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Automate Your Business Blueprint Using RBPD and the Solution Documentation Assistant in SAP Solution Manager 7.1

by Marci Braybrooks, Senior RBE Plus Analyst and Solution Manager Consultant, IBIS America, LLC

November 8, 2011

The 7.1 release of SAP Solution Manager introduces a strategic cooperation between SAP and IBIS to deliver an automated approach to reverse business process documentation (RBPD). With this new release, IBIS provides business content for the Solution Documentation Assistant (SDA). It supports a comprehensive analysis of the functional use of SAP ERP systems based on not only transactional processing but also SQL queries that apply an intelligent analysis of customizing, master data, and transaction data statistics to determine the Business Blueprint. The end result is high-quality content applied to reverse business-engineer the process structure for documenting projects and solutions.
 

SAP Solution Manager provides all the functionality necessary for IT service management (ITSM) and application life cycle management (ALM), including solution documentation, change tracking, service desk, monitoring, and implementation tools. The first step to leveraging this functionality is to build the Business Blueprint structure to document the business scenarios, processes, master data, and organizational structure supporting the business.

Prior to SAP Solution Manager 7.1, a pre-defined Business Blueprint was required to check the usage statistics against the structure using the functionality available in the Solution Documentation Assistant (SDA) work center. Only check steps based on transaction usage were automatically created from the project Transaction tab of business processes and process steps. The check steps for organizational units, master data, and qualifying SQL queries for all structure elements had to be established manually.

As of 7.1, the IBIS content for reverse business process documentation (RBPD) is available to automatically create the Business Blueprint for you. The automated Business Blueprint creates a foundation for establishing scope and provides you with an understanding of the underlying organizational and technical base to accelerate project planning. It provides insights into the actual usage of your systems — highlighting the critical and most important business processes, transactions, programs, and functionality — in a fraction of the time it would take in a manual process. The content is available for download by SAP Enterprise Support, SAP Product Support for Large Enterprises (PSLE), and SAP MaxAttention companies, according to the instructions in SAP Note 1591505. You can upload the RBPD content to the SDA and use it in one of two ways: 

  1. To evaluate usage and reverse-document business processes according to a reference structure for SAP ERP (Figure 1).
  2. To evaluate usage according to an existing SAP Solution Manager project. For this option, you need to manually assign the check steps to an SDA analysis project created from the SAP Solution Manager project. However, you can upload the RBPD content and assign it to a new analysis project, at which point the check steps are then available in the Rule Database for use in additional projects.


Figure 1
Reverse business process documentation in SDA

I’ll show you how to develop the Business Blueprint for a new SAP Solution Manager project using the first of these options. I’ll examine each of the seven steps shown in Figure 1 in more detail.

(Note: Review the SAP technical requirements for setting up SAP Solution Manager, the system landscape, work centers, and the SDA. Reference the SAP Solution Manager installation guides for SAP Solution Manager 7.1 at https://service.sap.com/instguides and navigate to SAP Components > SAP Solution Manager > Release 7.1.)

Step 1. Get RBPD Content from the SAP Support Portal

The RBPD content is downloadable from the SAP Support Portal for all SAP Enterprise Support, PSLE, and SAP MaxAttention customers. Access the SAP Support Portal from the SAP Service Marketplace at www.service.sap.com. Using a valid logon and password, enter SAP Note 1591505 (Figure 2). Click the PDF button and save the PDF document and attachment to your local drive (Figure 3).


Figure 2
SAP Support Portal access to SAP Note 1591505



Figure 3
RBPD content in SAP Note 1591505

The RBPD content is ready for upload to the SDA in SAP Solution Manager 7.1 (i.e., it is not necessary to uncompress the file).

Step 2. Upload the RBPD Content via SDA

For prerequisites, you need to have your SDA configured and work centers activated, and have the appropriate authorization. If these prerequisites are met, use transaction SOLMAN_WORKCENTER and choose Solution Documentation Assistant (Figure 4).


Figure 4
Access the SDA work center

(Tip: Right-click and choose Display Quick Help for additional help content during your session.)

Select Content Interface from the left panel of the SDA work center and click the Upload Content link (Figure 5).


Figure 5
Content interface for SDA

This option allows you to use the reference project included in the RBPD content to reverse-engineer the structure for an SAP ERP system. Specify the source path and file name on your local drive for the RBPD content, and click Start (Figure 6).


Figure 6
Content upload to SDA

Once the content has been uploaded (about 10 minutes, but upload time may vary) you can tailor the structure that will be evaluated by the RBPD check steps.

There are two options for tailoring the structure during upload: the Exclude Structure Objects button and the Exclude Logical Components without Check Steps check box (Figure 7). Once the structure has been uploaded, it cannot be modified.


Figure 7
Tailor the reference structure

To exclude structure objects, click the appropriate button. A pop-up appears with the reference structure from the RBPD content. Examine the structure for each scenario to determine if any functionality can be excluded from the evaluation. For a first run, you might want to include the full reference structure for evaluation and then adjust the structure on a second run after you have a better understanding of the activity in your system and how it is organized in scenarios, business processes, and business process steps.

To exclude logical components without check steps, leave the check box selected for the option. This excludes the logical components that have no check steps and therefore no evaluation capability.

Logical components are defined in the SAP system landscape by the Basis or administrative team to document the managed systems (i.e., source systems) in your landscape. They are used to combine SAP products with the company’s systems that exist as instances of those products. Logical components are assigned in the blueprint structure to define the source systems for transactions and objects. They also establish connectivity to the source systems via Remote Function Call (RFC) connections.

For example, SAP ERP is an SAP product and SAP ECC Server is an SAP standard logical instance of that product. In this case, SAP provides the standard logical component SAP ERP ECC SERVER in transaction SMSY (Figure 8). You need to create your own custom logical component (e.g., Z_ERP_ECC) to document the physical system landscape for that product or instance (refer to the note earlier for the installation guides that can help you with this). The system landscape is reflected by assignments of system IDs and clients to the system roles (e.g., development, quality assurance, or production) for the logical component.


Figure 8
Example of a company’s logical component

In the screen in Figure 7, click the Next button to continue tailoring the RBPD content. Replace the Target Analysis Project Name and assign the Target Logical Components (Figure 9). The Target Logical Components default initially to the SAP standard source components. However, you need to replace these SAP standard components with your custom logical component defined for the SAP ERP system. Content for other components (e.g., SAP Banking, SAP CRM) is planned for future content releases.


Figure 9
Replace target analysis project name and target logical components

The target logical component must be defined in the system landscape of your SAP Solution Manager system and mapped to the system and client that are used for the analysis.

Additional options are available to affect the behavior of the import in case there are already check steps assigned to the structure, and protection options for SQL query checks that are already defined. Neither of these options is relevant for a new SDA analysis project. Both options pertain to using the RBPD content against an existing analysis project to prevent overwriting check steps that have been customized.

Click the Import button to complete uploading the RBPD Content to a new SDA Analysis project. Click the Open Analysis Project link to continue (Figure 10).


Figure 10
Complete content upload

You can optionally add your own check steps. You need to create them in the Rule Database in the SDA work center to make them available for assignment in your project structure. Choose Edit to select the structure object to which you want to attach them (Figure 11). You can assign the check steps to a structure object as identifying (i.e., will be used to activate the structure node) or informative (i.e., do not affect activating the structure node); however, they must be available in the Rule Database first.


Figure 11
New SDA analysis project create from RBPD content

Step 3. Execute SDA Analysis Based on a Reference Project

Create an analysis of your system based on the analysis project. Perform the following steps:

  1. Define the profile
  2. Specify logical components
  3. Specify systems
  4. Select periods for the analysis
  5. Schedule systems
  6. Specify additional parameters for the analysis
  7. Execute the analysis (or schedule it for later) and review the analysis summary

Access the SDA, select your analysis project, and click the Create button under Analyses based on Analysis Project ‘ZMLB RBPD for ERP 2011 10 12’ (Figure 12). A pop-up screen opens for you to begin defining your analysis. Enter a Name for your analysis and select the Schedule Mode as Immediate if you are analyzing a non-productive system or Schedule to run the analysis during off-hours against your production system. Then click Next.


Figure 12
Create SDA analysis

The logical components available in your SDA analysis project are presented (Figure 13). The default setting is that they are included. Specify the system role of the logical component that will be evaluated. If you have included a logical component that does not have a supporting landscape, the Status is red, indicating that it will not be included in the analysis. You also have an option to evaluate transactions (workload) or SQL (table) statistics. Keep in mind that evaluating based solely on transaction usage creates inaccurate results. The SQL (table) statistics are used for qualifying transactional usage. For example, usage of transaction VA01 activates the SAP business processes for consignment orders, but the SQL identifying check steps verify that special stock for consignment orders is present to emphatically determine usage of consignment processing.


Figure 13
Logical components, systems, periods, and schedule

Specify the periods that should be included. Only complete periods that exist in EarlyWatch reports in SAP Solution Manager or transaction workload statistics (from the Transaction Monitor in the target system) are available for selection. The longer the timeframe included for the evaluation, the better the results — however, balance this with the size of your database and buffer size needed to support it.

Specify an End Date and Time for execution in the target system — the default timeframe is calculated for a 24-hour period. You can also specify the maximum number of work processes and the maximum percentage of work processes that are dedicated to the background jobs for the analysis in the target system.

(Note: The SDA analysis can affect the performance of the analyzed ERP instance. Plan to test the process and consult your admin or Basis team first. Several iterations may be necessary to find the appropriate settings.)

Next you need to specify some parameters for the analysis (Figure 14).


Figure 14
SDA analysis: Specify parameters

The results of the analysis can be affected by several parameters:

  • Use Optimization — Stops evaluating check steps once the active status has been determined. However, this also prevents a full evaluation of the transactions and SQL queries that may be desirable.
  • Include Identifying Check Items — Evaluates those check steps used in determining the status of the structure objects.
  • Include Informative Check Items — Evaluates check steps not used in determining the status.
  • Threshold — The value that must be reached for the evaluation of a check step to be true. These are established in individual check steps, but if there are check steps where the threshold value is zero, this parameter is used to replace it. Keep in mind that a threshold value of zero indicates an active status for a check item even without activity.
  • Task Types — These can be adjusted if the objective is to evaluate, for example, only dialog users or only background jobs. For a complete evaluation, include all task types.
  • Very expensive SQL Statements — Check this to ensure that those evaluations of table data used in SQL queries used to qualify a more accurate analysis are included. You must choose this option for a correct evaluation with RBPD content.
  • Not Used Customer Objects — This is optional, but for a complete evaluation you should include transactions and reports at a minimum so custom development is included with usage statistics for later assignment and evaluation.
  • Used Objects — Allows you to include usage statistics for all transactions, reports, RFCs, and Business Add-Ins with activity that are not assigned in the RBPD content.

Once these parameters have been defined, the analysis is ready to schedule. Click the Create button to continue and a summary of the SDA analysis appears (Figure 15).


Figure 15
Summary of SDA analysis

Step 4. Verify Analysis Results

The analysis may run for several hours depending on the evaluation requirements, other system demands, and resources available in the target systems used in the evaluation. It is important to check the background jobs after the analysis is complete to verify that there were no problems during the evaluation (jobs in the target system begin with SDA; jobs in SAP Solution Manager begin with RBE).

The result of the analysis is that the structure is now reflective of the usage of scenarios, organizational units, master data, business processes, and process steps based on an automated evaluation of the RBPD content and criteria (Figure 16).


Figure 16
SDA analysis results

Traffic lighting indicates the following information about a structure node:

  • Green: Active during the analysis period — the identifying check item is active
  • Yellow: Probably active — the check steps in the identifying check item are not all true
  • Red: Probably not active — the identifying check item is inactive

Structure nodes without lighting were not evaluated (i.e., do not have check items assigned).

If you want to change the status automatically determined for a structure object, you can manually override the status by using the Change Rating option (Figure 17). Click the drop-down to assign a Manual Rating for one or more structure nodes. Then choose Update to save your changes.


Figure 17
Change a rating

Content not available in the standard SAP Business Process Repository (BPR) scenarios for SAP ERP is added by the RBPD content. This includes not only additional transaction assignments in the SAP scenarios, but an additional scenario Additional Processes in ERP (IBIS) as well (Figure 18).


Figure 18
RBPD content enhances standard SAP BPR content

There are several pie charts available from the Graphics tab within the analysis results that allow you to visually review the results of the analysis (Figure 19).


Figure 19
Analysis results as graphics

Object usage information is available in graphic form (e.g., Top n Analyzed Transactions, Top n Used Transactions, Top n Used Reports) and in tabular form (Objects in Analysis, Objects Not in Analysis) (Figure 20).


Figure 20
Object usage statistics

The layout of the tabular reports for object usage statistics is customizable (for instance, to include the description of the object) using the Settings option. You can also export them to Microsoft Excel. Review the report of objects Not in Analysis. Analyze custom objects with usage statistics to determine if and where they are assigned to the structure.

Select the Chain tab to view the relationship in SAP Solution Manager among the imported RBPD reference project, your SDA analysis project, the analysis itself, and the subsequent SAP Solution Manager project created from the analysis (Figure 21).


Figure 21
SDA analysis results Chain tab

Step 5. Create a New SAP Solution Manager Project from SDA Analysis

To create a new SAP Solution Manager project from the SDA analysis, choose the option by selecting the Solution Manager Project button from the Analysis Results tab (Figure 22). Complete the General Data by specifying a Project (name), Type, and Title.


Figure 22
Create an SAP Solution Manager project

You can also adjust the Blueprint Scope Flag Settings based on the status of the structure objects. The default settings are indicated and should be sufficient in most cases.

Click OK and the content from the SDA analysis is used to generate the SAP Solution Manager project automatically in a background job. Once the background job is completed, you can access transaction SOLAR01 to adjust the structure.

(Note: If you choose a template project as the target project type, then only the structure objects with an active status are copied, since a template project does not include a scope setting [i.e., all structure nodes in a template are assumed active].)

Step 6. Adapt Process Structures via Blueprint Transaction in SAP Solution Manager Project

Once the background job is completed, use transaction SOLAR01 to view the new SAP Solution Manager project (Figure 23).


Figure 23
SAP Solution Manager project from SDA analysis using transaction SOLAR01

The SAP Solution Manager project contains the structure of the SDA project, with the scope settings established based on the results from the SDA analysis. Review the scope settings and adjust them to reflect a more accurate representation of the functionality in use. For example, the business process Processing Purchase Requisitions in ERP does not show process steps Release purchase requisitions and Assign source of supply to purchase requisitions as Active. Edit the project and select the check boxes for these steps to activate the structure objects.

You should also customize the structure to reflect the custom development done to address any gaps in SAP standard functionality. You can do this by inserting new custom structure objects, including organizational units, master data, processes, and process steps in the appropriate location of the Blueprint structure.

For example, if you create custom reporting for purchase requisitions, add a new process step Z_Reporting to the business process Processing Purchase Requisitions in ERP (Figure 24). You don’t have to use the customer namespace as you can tell if it is not standard based on the value in the Source column on the Structure tab, however I find it easier in reporting if you use this syntax.


Figure 24
Add custom structure objects

Use the Object Usage report for custom objects Not in Analysis to determine structure adjustments. At this point, you can manually assign transactions to the Transactions tab of the new structure objects, or you can adopt the structure changes in an SDA project and reevaluate the changes with new check steps in an analysis.

The approach you choose depends on the number of custom transactions that need to be assigned to your structure:

  • A few custom transactions: Manually add to the structure in SDA
  • More than 50 custom transactions: Use transaction SOLAR01 and update the Transactions tab
  • More than 250 custom transactions: Consider an add-on service from SAP or a third-party vendor to reduce the time and effort involved

If you are not familiar with the SAP BPR, this type of service ensures that your customizations are assigned and reflected correctly. It is also a good opportunity for knowledge transfer to reduce your learning curve with the SAP BPR content. Typically, a qualified third-party vendor can assign 250 custom transactions or programs.

Step 7. Recreate the SDA Analysis Project as a Reference for the SAP Solution Manager Project for Reevaluation Purposes

Create an SDA analysis project based on the structure and content of your SAP Solution Manager structure. Optionally, create new check steps in the Rule Database and assign them in an SDA analysis for reevaluation purposes.

Access the Solution Documentation Assistant work center and click Create Analysis Project (Figure 25).


Figure 25
Create an analysis project based on the SAP Solution Manager project

This time, select your SAP Solution Manager project as the source for the analysis project. You can restrict the analysis to In Scope structure elements and create the project. Once the new SDA Analysis project is available, compare the check items and check steps to the original RBPD project that was created by importing content (Figure 26).


Figure 26
Manually compare the RBPD project with a new SDA project

The check items available in the new project are based on the transactions assigned to the Transaction tab only. The original RBPD project includes qualifying SQL queries. These qualifying check steps must be manually added to your new SDA project. Compare the projects and adjust the content. You can select the content from the Rule Database in your new project.

Open both the RBPD project and the new SDA analysis project in two separate windows and work through the structure nodes individually (Figure 27). Adjust the criteria in the new project according to the check steps in the RBPD project. This is a time-consuming endeavor, but once it is completed, you can reevaluate your Blueprint on a continuous basis.


Figure 27
Manually adjust your SDA analysis project to original RBPD content

(Note: IBIS expects additional functionalities provided via Support Package 5 for SAP Solution Manager 7.1, which is currently targeted for Q2 2012.)

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Marci Braybrooks

Marci Braybrooks is a senior RBE Plus analyst and Solution Manager consultant for IBIS America, LLC. Marci has more than 25 years of experience in IT, and has worked with SAP systems for more than 14 years. IBIS America, LLC, is the US-based sales, service, and support organization for IBIS Prof. Thome AG, the recognized leader in reverse business engineering (RBE), providing licensed tools and services for RBE Plus analyses to SAP customers worldwide.



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