On December 4, 2012, Pegasystems (a.k.a. Pega), a prominent business process management (BPM) and customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions provider, announced its new Pega Process Extender offering. The product aims to enable organizations to leverage their SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications with new work automation and user experience capabilities. Pega has significant experience complementing SAP ERP applications, and large enterprises can now take advantage of all of Pega’s BPM, dynamic case management, and next-best-action predictive analytics solutions to unlock and leverage their data, logic, and processes in SAP.
When implemented, SAP Business Suite has some pretty powerful capabilities—two really important assets are as follows:
- Data—massive amounts of data about the company financials, its customers, and information pertaining to transactions between partners and vendors.
- Activities—lots of custom-built activities that execute discrete bits of processes known as business transaction events (BTE) and business add-ins (BADI). Think of these as pre-packaged activities or processes that can be called upon to perform process steps such as, say, “Pay XYZ Vendor” or “Check ABC Parts Inventory” or “Print 1 million copies of this DVD in Hong Kong.”
But, there are two typical problems with leveraging all this transactional ERP glut:
- The business environment has probably changed umpteen times since the original requirements were written down at the start of the SAP ERP project.
- The truly strategic important work that deals with important business outcomes always spans multiple departments, and many different data and process systems. The true way a company meets or exceeds its growth objectives or cost reduction goals isn’t about executing a bunch of activities—it’s rather about executing, monitoring, and managing work to particular business outcomes. Today, this process is “hand stitched” together by people, e-mail, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project, sticky notes, and endless meetings. Think about what it takes to bring a new product to market, onboard a new vendor or customer, fulfill a customer order—and how many departments and systems this type of work touches—and what it takes to get it done profitably and on time. The way people actually get work done simply doesn’t map to the way SAP ERP has been set up.
Enter Pega Process Extender
Combining Pega and SAP has been proven to improve the speed and accuracy with which clients bring new products to market and better serve internal and external constituencies. Pega Process Extender provides a comprehensive suite of no-code (wizard-based) business services that provide rapid high-performance SOAP and Java connections to SAP NetWeaver and SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) to interoperate with ERP data, SAP BTE, and BADI. The new solution that Pega is debuting solves these problems in the following two ways:
- Pega Dynamic Case Management solutions—provide a way for businesses to harness the data and activities trapped inside their SAP system and extend their SAP systems with an overarching case management and process layer. With Pega Dynamic Case Management customers can now rapidly create and modify an overarching process that spans all of the people, data sources, and programmatic activities locked away in different systems including SAP. The Case Management aspect is important because it has been well proven that the “case construct” is the only way businesses can organize their business intent, with all the sub-processes (whether it’s a process written in Pega or an activity written in SAP), data, and people to get actual work done.
- Pega Services and Connectors for SAP—this is a set of “no-code” services and connectors that organizations can use to rapidly integrate all of Pega’s horizontal and vertical products and solutions with their SAP implementation. What used to take days or weeks to accomplish can now be done in a matter of minutes.
The majority of Pega clients are running SAP ERP, and many have used Pega BPM to add a layer of innovation that could sit on top of SAP and make the data/activities that reside in SAP more actionable. What the vendor has really done here is to make this connection easier and more programmatic—so if a client wants to connect Pega to SAP to drive a project, it can do so even more quickly. The Process Extender for SAP Business Suite is currently available for all Pegasystems products, and can be implemented either on-premises or in the cloud.