The Dictionary - Central Object Repository
Untraceable process information or inconsistent data consume a lot of additional effort when it comes to capturing and documenting business processes. Inconsistent naming conventions, various detail levels of information or just redundancies are common challenges of many data related systems. In the SAP Signavio Process Manager the Dictionary enables a central and consistent management of recurring process information.
Access the Dictionary on the Explorer Page of SAP Signavio Process Manager!
A Single Point of Truth
The Dictionary is the central object management repository of SAP Signavio Process Manager. A dictionary entry represents an object that is relevant for one or more of your processes. It allows you to manage and re-use specific modeling elements and their attributes.
Individual Categories form the Structure of the Dictionary
- Manage and re-use centrally governed modeling elements in order to achieve consistent process content (e.g. uniformed terms and labels)
- Centrally maintain element changes and adjustments for all linked diagrams
- List of diagrams a dictionary entry was used in
The individual dictionary categories contain objects which usually represent:
- Responsibilities (Pool, Lanes, additional process participants, customers)
- IT systems & applications
- Risks & Controls
Dictionary Structure & Design
Every user in the SAP Signavio Process Manager user can access the Dictionary to get an overview of its content and existing entries. To make changes to individual entries further access rights are required.
Creating and Editing Entries
Creating and editing entries can be done in different ways. Workspace users with a corresponding "write" permission for particular dictionary categories can add new objects directly from the Editor or directly in the Dictionary. All entries can be moved to a related glossary category of the corresponding element type at any time.
The Dictionary will notify you if the name of the new entry is already assigned to an existing entry. It is not recommended having multiple items with identical names, even if this is technically possible to add these entries anyway.
Re-using Entries in the Editor or QuickModel
The Dictionary appears in various places in the system. Process modelers can look up and access entries from the Editor or QuickModel during the modeling process.
Start typing in the label field of an element and you will get suggestions for existing dictionary entries related to the corresponding element type, e.g. IT systems.
Once the entry is linked to the model a small book symbol in the lower left corner of your item will appear.
Frequently Used Dictionary Items (Editor)
On the left side the Editor shows a list of frequently used dictionary items of all users in the system. Either search or directly drag 'n' drop a listed item onto the canvas.
Editor: Frequently used dictionary items with Drag 'n' Drop
Depending on your workspace settings, custom attributes on diagram- or element-level can be linked to one or multiple Dictionary entries. Compared to the other options, this method saves space within the process diagram and creates a clean impression. Attributes with a linked Dictionary item also enrich the process with additional consistent data that can't be edited locally in your file but only centrally in the Dictionary itself.
The workspace administrator can configure new custom attributes in the Setup!
Editor: Custom attributes can contain Dictionary items
Look out for consistent data in the QuickModel too. The spreadsheet can be extended with your own dictionary attributes via the settings button.
QuickModel: Start typing words to see if there is an existing Dictionary item.
Use of the Dictionary in a Nutshell
Check out the following short-clip to learn how the Dictionary works in practice!
Dictionary Best Practices
The Dictionary is the core of the entire SAP Signavio Process Manager workspace and provides reusable terms for all process models. Many organizations have an extensive collection of business terms, which is often reflected in numerous Dictionary items. In practice, there are useful tips and tricks for categorization, maintenance or methods to keep the Dictionary structured and clear. Here are some examples:
Custom Dictionary Categories
In addition to the standard categories (Organization, IT-System, Documents, Others) of a workspace, there is the option add custom main categories or further breakdown of your main categories with own sub-categories. A division into subcategories is particularly useful if these are evaluated separately or fitted with individual attributes.
Structure Through Categories
Only the administrator of the workspace can create new categories / subcategories for the dictionary and requires at least the license type "Enterprise".
The following section provides an overview of common subcategories being used in practice by companies. Within a parent category Signavio supports max. one level of a subcategory.
Organizational units can be diverse and complex. To a certain extent, the organizational unit categories represent the organizational structure and may contain various stakeholders or responsibilities related to the business processes.
IT systems - Depending on the IT infrastructure of an organization you can assign several types of applications and systems to customized sub-categories. For example, a division into internal and external systems is possible.
Risks and controls - If you want to maintain process risks and controls, you can create your own Dictionary categories to document this type of process information in a sustainable and manageable way.
DIN EN ISO 001:2015 - To find relevant documents quickly, a comprehensible structure is required. This is also helpful for the Dictionary. Sometimes business processes are strongly tied to quality requirements, internal regulation or laws. For example, to get the relevant information, a particular certification becomes even more relevant when it is pending.
ERP Transformation - You can contextualize all relevant details of an ERP transformation project with your business processes. Maintain things like requirements, scope and goals or certain process steps in dedicated custom Dictionary categories and link them to your business processes.
Bulk Import for Creating & Updating Dictionary Content
You may have wondered how to quickly create large amounts of content in the Dictionary. By the help of a bulk import/export function you can easily add new entries or update existing once from a Microsoft Excel file (XLS or XLSX).
All you need to do is follow these three steps.
- Use the export function to export a selected category, selected items or the entire Dictionary as a XLS / XLSX file
- Edit your data within the XLS / XLSX file in order to create new entries or update current items.
- Import your result back to the Dictionary and follow the required mapping steps.
The Excel based import allows companies to quickly import all of their company related terms (e.g. for roles, IT-systems, documents etc.) as mass import into the dictionary,
- Export the XLS / XLSX - Export a select category, individual items or the entire Dictionary.
- Edit the spreadsheet - Choose between one of these different export options and enter your data within the XLS / XLSX.
- Import to the Dictionary - Configure the upload by choosing a mode of import. Select the right Excel sheet to map it to the corresponding Dictionary category. Map the attributes the same way.
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Assign roles for maintenance and quality assurance!
In order to avoid redundancies and wrong named terms, it is recommended to define clear responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the Dictionary. Dedicated editing permissions can be limited to individual users or to a small group of users.
This creates the role of a Dictionary officer or master user. Their job is to keep track of the content and make adjustments to existing or add new required entries as needed. Furthermore, it should be considered to give the dictionary officer admin rights as well. This allows them to make changes to Dictionary settings such as Categories and Attributes depending on the overall user demands.
Any modeler can still read and re-use all existing items continuously while modeling. There is no option to restrict reading access. However, there is a way to give creative freedom back to the modelers.
The next Best Practice topic of so-called "Sandbox categories" are strongly connected to the concept of Dictionary roles.
Sandbox Categories to Submit Suggestions
In order to ensure the quality of the Dictionary terms and thus also of the process models, the so-called "Sandboxing principle" can be applied. Creating and having custom Sandbox categories is a brilliant method to further ensure a clean database and at the same time new proposals for additional Dictionary entries can be collected and evaluated. An appropriate access concept is the basic requirement to implement the structure of suggestion categories.
First an Administrator of your workspace need to set up new sub-categories for each individual sandbox section, like underneath Organizational Units, Documents or IT Systems.
By allowing modelers to submit new elements only to sandbox categories, all missing information and elements are channeled to dedicated locations. This keeps a clean data set and minimizes the risk of redundancies and incorrect entries in the productive environment.
After a certain amount of time (e.g. monthly), a Dictionary administrator can evaluate these suggestions and, if necessary, simply move them to the productive categories.
In summary, the following steps must be performed by a workspace administrator to set up your sandbox structure. Click on each step to find out more.