What is business process decomposition?

by Scott Priest, Editorial Director, Financials & GRC

May 9, 2011

Plenty of people use the business process hierarchy (BPH) in SAP Solution Manager, but sometimes they jump in before proper planning. There's all this terminology in the BPH -- scenario, process, step, etc. -- but if everyone is on a different page as it relates to these terms, there's going to be chaos in the system.

That's what D. Russell Sloan explains in his latest Solution Manager Expert article, "How SAP Solution Manager Can Lead Your Company to Business Process Excellence." He shows that the key to avoiding such chaos is by perfecting business process decomposition. Russell describes this as:

...a process by which a business is broken down into successively more specific business activities. It facilitates designing business solutions based on modular business functions that can be combined to provide value to the enterprise and its customers, while also meeting regulatory requirements.

He defines the important terminology early in the article before moving on to explaining that there is a little art and a little science involved -- while it's important you follow a strict scientific process in building the BPH in the system, there are some questions you have to discuss that involve a little interpretation. He finishes up with an example company and product to walk you through how this works in the system.

Some of you might be thinking this seems like a lot of work. Russell has seen these worries before:

Some team members might challenge, “Why are we putting in all this effort to describe everything this way? Can’t we just get on with building the solution? We’re under a time crunch, you know.” I answer these concerns by pointing out that we’re not implementing SAP, we’re implementing an enterprise solution enabled by SAP. Modern organizations have grown by acquisition, suffered bizarre and frequent restructuring, and have had some very interesting growth patterns that result in leadership groups that aren’t always aligned with how the business operates.

The purpose of the BPH is to establish a collection of business processes that describes what the business does regardless of which department or leadership entity owns the business process. The BPH needs to be completely void of silos. It should reflect the end-to-end processes the business runs that deliver value to its customers and show how the enterprise interacts with the marketplace. It is imperative that everyone call a horse a horse; a process must have the same meaning regardless of whether you’re talking about building subassemblies for production execution or closing a hedge position in Treasury.

For the complete article, Solution Manager Expert subscribers can go here. To learn more about subscribing to Solution Manager Expert, go here.

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