At Gartner BPM, there are always a few sessions given over to the sponsors and their clients to present case studies; since it’s been a while since I looked at what SAP is doing with BPM, I decided to sit in on John Cuomo from Bank of America talk about what B of A is doing with SAP BPM.
SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration includes BPM and business rules, but also UI composition, monitoring and analytics, SOA governance, EAI, and B2B collaboration. When I initially reviewed SAP BPM a few years back on its release, I said that it isn’t the most innovative BPMS on the market (although it’s quite good), but their goal is to be the best BPMS for existing SAP customers through direct integration with their ERP solutions. B of A uses SAP ERP for their invoice processing with BPM on top, with the classic A/P drivers of integrating multiple systems, having flexible processes and providing better control over processes and rules. They receive over a million invoices per month, but only 2% require human intervention/approval and are escalated into BPM. They make heavy use of business rules to dynamically assign approvers to any specific invoice depending on the content, rather than having an identical process flow for every invoice or requiring manual assignment.
They started their SAP BPM initiatives in 2010, working with their process flows that had been defined in ARIS and moving that into the BPM automation environment. It’s pretty common for organizations to have some process flows mapped out already, but no automation.
They’re now expanding their BPM use outside of invoice processing, although all surrounding their SAP ERP usage, including general ledger, fixed assets, provisioning point, and audit processes. In short, they’re using SAP BPM for doing the exception handling for SAP ERP, providing a much more flexible and rules-driven approach to exception handling processes. This is a perfect use case for SAP BPM in conjunction with their ERP; now that SAP BPM is allowing much better access and orchestration of granular ERP functions, they should be able to expand the usage further to deeply integrate the two systems.
Peter McNulty of SAP provided some additional information on some of SAP’s newer capabilities, specifically their Operational Process Intelligence that monitors process events from a variety of platforms, both theirs and third-party, uses HANA to do the big data analytics, then displays in a consolidated dashboard.