Business Flows Release 4 Available Now

- Rachael Föcker

Business Flows Release 4

Since our last release in July 2018, we have reflected on our project experience and customer feedback and spent the last several months improving Business Flows once again. From our experience in Business Transformation and process design initiatives, it is clear is that an End to End (E2E) perspective fosters operational excellence. The principle is to iteratively define a standard set of processes and (re)use these in various combinations to reflect all operational varieties in the business flows.

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For the sake of ‘house-keeping’ this set of (unique) processes requires a structured view on the process inventory. This is typically accomplished in a repository by sorting the processes into process groups according to functional criteria.

We, frankly speaking, didn’t publish the process groups until now, as we didn’t want to distract from the core E2E focus of Business Flows.

Using Business Flows in various customer situations has shown that a reference model for the functional grouping of processes as well as a structured repository (defining the business process master list, BPML) is of great benefit.

We are, therefore, happy to announce that we have updated our published architecture and conventions in order to bring you another perspective to Release 4 of our Best Practice Reference Model: Process Groups.   

Process Groups

The introduced process groups are structured according to the SCOR top-level entry structure. Leaning on this widely used framework simplifies initial orientation for process experts with various backgrounds without limiting us to functional silo thinking.

Our Process Groups cluster individual processes in a functional representation similar to operational departments. For example, within the Customer Relationship Management functional group you will find a collection of processes for strategically shaping the relationships and interactions of an organization with existing and potential customers, including planning and execution of campaigns, gathering and qualification of leads, and the generation and distribution of marketing materials. Our classified functional building blocks offer a streamlined approach to gather the relevant business experts to review, adapt, and agree the reference model according to their business operations. In this sense, the combination of the Process Library and E2E view accelerate adapting operational processes to support company strategy. 

We adopted established SCOR framework terminology across the supply chain: source, make, store, sell, and service and extend it by design, plan, service, integrated management system, enterprise management, and quality & compliance management. 

Figure 1: Process Library

Figure 1: Process Library

In addition to providing a functional view on processes, the process groups also allow us to accommodate for stand alone processes that do not typically map to an E2E process such as generation of reports, modification of sales order or purchase orders, or maintenance of Master Data processes that needs to be included in a comprehensive BPML.

With the introduction of the process groups, we have taken the initiative to replace the generic departments on the level 2 processes with the respective process group allocation indicating functional responsibility.  This decision was made to incorporate feedback on frictions when customers were mapping the reference content to their individual organizations and corresponding role definition and naming.

Figure 2: E2E Scenario - Inbound Logistics

Figure 2: E2E Scenario - Inbound Logistics

As I write this the team has started working working on the next release of Business Flows where we will provide you with new E2E domains including Forecast to Plan (F2Pl) and Hire to Retire (H2R) with their respective process groups covering Human Resources, Sales and Operations Planning and others.

We are curious to receive your feedback and why not discuss the new concept and content live at our customer event in September - so save the date and come to exchange on how business transformation is a capability, not a project!

In case you want to have a closer look at our reference content, feel free to get yourself a free trail.

Business Flows Release 3 available

- Rachael Föcker

When we created our Business Flows reference model and set of best practice methodology over three years ago, our objective was to provide a simple process repository for everybody. The challenge we saw, was finding the right balance of being specific as well as being relevant for a wide range of customers.

The use cases and feedback from customers show that we accomplished this job well, but also let us think about what we can do developing it further.
Since the beginning of the year we have been working on upgrading model contents, conventions and methodologies and are now happy to announce the new release. version 3, of Business Flows.

The main points we have changed or added for the current release are

Additional Content (Domains, Scenarios)

We now cover several additional domains:

  • Lead to Opportunity (L2O)

  • After Sales and Services (ASS),

  • Forecast to Plan (F2Pl) and

  • Master Data Management (MDM)

Especially ASS and MDM are hot topics as many industrial companies strategically want to transform their business model more towards offering services and solutions rather than just products. This in combination with ever shorter product-innovation-cycle-times and growing markets has a massive impact on master data processes.
They need to become better integrated, faster and more reliable in order to facilitate the core processes.

Simplified role model

We have decided to discontinue the roles on BPMN level and just provide the department role on process level.

The feedback on the value of roles associated with individual processes and process steps was ambivalent as most customers have very individual organizations and corresponding role definition and naming. The added value of having an example was diminished by the discussions on how best to adapt to the actual situation.
Also, frequently - depending on size of departments and organization the role model has to be more differentiated or sometimes less differentiated.

Use case related content in detailed process charters in BPMN

We encounter two main types of use cases for the most detailed process level modeled in BPMN:

  • Act as a modeling template to be copy/adjusted rather than starting on a white modeling canvas.

  • Provide content on the main activities, the degrees of automation, inputs/outputs etc in order to facilitate process workshops and business requirements sessions.

We think the latter use case is of greater value to Business Flows users for which we provide the BPMN processes and have decided to focus on accumulating relevant information into dedicated sections. We call this the process charter. 

The models still comply with the BPMN notation but are now structured according to the fixed scheme shown below.

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Each process charter contains two core lanes representing the Happy Flow and the Exception Handling.

Where the Happy Flow indicates the best practice processing, the Exception Handling supports process workshops as they indicate the essential questions to be clarified prior to a detail design.

Additionally where available, stewardship documents covering essential business requirements such as policies, guidelines, risks and controls are included.

Value Flows

The accounting impacts of business operations are often unknown or unclear to business professionals from purchasing, production planning, and sales & distribution. By the same token, experience has shown that Finance & Controlling departments are repeatedly left in the dark during process design phases of major business transformation initiatives.

Value Flows represent the impact of business activities and events in Finance and Controlling to trigger the discussion between Operations and Financial and Managerial Accounting. 

Value Flows enrich process documentation by establishing cross references between Key Value Flow topics within a business such as ‘Cost Of Goods Sold’ (COGS), inventory postings, and related E2E scenarios.

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Value Management Framework

Business transformation is all about operationalising strategies. With our Value Management Framework we offer a structured approach on how to derive and prioritize your business drivers from your companies strategy and identify the appropriate scope and value drivers in order to achieve your objectives.

Our framework is inspired by SCOR performance attributes (strategic pillars) and metrics. Business Drivers represent trending industry hot topics for each strategic pillar. Whereby Value Drivers represent industry best practices required to achieve transformation objectives. Last but not least, System Capabilities (S/4HANA) provide the foundation for your solution design.

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Although the content of the above mentioned features are all prepared not everything is already available in the customer portal yet. We shall be publishing it step-wise over the next weeks in order to have finalized the publishing by mid September. Just in time for our customer event

Webinar: Business Flows — Reference Model and Best Practice, 8th June, 5 p.m. CEST (english presentation)

In this free 45 minute webinar with Signavio you will learn how to bring process initiatives to life with our Business Flows reference model and methodologies. 

Business Flows will be introduced and presented with detailed use cases on how you can successfully put in place the framework for your process initiative or transformation project. 

We will be covering: 

  • Introduction to reference models and the motivation for Business Flows

  • Business Flows scope and process domains:

  • E2E concept and architecture

  • BPMN granularity and modeling in Signavio

  • Presentation of selected business scenarios and process

  • Applications for the use of reference models

Following the presentation you will have the opportunity to put your questions to our industry experts. 

On-demand best practice processes - Introducing Business Flows

bpExperts therefore proudly presents Business Flows! The first on-demand business process reference content accessible for all.

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