The Importance of Business Role Design

In the world of SAP systems, the concept of Business Roles plays a crucial role in managing user access and permissions. Business Roles function similarly to SAP Composite Roles, serving as containers for SAP Single Roles. These single roles encompass a collection of Transaction Codes and Fiori apps, along with their associated authorisations. They can be directly assigned to SAP users or grouped into Business or Composite Roles, which are then assigned to users. When a Business or Composite Role is assigned, the user gains access to all the SAP single roles and their corresponding Transaction Codes and Fiori apps contained within the role.


Differentiating Between Business and Composite Roles

While SAP Composite Roles are a standard role type within SAP, Business Roles typically exist in external solutions, such as SAP GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) or Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems. Business Roles offer greater flexibility as they can include roles from multiple SAP and non-SAP systems. In contrast, Composite Roles are confined to incorporating SAP single roles from the specific SAP system they reside in.

In addition to the above, Business Roles have the added flexibility of allowing the definition of mandatory and non-mandatory roles. This means that the Business Role allows remediation of specific access at the user level, where the SAP Composite Role does not allow this.


Advantages of Well-Designed Business and Composite Roles

Properly designed Business and Composite Roles can significantly streamline the user onboarding process, known as Joiner-Mover-Leaver (JML). These roles simplify the provisioning of SAP Single roles, which can otherwise be a time-consuming process. Efficient role management reduces support costs and minimizes business downtime as users wait for their SAP access.

Well designed Business or Composite Roles can also improve the User Access Review process, as assigned access is more aligned to the user’s job function. Not only will this reduce the effort to complete the review, but it is likely to result in more informed decision making by the reviewers, which improves the effectiveness of the control.


Risks of Poorly Designed Business and Composite Roles

However, the benefits of streamlined provisioning can be negated if roles are not carefully designed. Over-allocation of access can lead to inappropriate permissions, increasing the risk of fraud or data leaks. The challenge lies in creating roles that accurately reflect the activities of a group of users. Often, roles become too broad, including functionalities that are not relevant to all users in the group. This issue is exacerbated by the disconnect between HR job titles and actual user activities in the SAP system.


    Proper Configuration of Business and Composite Roles

    To ensure Business and Composite Roles are effectively aligned with user functions in SAP, follow these steps:

    1. Validate HR Data: Ensure the accuracy of HR data to create proper roles. Discrepancies can hinder role creation, making retrospective reviews and adjustments crucial.
    2. Analyse Usage Data: Examine usage data to understand user activities within roles. This helps identify unauthorised activities and refine role definitions.
    3. Engage Line Managers: Collaborate with line managers to gain insights into daily SAP activities. Their input is vital for accurate role specification.

    In conclusion, effective management of Business and Composite Roles is essential for optimising user access in SAP systems. By ensuring roles are accurately defined and aligned with user activities, organisations can enhance security, reduce risks, and improve overall efficiency.


    Take control of the provisioning process with Soterion’s Role Modelling functionality

    Soterion’s Role Modelling functionality allows organisations to create business or SAP Composite Roles based on actual user usage. Once a role is created, select the most suitable user, and Soterion will compare other users in the department to this user, sorting them by similarity in SAP access.

    This process helps department owners allocate SAP users according to their job functions and usage, minimising the risk of misassignments. Soterion highlights common access already assigned to the Business Role and any access not yet assigned, aiding role owners in making informed decisions about additional access.

    Graphical representations show when a user’s activities differ significantly from the Business Role, preventing inappropriate role assignments. Once defined, the associated single roles are displayed with their contribution to the total risk count. The business process flow functionality clarifies the access in the Business Role, ensuring appropriate assignments. An access risk analysis can also be performed to provide users with suitable access for their job functions.

    Take control of your provisioning process by creating well-defined roles for appropriate SAP user access.

    Contact us to learn more about Soterion’s GRC software solutions.

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