The role of a business process expert encompasses a variety of titles including business analyst, business consultant, process consultant, application consultant and process developer – an evolution triggered largely by the move 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. SAP is one of the first companies to offer model-driven tools as well as modeled composite applications specifically for this new category of professional – enabling business process experts to compose business processes themselves, reduce the need for coding and remove the traditional IT backlog, in part by improving business-to-IT communication, tools and processes.
With the launch of the community, SAP is providing a collaborative environment in which business process experts can share information, experiences and best practices to leverage enterprise SOA to increase business agility. First previewed at SAPPHIRE ’06 in Orlando, Florida in May 2006, the community has rapidly grown to more than 30,000 members in less than four months.
Business Process Experts Defined
The business process expert bridges the worlds of IT and business 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 platform to adapt, compose, and execute business processes in real-time as needed to accelerate innovation. The typical background of the 30,000 members that have already joined the Business Process Expert Community 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
“The challenges organizations face as they aspire to be more process-centric cannot be addressed by conventional approaches,” said Michael James Melenovsky, research director, Gartner. “During the early stages of organizational process maturity, success in many cases is predicated on the sharing of best practices. Joining communities where best practices and debates take place around what to embrace (and avoid) become essential. The better informed you become, the better decisions you can make.”
Fostering collaboration among business process experts worldwide
The Business Process Expert Community is designed to foster co-innovation among SAP customers and partners, as well as non-SAP customers and partners in an open forum. Members can collaborate and co-innovate by accessing blogs, discussion forums, articles, best practices, business scenario models, change management skills and SAP tools to help them deliver increased value to their organizations. Additionally, the community offers specialized vertical and horizontal topic areas to help business process experts leverage the expertise of peers in similar job functions and industries.
With today’s announcement, SAP is introducing the first industry-focused topic area in the community, focused on consumer products. Titled Consumer Products (CP) Knowledge Center, the collection of best practices, articles, demos, presentations, whitepapers, blogs and threaded discussions pools the knowledge and experience of SAP customers, partners, industry gurus and employees, helping business process experts access information from and share knowledge among their peers. Expert forums already active and available to community members include horizontal discussions focused on analytics, business process modeling, and change management.
“Intel views the Business Process Expert Community as a great way to learn and collaborate with business process experts across different enterprises and refine best practices and processes,” said Cheryl Mascaro, enterprise business architect, Intel. “Intel sees its business architects, business process engineers, business analysts and process owners fit the role of the business process expert as defined by this community. We are excited to participate and shape the progress of this community.”
With the launch of the community, SAP is also introducing new ways for business process experts to accelerate career growth and deliver increased value to their organizations. Offering three tiers of certification from specialist to principal, the certification program is central to helping business process experts expand their skill sets and increase the expertise they bring to an organization. In addition to SAP, education partner associations, including Widener University’s School of Business Administration, will provide a variety of courses that prepare individuals in attaining the business process expert certification.
“For many years, SAP has taken a leadership role in developing tools and applications that speed business process innovation,” said Savas Ozatalay, dean, School of Business Administration, Widener University. “At Widener University, we have benefited from and supported SAP’s leadership through our Center of Excellence in Business Process Innovation, and our newly revised MBA program is centered on business process innovation. We are excited about SAP’s new certification plan for business process experts, and we are proud to provide educational support for this new initiative. SAP’s definition of the business process expert – a role that is today done partly by a business analyst, partly by an application consultant, and partly by a process developer – is exactly what our BPI courses and certification program were designed to address.”
“Going forward, we expect the role of business process experts to take center stage as companies focus on driving business-process innovation and leveraging their IT investments for maximum impact,” said Zia Yusuf, executive vice president, Platform Ecosystem, SAP. “The co-innovation taking place within the community is unprecedented, and it’s exciting to see business process experts coming together to leverage the expertise of other members, drive business process innovation and increase business agility.”
Today’s launch of the Business Process Expert Community provides a new forum for customers and partners in similar job roles and industries to co-innovate, access resources and share best practices. Additional communities include:
- SAP Developers Network – SDN: SDN is the central resource where SAP’s ecosystem of technologists collaborates and co-innovates solutions on the SAP NetWeaver platform and contributes to the pool of shared knowledge among independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators, developers, enterprise architects and consultants. There are currently more than 500,000 SDN members in more than 200 countries.
- SAP Enterprise Services Community: Introduced in April 2006, SAP’s Enterprise Services Community currently has more than 100 members working collaboratively to define enterprise services. There are currently five active ESC tracks: enterprise services for the banking industry, cross-industry RFID, enterprise services for mobile, enterprise services for the healthcare industry, and tax and revenue management for the public sector industry.
- Industry Value Networks: Driven largely by customer participation and SAP’s deep industry expertise, these networks bring together customers, partners and SAP to co-innovate and quickly develop solutions to solve industry-specific customer challenges. The solutions developed through these IVNs will leverage the SAP NetWeaver platform to create end-to-end business solutions leveraging enterprise services. The end result will enable customers to extend and enrich their investments in SAP solutions, helping optimize asset utilization and lower IT investment risk. There are currently five active IVNs: Chemicals, Consumer Products, High Tech, Public Sector, Retail.
SAP TechEd ’06 in Las Vegas, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Bangalore
More than 5,000 SAP customers, partners and technical community are convening at SAP TechEd ’06 to learn how to transform existing business processes and IT landscapes and take advantage of the power and flexibility of enterprise service-oriented architecture. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, SAP’s largest ecosystem education event of the year offers more than 900 hours of lecture-driven and hands-on sessions. SAP TechEd is being held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 12 – 15; Tokyo, Japan, Oct. 5 – 6; Amsterdam, Oct. 18 – 20 and Bangalore, India, Nov. 8 – 10, 2006.