SAP provides a process-oriented view that helps customers better map their business requirements to the capabilities of SAP NetWeaver. This approach of IT practices and scenarios spans across solution maps, technical briefs, documentation, process models, configuration content, SAP Solution Manager support, and the Enterprise Services Architecture Adoption Program – so customers can use SAP NetWeaver to deliver flexible, adaptable solutions while still leveraging existing resources.
Integration needs across the company
Imagine a company where managers have work items and requests coming at them from all different directions and departments, and they are increasingly bogged down in navigating between their multiple inboxes and environments. If managers want to do cost center reporting, for example, they must work with a different user interface than if they were putting a change request workflow in place. Managers are equipped with so many tools and inboxes that they have difficulty condensing all this information, organizing and controlling tasks in their area of responsibility, and determining where their attention is needed most. The challenge, then, is to consolidate all workflow tools and tasks into one personalized user interface. To increase managers’ productivity and enable them to stay up to date on all tasks and projects they are involved in, the company should implement the Universal Worklist to consolidate all its managers’ inboxes into one central inbox within SAP NetWeaver Portal. And to better empower managers in their administrative and planning tasks, the company is looking to integrate SAP Manager Self-Service (MSS), SAP’s role-based and personalized desktop included with mySAP ERP, with SAP NetWeaver Portal and the Universal Worklist.
But while users want instant, seamless access to these capabilities, this personalized interface involves managing complex underlying processes and systems for the IT team. With data coming in from many different systems, how can IT enable managers to receive work items from different business areas and for different business processes, all in one central location? With these challenges in mind, how does a CIO find exactly those pieces of software that address these IT activities?
With SAP NetWeaver, all various systems – the BI system, the HR system, and the Financials system – are integrated, so users can have real-time access to all the applications and information they need. But because of the sheer size of SAP NetWeaver, and the fact that it comes pre-integrated, some customers don’t know how to digest it fully, or even where to take the first bite. Predefined IT practices and scenarios from SAP are key resources to get them started. As SAP defines it, IT practices are the major challenges IT faces when addressing a specific pain point. These include goals familiar to almost any IT organization: the need to combine different integration technologies, to develop composite applications leveraging existing system investments, or to build new business processes in a flexible way.
SAP NetWeaver supports a variety of key activities that address IT practices and goals such as the need to combine different integration technologies, to develop composite applications leveraging existing system investments, or to build new business processes in a flexible way. SAP has bundled them into IT scenarios, which are meaningful groupings of processes typically performed by one department to address those broad IT challenges. Business process management and application development, configuration, and adaptation are typical examples of IT scenarios in this context.
SAP has designed these IT scenarios to help the technical community more quickly and easily install and operate SAP NetWeaver, run packaged SAP business applications such as mySAP ERP and mySAP CRM, enhance existing and develop new business applications with tools like SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, and run these custom-built applications on the SAP NetWeaver platform. Last but not least, scenarios may help implement a defined IT concept, such as evolving a company’s system landscape into a services-based architecture.
These predefined IT scenarios are detailed enough to guide users through the process, but flexible enough for particular business needs. They don’t dive deeply into a certain technical component, but instead focus on the flow of IT activities that the technical community – be it a developer, administrator, or power user – has to perform in order to achieve their process objective. All IT scenarios can be implemented and performed using the integrated components of SAP NetWeaver
Four-step approach to implementing IT scenarios
To translate business needs into IT action and put forward capabilities to improve managers’ productivity, an IT team would simply follow this four-step process to maximize the use of SAP NetWeaver in their enterprise:
1. Set the strategy and scope of the project
Knowing that their main objective is to better empower managers in their day-to-day tasks, improve managers’ productivity by giving them more control over their processes, and reduce the amount of time managers have to dedicate to administrative and planning activities, the IT team would refer to the SAP NetWeaver technology map and discern that their primary goal is “user productivity enablement.”
2. Make the direct link between business goal and IT action
The IT team can then find the scenarios that are mapped to this specific IT practice. For user productivity enablement, the related scenarios include running an enterprise portal, enabling user collaboration, business task management, mobilizing business processes, and enterprise knowledge management. To learn more about these IT scenarios, the IT team can drill down within the technology map into detailed processes and associated technical components of the IT scenario, or access SAP Solution Manager – the central tool for operating SAP NetWeaver – for links to reference documents containing detailed technical information.
In our example, for the specific goal of centrally accessing tasks, the IT team would take a deeper look into the “business task management” scenario.
3. Use reference models and configuration content to install and configure IT scenarios
Now that the IT team has pinpointed and evaluated the right IT scenario to address the business concern, the technical consultants would need to find detailed support for scenario implementation and configuration. To do this, consultants can look to a reference model which indicates a starting point and an outline of the single processes and process steps that are performed (either by a user or a system) when running the IT scenario. A reference model is a sample approach to implementing the scenario; it helps consultants understand the sequence of activities, the skills required to perform the activities, and the efforts associated with implementation. The model serves as a visualization of the processes and process steps that need to be performed to access tasks centrally in the context of the business task management scenario. Of course, each customer’s infrastructure looks different, and this reference model is not set in stone. But it does provide a point of reference so that customers can get an idea of how to model their own IT scenario implementation.
To locate reference models, consultants should look into SAP Solution Manager or find detailed scenario presentations on the SAP Service Marketplace. Consultants can also access the SAP Master Guide, which introduces all IT scenarios from an implementation perspective but will not be available before the fourth quarter of 2005, for the Ramp-Up of mySAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver 2004s.
4. Refine, modify, and expand solutions
Once customers are up and running with IT scenarios, SAP helps stabilize operations and effectively manage change to realize expected business benefits. Also, to yield additional value from an SAP NetWeaver implementation, online documentation and SAP Solution Manager content help refine, modify, or expand solutions, possibly using additional IT scenarios to tackle more business goals in the enterprise. For example, now that the IT team has enabled business task management for their managers, they may want to continue extending SAP NetWeaver use in their enterprise by using the “enabling user collaboration” scenario to set up an environment that allows for ad hoc collaboration on a work item, so managers can consult with other team members or divvy up a task into several component parts. Deliverables from SAP, along with consulting, implementation, and support services, ensure that IT scenarios will enable a company to maximize SAP NetWeaver use to achieve continual improvements in all areas of business.
Since IT scenarios originate from a business view and work their way down to product architecture, they allow to apply the technology platform to achieve business results. Furthermore, the process-oriented approach to implementing SAP NetWeaver, along with the corresponding reference models and the full set of deliverables available at http://service.sap.com/it-scenarios, demonstrates concrete steps an IT team can follow to accelerate broader SAP NetWeaver use in business processes.
For more information on IT practices and scenarios, visit www.sap.com/solutions/businessmaps