to somebody who doesn't understand what BPM is and is struggling with the term "process management," since it's such an overloaded term, that the first step is to read the "BPM Taxonomy Whitepaper." This was not just an SAP paper, but it was done in combination with our partner Accenture.

Then, look at the SAP/BPM technology topic, which is giving you the features and functions of NetWeaver BPM. There are also some samples. We have a repository, the Enterprise Service Workplace available, and then we have a deployment of BPM, simple samples on top of that. So without a lot of investment and installing our software, you can experience and call real SAP back-end applications and see it running.

And what I'm most excited about is the BPM use case wiki that we have been working on together and interviewing all of our early adopters and partners. Its actually quite impressive: we have more than 20 use cases in over 10 industries, so I'm sure whatever industry and whatever business problem there is, there might be some clues for customers and community members to see where and how to use BPM.

Also, the ASUG methodology has been adapted by Ann Rosenberg on the BPM and SOA and value methodology. There's a whole BPX certification wiki. There's also BPM and BPMN, which is a hot topic right now; there's a whole e-learning series. There is BPM and Google Wave if you want to get exciting insight into what SAP research is doing not just about the product, but where the products are going. I don't know if you've seen that, but Marilyn Pratt did research on this and saw that the blogs talking about Google Wave are really receiving a lot of hits, almost 39,000.

Last but not least, if you're an SAP Partner, there is a whole program to help you in terms of how to get started, what custom processes and business process templates you can have, and we plan to bring out process template certification for partners. So whether you're someone who is looking to understand BPM and get started or are someone who knows BPM and wants to learn how to apply it or you are a partner in this business area, then this is the place to be.

Reed: Let's talk a little more about the BPM use case wiki. I had a chance to spend some time on it this week, and I was really impressed. In fact, I put it out on my Twitter feed this morning with some links. Not only did I see some cross industry examples, but I saw a range of industries from the public sector to retail to aerospace and defense to professional services, and these are actual use cases that folks have posted. I wanted to ask if you could share with our listeners an example of a BPM use case from the wiki.


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