By bringing together business process experts facing similar industry challenges, the new forums extend the power of the community to foster collaboration and learning within and across key industry segments. The new forums underline the rapidly growing support for the community, which has seen its membership skyrocket to more than 100,000 experts since its launch just over six months ago. In addition to the existing consumer products industry forum, SAP has added forums for the public sector, chemicals, higher education and research, defense, healthcare, life sciences, oil and gas, mining and metal, industrial machinery and components, utilities, and retail industries.
Fueled by the input of business process experts from companies in these diverse industries, as well as partners, business and IT leaders and software developers, the Business Process Expert Community site (http://bpx.sap.com) provides a collaborative environment for members to share their expertise and best practices leveraging enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) as a blueprint to increase business process agility. The community for business process experts stands side-by-side with the resource and collaboration environment for software developers, SAP Developer Network (SDN), forming a powerful combination to drive the continuing convergence of business and IT.
SAP has more than three decades experience delivering industry-specific business solutions to more than 25 distinct industries, resulting in a deep understanding of the differences and similarities in the business operations and procedures of individual industries. Across these industries, business process experts such as business analysts, application and functional consultants, process developers or architects, can benefit from the community forums in many ways:
- By sharing best practices on practical uses of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, pharmaceutical companies, distributors and healthcare providers can improve their ability to provide solutions that protect the safety of the global pharmaceutical drug supply;
- Public sector organizations and private sector partners can collaborate with each other on implementation methods for networked government initiatives, which play an increasing role in helping governments deliver constituent services;
- Consumer products and chemical companies can exchange information regarding product registration and compliance requirements associated with the European Union’s newly enacted REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) legislation.
“As the undisputed leader in providing enterprise software to individual industries, SAP understands that every industry has its own pain points, challenges and potential for innovation,” said Zia Yusuf, executive vice president, Global Ecosystem and Partner Group, SAP. “Through the industry-specific forums in the Business Process Expert Community site, we are leveraging the knowledge of thousands of industry professionals who live and breathe their business every day, helping customers understand how enterprise SOA can ease their challenges and propel their businesses forward.”
Fostering Collaboration Among Industry Peers
The community is designed to deliver fresh, unique content as well as unstructured information through professional connections and collaboration. Members can collaborate and co-innovate by accessing best practices, business scenario models and SAP tools to help them deliver increased value to their organizations and strengthen their change management skills. The new industry forums will also include valuable content in the form of demos, presentations, articles, whitepapers, blogs and threaded discussions that assemble the knowledge and experience of SAP customers, partners, industry gurus and employees to help business process experts leverage the expertise of peers in similar job functions and industries. The individual industry forums will complement horizontal discussions focused on analytics, business process modeling and change management.
“As one of the world’s leading chemical companies serving customers in agricultural, consumer and industrial markets, we need to be able to use advances in information technology to increase our business agility,” said Rich Powers, director, Advanced Technologies & Architecture, FMC Corporation. “From our perspective, the value of SAP’s Business Process Expert Community is that it serves as an accelerator for our understanding of new industry concepts in a timely fashion, so that we are able to successfully communicate with our business people on potential approaches and solutions. And most importantly we can do this speaking the language of business, not only of IT.”
Business Process Expert Defined
SAP is one of the first companies to offer model-driven tools and modeled composite applications specifically for this new category of business process professionals. The role of a business process expert encompasses a variety of titles including business analyst, business consultant, process consultant, application consultant, process developer and enterprise architect − an evolution triggered largely by the transition to enterprise SOA.
A business process expert plays a critical role within companies of all sizes, bridging business and IT to accelerate business process innovation. This is accomplished by bringing industry knowledge and business expertise to leverage composition software tools in order to increase business agility. Because SAP delivers model-driven tools, business process experts that are existing SAP customers have a distinct advantage in that they can leverage the SAP NetWeaver(R) platform to adapt, compose and execute business processes in real time, as needed, to accelerate innovation. The typical background of the 100,000-plus members that have already joined on the Business Process Expert Community site includes:
- A deep knowledge of business-unit operations and core processes
- Expertise in gathering requirements and modeling business process flows
- Background as either a business person who has “gone technical” but has few coding skills, or a former application developer moving toward the business world
- Knowledge of using simple queries to extract information from data sources
Transition to Enterprise SOA
With the addition of the industry forums to the community, SAP customers have even stronger reasons for moving to enterprise SOA. SAP’s approach to enterprise SOA goes beyond SOA fundamentals by supporting business requirements through the use of enterprise services. SAP is both building service-orientation directly into its solutions and providing a technology platform (SAP NetWeaver) and guidance to support companies in the development of their own evolutions to service-oriented architecture.