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Adaptive Processes and SAP Business ByDesign

Blog: Frank Michael Kraft's Blog

I have not been blogging for quite a while. But now I need to.

There have been quite some articles about SAP Business ByDesign recently. But I found none as informative as necessary.

Why do I blog about SAP Business ByDesign? Recently my main topic blogging were Adaptive Processes. However what is happening now with the SAP cloud portfolio is a lot about Adaptive Processes. I will explain this.
Last week I heard Vishal Sikka say in a call something like “SAP Business ByDesign is probably the best designed Application in the history of Applications.” I fully agree. This has a lot to do with the fact, that ByDesign is model driven, service oriented and BPM driven in a way that no other business application in the world is. But these are technical attributes. They have a reason.

The reason is one of the most difficult problems in the world of application development, that is most relevant for providers of business software as well as for the customers using the business software. It is the problem of implementing and using standard processes as well as customer specific processes – running smoothly together.

No software provider in the world will ever offer a software solution that covers all business processes in one solution or suite. It is absolutely logical, that every software provider needs to concentrate on core standard processes that are relevant for defined markets – that is the only reason why standard processes have a cost advantage over individual processes – they are re-used in defined markets. At the same time an individual solution for an individual customer needs to fulfil the requirements of individual business processes – the same business processes that make a company unique and often are their competitive advantage.

In the same way as is important to be able to support customer specific processes that run integrated with standard processes it is important for partners to be able to provide specific processes for defined markets, those markets that the standard process software provider does not address.

We have three levels of processes:
1) standard processes,
2) partner processes and
3) customer processes.
All of these need to be ingrated.

It is important to understand this as a basis for the further discussion.

For this to happen there are these two preconditions:
1) The right process technology
2) The right technology platform

As we already said, SAP Business ByDesign is the best designed business application in the history of business applications. All people I meet, that know enough about ByDesign witness to this. In essence the reason is, because ByDesign uses the right process technology, a process technology that makes it fit for adaptive processes. Adaptive processes is the process technology, that is extensible enough to support the kind of process extensions, that I mentioned before. For example, Salesforce has no process technology at all – with the exception of some little workflows. But this is not what I mean. So Business ByDesign fulfils the first precondition. That is why it is called “ByDesign”.

The second precondition is the right technology platform. In this context, as we are speaking about the cloud, we need the right technology platform for the cloud, that is flexible and extensible in the most effective way. In the last 20 years database technology has not changed substantially. Therefore – of course – ByDesign was built with existing database techology – just as any other application has been. Current database techology however is not as extensible as needed. I do not want do go into details about it now. Things are currently changing dramatically. With the apperance of SAP HANA there is a new era of databases. So now it is possible to build an extensible Cloud Platform as never before.

Therefore it is 100% logical, that SAP will bring the ByDesign to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. SAP must do this, because in this way ByDesign can fulfil both of the preconditions – which – by the way – no other business application can fulfil.

I will explain more in other posts. I will then explain, why even today ByDesign is ahead of the competition with regards to process extensibility.

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