Working with Gravity for process modeling in practice

At the SAP Teched in Phoenix there event BPX process slam, we worked with SAP NetWeaver Collaborative Business Process Modelling (formerly Gravity) to create a process model. In the SAP community a BPX is a Business Process Expert, a person with technical and business experience. BPX process slam is an event, where different people from the SAP community were working with different tools to create a common process. All was focusing on creating some tools for a community driven power plant. The event was covered by Sandy Kemsly

My group’s goal was to test how collaboration can be done with Wave and Gravity. We were on 7 people of which 2 were in Europe, so we had to do some offline work. Our result is on the SAP wiki.

We first started to get used to the Gravity tool. It took some time to figure out how it could be used. There were people who were new to Wave, which need to see Wave and Gravity. This was not difficult with a small introduction. They seemed to pick up the usage really fast sand found it interesting.

We started to work on the process. We had to figure out what the business process it was that we were going to design on. There where multiply different process ideas that we was working on and how the models should be created. It will probably require some thoughts to figure out what the process vision is, and how the process is suppose to work. There should probably be written something about this before a collaboration can take place. If all participants know what the process should be around the collaboration will be easier.

After we started collaborating it went pretty smooth. It was possible to see each other changes and make corrections to the process. So Gravity did work well for the collaboration.

I found that the process model took up most of the screen, also on larger computers than my 10″. This means that people have to scroll around to find the collaboration area of the text. That was probably not an ideal place to work with process modeling.

When modeling the process it is required that the users has some modeling experience. The models can be quite difficult to use if you are not familiar with process models. The annotations to describe the process worked really well, they gave an overview of what was going on.

The resulting process is in this image, a larger can be seen on the wiki.

Since it is a demo version of Gravity there are some features which would make the tool more useful. The layout of the functions gets pretty messy; it would be nice if there was an auto layout feature. The shadow around the elements can be difficult to see how made them. The actions could only have around 15 characters, so you need to describe your process shortly. Lastly the modeling should be easier for users to do, so business users can use it.

Gravity has some great features and could be a really interesting application, if it was developed to a fully fledged product. It would promote Wave as a place where business value could be created easily. I hope there will be more tools, which can achieve the same level of collaboration with the users.

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