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Process Observer is a component of the SAP Business Suite and has been available since SAP Business Suite 7.0 (ERP 6.0 EhP 4 and equivalent releases of other Business Suite components). It is used specifically for tracking  running business processes of SAP Business Suite systems in near real-time (see Introducing New Component: Process Observer for Built-In Processes (POB)). Process Observer does not need its own installation; it is activated with a Business Function (see Setup of Component Process Observer for Built-In Processes). Process Observer is generally available and supported by IMS.


Process Observer is configurable; it can be extended and adapted to log custom-specific processes and extensions (see Create Process Definition for Business Process Monitoring & Analytics for Business Suite Processes (...). It also allows the integration of external and non-SAP applications via an external event API. In its process log, Process Observer delivers information about process steps that were executed, process participants, related documents, and the process status. Process Observer additionally performs the near real-time calculation of process performance KPIs for the recorded process instances such as the cycle times between process steps that were executed, the numbers of steps or events that occurred, or more complex process classifications (see Create KPI Definitions for Business Process Monitoring & Analytics for Business Suite Processes (POB...). It can send notifications when expected process steps are not executed in time or certain observed events or process steps occur (see Using Thresholds, SLAs and Alerting in Process Observer (POB)).


For more information about Process Observer, see: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-24983 .


The following figure gives an overview of how to extend Process Observer to a more complete solution including analytics, improved operations, and process mining features:



The extension options in detail:



  • Real-time aggregation and analysis of process log information and KPIs is possible via SAP HANA. Therefore, the Process Observer logs are replicated into SAP HANA via SLT and Virtual Data Models delivered with SAP HANA Live. This makes it possible to report and aggregate over process observer log information (see SAP HANA Live for EHP4 for ERP) using BI tools or SAP Smart Business. The new SAP Smart Business allows it to create personalized and HTML5 dashboards and analyses on top of the HANA views that run on desktop computers as well as on mobile devices.


  • For classical analysis using delivered BI content for Process Observer (see BI Content for Process Observer), Process Observer log data is replicated into SAP BI via data sources. Custom reports and UIs can be built on top of Process Observer and other application content.        In addition to SAP BI, SAP's partner, Cubeserv, also delivers process dashboards that visualize process observer data graphically and allow further
    process analysis (see Process Observer – a new SAP approach to analyze Business Suite processes!).          

    A specific form of process analysis is the analysis of Process Observer log information via Operational Data Providers (ODPs), which allow the aggregation of data as well as the creation of reports using BI tools in a specific BI client belonging to the backend system itself (see SAP Operational Analytics).



  • On SAP HANA, you can further extended Process Observer with SAP Operational Process Intelligence (SAP OPInt) powered by SAP HANA for an improved operational support of your solution for the business end users.             This is especially helpful in cross-system monitoring and the definition of cross-system KPIs on HANA. Operational Process Intelligences also provides an improved 3rd party integration and a number of tools for the improved monitoring and operation of your processes (such as phase and milestone views, dashboards, trend & prediction, task management). 


  • Process Mining allows the detection and the analysis of Process Observer log information according to process variants. Currently this is supported by using external Process Mining tools via the MXML export functionality. A sample report for exporting the log data as MXML is delivered (see Applying Process Mining Techniques to Process Observer Data using the ProM Toolkit). ProM of the Process Mining Group or Fuxicon Disco are example of the external products supporting the MXML interface.


  • While Process Observer delivers more runtime-oriented and performance-oriented information about your processes (process execution history, cycle times), you may also have Solution Manager-based Business Process Monitoring and Analytics (BPMon/BPA) in your landscape, which focuses more on monitoring current backlog / issues in your system and comes with a large set of predefined KPIs. For more information about the different capabilities and the common usage of the tools, please see Comparison of Business Process Monitoring / Business Process Analytics (BPMon/BPA) and Process Obser....