SAP’s Gravity Prototype: Business Collaboration Using Google Wave
Gravity is a Google Wave “gadget” that can be added within the Google Wave client. It lets participants in a wave use the business process modeling functionality of SAP Business Process Management collaboratively, in near-real time. David Cook called it “the best business example of Google Wave, period!”
The demo shows the result of a merger of a bank and an insurance company. They now need to restructure their business processes and capitalize quickly on cross-selling opportunities between banking and insurance, and a variety of different expertise across the new organization is needed to model the new process flows, both from business and IT.
As they build the model, the additions from each modeler are color-coded, and the process is documented using the Google Wave tools. A Google “robot” is used to check the model for syntax, and the result is exported in industry-standard BPMN 2.0 XML.
The prototype was featured at the SAP TechEd event in Phoenix this week, and one team at the Business Process Design Slam event have posted on their experience of using the tool, using it to automate business processes related to forming a virtual community-based power plant made up of resident’s personal solar wind generation.
The idea is to describe a process that allows a homeowner or business to come online as a micro generator within a township and the various steps (human and automated) that are required. Sustainability gets better over time, the more neighborhoods choose to generate power from green sources to supply the very power this neighborhood consumes – and in pretty much the same timeframe. This also reduces the losses of transporting power over longer distances. Thus, power companies will more and more become brokers, and less actual suppliers of power.
…you are in a contract with the ‘virtual power plant’ and you can either be within the parameters of the contract and receive the good rates, or go above your contracted power consumption and must pay additional fees. (This can be due to a couple of things, you have bad weather and do not produce enough power and now must consume power at a higher rate. Or for certain reasons you must consume more power than previously contracted, because you have guests in town and must run your a/c on high). At this point, you can continue your contract, or go back and re-contract your plan. (Similar to a cell phone company where you can re-adjust your plan after several months of going over your minutes)
Here’s a glimpse of the process-building experience:
More on SAP and Gravity:
- Sandy Kemsley, SAP Research Overview
- Jevon Macdonald, How Social is the Future of SAP?
- eWeek, Messaging and Collaboration: Nine Google Wave Prototypes
And this is clearly only the start. Analytics, flexible business-oriented process modeling, and collaboration platforms makes for a very powerful combination. Every business process starts with conversations, and get improved through analysis and collaboration. When executives hear about “social networking”, it sounds to them like an expensive, time-wasting alternative to the company picnic, but it’s really about just about making the existing conversations and interactions of employees quicker, easier, and more productive. The Gravity prototype is clearly a great first step in that direction.
Finally, following on from a previous post on Google Wave and SAP, here’s Daniel Graversen duing a presentation about SAP and Google Wave, from the SAP Virtual Community Day sessions hosted by Craig Cmehil