SAP Business Process Intelligence (BPI) Capabilities & Tools – A Primer
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Enterprises globally are besieged today with multiple challenges. There is a constant need to do ‘more with less’. This includes maximizing the value of your technology investments. A large chunk of technology investments often is in the ERP realm. So, there is greater pressure on leaders to run their business processes more efficiently using their ERP/SAP applications. The need to do ‘more with less’ has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has forced enterprises to not only be efficient about their usage of technologies but also run smarter. This means that enterprises need to constantly find out ways to innovate and ensure that their workforce can adapt to the new ways of working. And while enterprises grapple with these challenges, they are being assailed by rapidly evolving business models that makes the status quo untenable for more than a short period of time. For example: – if a company plans to compete by inorganic growth (largely via mergers & acquisitions), they need to have the technologies and methodologies in place to enable and support these activities. We are rapidly approaching a time wherein you perish if you do not scale fast enough.
In strategy & roadmap discussions with senior leaders at our client enterprises, the common themes that emerge manifest the above challenges:
- Need to grow revenue by ‘x’ %
- Need to improve customer satisfaction by ‘x’ %
- Current attrition rate is high and need to reduce it to ‘x’ %; would like to attract top talent
- Need to step up the pace and quality of innovation
- Need to be a data-driven enterprise
- Improve and optimize our current business processes
It has been our observation that a strong and early focus on improving & optimizing current business processes provides enterprises with a solid foundation to launch their transformation journey.
You are probably familiar with SAP’s approach to enterprise and digital transformation: SAP RISE – our comprehensive package of solutions and services. One key component of RISE is Business Process Intelligence (BPI). In this article, I will introduce to you the key aspects of BPI.
What is BPI & how does the customer benefit from it?
It is a set of capabilities and applications provided by SAP that helps an enterprise continuously analyze, comprehend, improve, innovate, and transform their business processes. Our native business process management (BPM) capabilities were significantly augmented following our acquisition of Signavio, a BPI/BPM leader, in Q1 2021. This set of cloud-based capabilities and applications is packaged as the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite.
As a customer, you benefit by:
- Reducing the time taken to deliver value from your intelligent process mining initiatives
- Modeling processes and journeys based on common standards, driving collaborative efforts, customer excellence strategies
- Finding improvement areas faster, act based on recommendations while speeding up your time to adapt to process changes with an end-to-end process orientation
- Improving your quality of service, operational efficiency and agility, regulatory compliance and customer experience
- Driving stronger collaboration and alignment between business and IT in the pursuit of process excellence
We work regularly with current SAP customers that are currently on SAP ERP/ECC and are planning or ready to move to S/4HANA (as part of their transformation journey). BPI is one of the most common topics and drivers in such discussions. I would like to state unequivocally that BPI is of significant value also for net new customers considering or planning a move to SAP as well as current SAP customers that are already on S/4HANA on-premise/any-premise but running earlier versions like 1610, 1709 etc.
Components of the SAP Signavio Suite
Our BPI Suite addresses the five components of the BPM value chain: analyze, design & simulate, improve, roll-out, & monitor. Figure 1 shows these components and the combined SAP-Signavio capabilities that address these.
Figure 1: SAP BPI end-to-end capabilities
It is important to note that BPI not only supports a customer’s transformation efforts during and after the transformation but also before the transformation. The focus of the ‘Analyze’ phase is to ensure that our customers get a thorough view of the current state of their business processes and take the necessary steps to prepare for the journey ahead based on the data, insights, and recommendations provided by our BPI applications.
Let us look at the applications that comprise the BPI Suite:
- SAP Process Insights: This application helps you leverage advanced process data extraction and continuous updates for a clear understanding of end-to-end process performance within 24 hours of implementation. You can follow the full process optimization journey – from uncovering refinement potential to implementing specific improvement recommendations. It also provides you with detailed root-cause analysis and filtering linked to performance indicators
- SAP Signavio Process Intelligence: It helps enterprises uncover process inefficiencies for improved operations and identify opportunities to change and innovate by running process mining investigations. Specifically, it provides you with a graphical representation of your process, exactly as it was executed, making it easy for you to identify long cycle times, most common process paths, main activities, stakeholders and their behaviors.
- SAP Signavio Process Manager: It is a comprehensive solution that enables regular business users at enterprises to document, model, design, and simulate processes, as well as outline their interconnection to create a shared understanding with increased performance at scale.
- SAP Signavio Journey Modeler: It helps enterprises build a centralized and real-time view of their transformation journey. By enabling documentation, modeling, and simulation of business processes, it provides visibility into process inefficiencies, customers can understand how to increase the performance of the enterprise at scale.
- SAP Signavio Process Collaboration Hub: It acts as a single source of truth, giving employees across your organization a transparent meeting point to combine their work and expertise. Key capabilities include keeping up to date with changes to your process models in real-time, understanding, tracking, and managing joint projects, managing your process content across the entire Signavio Business Transformation Suite, streamlining presentations and providing easy-to-understand updates to your stakeholders etc.
- SAP Signavio Process Governance: It governs the lifecycle of processes, risks, and controls while building workflows quickly and at scale. Key capabilities include establishing 360-degree process governance with approvals, intuitively configuring and trigger workflows for collaborative improvement, scaling up your workflows in a code-free manner as your business expands etc.
- SAP Process Automation: This application combines the capabilities of SAP Workflow Management and SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation services thus enabling enterprises to manage the automation of workflows and processes using visual features that require no coding expertise
Note: The transformation suite comes with standard content that you can run out-of-the-box. This includes multiple end-to-end processes & sub-processes, over five hundred KPIs, hundreds of corrective actions and RPA bots, over twenty process packages for workflows and hundreds of tailored recommendations for S/4HANA, RPA etc. This standard ‘business content’ helps enterprises rapidly leverage these capabilities and thus results in shorter time-to-value.
Business Transformation Starter Pack in SAP RISE
A question that is often posed by our customers is what BPI tools and capabilities are included as part of standard RISE license? The answer to that is it includes a few components of the SAP Signavio Suite:
- SAP Process Insights
- SAP Signavio Process Manager
- SAP Signavio Collaboration Hub
The next obvious question is whether this starter pack is enough for your SAP S/4HANA implementation? Unfortunately, this is not a ‘yes’/’no’ response because it is contextual to an enterprise. In principle, these three components collectively help enterprises start their respective process transformation journeys and to that extent, you can consider them as accelerators. As you start reaping the benefits of the Starter Pack, it is conceivable that you will feel the need to purchase the other components to be better positioned for success in your transformation journey.
In conclusion, SAP’s BPI capabilities offer customers an efficient, comprehensive, and powerful way to achieve business process excellence. If you are considering and/or are interested in learning more, please reach out to your SAP Account Executive and/or check out the following important references:
- Our official business process transformation site at https://www.sap.com/products/business-process-intelligence.html
- Our BPI community containing various assets at https://community.sap.com/topics/business-process-intelligence
- A recent blog on using SAP Best Practices with Signavio at https://blogs.sap.com/2022/02/24/using-sap-best-practices-packages-with-sap-signavio/