Process Management 3 mins read

Custom Processes: A Cornerstone for Successful Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) 

Discover how custom processes are key to ALM success, enhancing business transformation, stakeholder communication, and process excellence.

Georg Wilhelm Georg Wilhelm

Achieving successful business transformation hinges on the ability to connect various facets within your company into a cohesive whole. Without a well-aligned strategy, business processes, IT (Information Technology) infrastructure, applications, and engagement of all relevant stakeholders, navigating today’s economic landscape becomes a formidable challenge.

Business Processes: Pivotal Across ALM Phases

Business processes play a critical role across numerous phases within application lifecycle management. During implementation, for instance, (to-be) business processes serve as foundational inputs for designing technical processes, pinpointing areas requiring adaptation within standard processes. Subsequently, in the testing phase, test documentation grounded in business processes proves invaluable for end-to-end testing, whether conducted through automated means or human interaction. 

Given that business processes encapsulate the “business” perspective and operational reality, they may encompass steps not directly supported by the associated application, whether executed manually or through other applications. Furthermore, they serve as a framework to train new employees during roll-out, facilitating better user understanding by delineating application-supported or executed tasks. Supplementary resources like videos enrich user comprehension.

Facilitating Effective Communication

Effective communication among all stakeholders necessitates a collective understanding and a common language, with processes serving as a unifying force. While investing in standardization of processes makes sense, differentiation from competitors hinges on the agility to adapt processes and applications swiftly to evolving strategies or new business requirements, such as regulatory changes, evolving customer expectations, or technological advancements. The key to success is balancing and aligning standard processes with applications, industry specific best practices, and custom processes.    

In an ideal scenario, a single notation, such as BPMN, would streamline clarification, discussion, and exchange. However, a purely technical focus overlooks important aspects essential for comprehensive comprehension. Descriptions of business processes often diverge from their technical counterparts, especially when involving non-IT stakeholders. Enhancing processes with topic-specific elements like norms, risks, and policies can increase non-technical stakeholder understanding. Making sources and context for specific business requirements visible, such as legal requirements relevant to a specific country, also provides helpful background information.

Tailoring Representation to Stakeholder Needs

Given the diverse range of stakeholders involved, different representations of content can aid comprehension. While graphical models suit some, others prefer tabular formats aligning with their daily work. Enabling stakeholders to contribute and consume information in formats they prefer minimizes resistance.  

Governance is paramount for gathering and releasing content, particularly concerning synchronization between BPM and ALM systems. It is important to concentrate on relevant content to prevent information overflow. Flexible filtering and access rights can help to mitigate these situations, ensuring the focus is on pertinent content while maintaining accessibility to detailed information as needed.

An Illustrative Example: Augmenting Business Transformation with ARIS and SAP

Recent enhancements in business transformation suites like ARIS, offering seamless synchronization with SAP’s Application Lifecycle Management, exemplify the value of custom processes. The introduction of a custom process API facilitates the integration of process content into SAP Cloud ALM. Value flows and solution process flows are imported into the process authoring app and can be used to define requirements for the IT implementation team. Navigation capabilities into ARIS enables users to access additional detailed information and to communicate with all relevant (non-IT) stakeholders. By empowering users to complete these tasks with agility, the organization can thereby achieve process excellence.  

In conclusion, implementing custom processes tailored to business needs fortifies companies’ positions and fosters process excellence.