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Former Member

In a recent round of Analyst briefings, SAP shared how PowerDesigner could assist Enterprise Architects with preparing for business transformation, and manage the time, cost and risk associated with business change.  In the scenario we presented, we looked at an enterprise whose executive leadership wanted to reorganize in a way that allowed them to focus on the customer as the center.  This new business goal required changes to the business processes, the information managed and used by the various stakeholders, the applications accessed by both internal and external users and the technology supporting it all.

To answer the ultimate question, “How can we move from our current state of business operations to this new ideal state, with the customer now at the center of our processes?  How long will this take, how expensive will it be, and what changes to each area of the business are required to get there from here?” we need to document what we are doing today.  With SAP PowerDesigner, we can use several business level visualizations to capture the current state, such as the Process Map detailing business capabilities and functions.  We can also capture current state application and technology viewpoints using SAP PowerDesigner.

We also capture the current business processes, and start to define the new ones.  Two common standards SAP customers are using today are the Value  Stream Map from the Lean methodology, and the Business Process Modeling & Notation (BPMN) standard from the Object Management Group (OMG).  SAP PowerDesigner can be used collaboratively in a multi-user environment, so that the business can document their processes directly in the same tool the architects use to evaluate the impact of change.

At SAP, we use the “Design Thinking” process, which helps identify net new business processes by direct observation of workers in action.  We can develop new process flow diagrams, and identify changes and optimizations for these next generation business processes.  Using integration with Simul8’s simulation engine, we can optimize the process further before approving them as the new way forward.

SAP PowerDesigner’s requirements documents capture the goals and strategy statements of the organization, and maps that to the designs used to document how the business operates.  In this exercise, we need to define a new goal, “Re-Engineer Customer Experience”, and link that to the different processes, information assets, applications and technology.  With these dependencies identified, we can easily demonstrate the impact of change to the enterprise by supporting the new goal.

Now, knowing what is affected by a business strategy or goal change is a great way to start understanding what it is going to take to change the enterprise, but it is not everything we need to know.  One discovery we made while going through this exercise was the overall cost of our technology assets, and what technology was costing us the most.

By tracking cost of ownership of our hardware assets (and all other assets for that matter) we can visualize these graphically and quickly look for opportunities where change in one area of the enterprise will allow us to take advantage of other optimization potential.  In this case, let’s see what  applications are using the Oracle SPARC-T hardware, and see if this change to the business will allow us to reduce or remove dependency on this hardware and allow us to save some costs.

We can compare the results of the dependency report on the hardware we want to reduce with the applications targeted for change in the implementation of the new business goal, and we quickly realize that all of the dependent applications are also within the set of applications that will be changed or replaced.  While we are at it, we can also review the total cost of applications we are looking to update or replace, and see whether there is an opportunity to outsource or use cloud (Software as a Service or SaaS) resources instead.  We also visualize that in a report.

Our analysis has shown us that two applications are cheaper to modify compared to replacing with a cloud partner, and one has about the same cost.  For the one that is effectively even, we would look at additional dimensions, such as the relative importance of maintaining a home-made vs. outsourced application, or the risk involved in switching vs. modifying and finds another metric that will help us decide.  But for one application, the answer is clear, we should not modify the application, we should replace it with an outsourced or SaaS offering and save costs.

When the business leadership determined that in order to be successful, we had to “keep the customer at the center of our processes”, we had to figure out what that meant for everyone. SAP PowerDesigner helped us as Enterprise Architects to find the dependencies and identify the processes, applications, information assets and technology that was involved, and also helped us measure not just the cost of the changes themselves, but revealed new opportunities to optimize IT infrastructure based on these selected business changes, and to identify new opportunities to provide applications and services to the business using new technologies, including the cloud.