When it launched Rise with SAP in January, SAP also announced the acquisition of Signavio, a small Berlin-based software company.
Signavio is a pioneer of process exploration software, which is used to perform business process audits to uncover inefficiencies. Its cloud technology is seen as an essential part of Rise with SAP business transformation model, which aims to help SAP customers move from legacy on-premises ERP systems to modern cloud-based infrastructures centered on S / 4HANA.
The organization of Signavio was introduced in SAP’s Business Process Intelligence (BPI) group, where its technology is integrated into SAP products. However, Signavio is not an SAP-only prospect and its products can be applied to all applications in an organization’s IT landscape. The company also has partnerships with other ERP vendors, including Infor.
In this Q&A, Gero Decker, co-founder and CEO of Signavio, discusses the software publisher’s approach to business transformation as neither a one-off nor a single-system project, but as an ongoing process that spans all processes and applications in an enterprise landscape. He also explains how the company has fared since buyout by SAP and the role that Signavio’s business process management products can play in the digital transformation of the enterprise.
How is Signavio doing after the acquisition by SAP in January?
Gero Decker: A lot has happened. We have hired 200 more for our team, so it is growing fast. We mainly work on two screens. One is to deliver on our promise of end-to-end digital transformation, helping customers understand how to independently transform their business processes, whether they are SAP or non-SAP systems. The other big business stream is leveraging all of the synergies we have with SAP, the SAP products, and the SAP ecosystem. … We are about to release the [general availability] the SAP Process Insights product, which brings process analysis to as many people as possible. It does not require any client side work. You just turn it on on your SAP systems and it starts giving you information and recommendations.
What are Signavio’s objectives after the acquisition?
Decker: Our ambition is not only to deliver a great process transformation product under the SAP roof, but also to change the way SAP creates and delivers business software. Going forward, you won’t start with apps and then see how they fit into your image. You will start with your operating model and how you want to operate in the future. Signavio examines process events and, from there, pulls application capabilities to serve the different parts of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s fundamentally different from what a company says, “Here is a set of software that you have to buy. It’s more like, ‘This is the target state. Let’s talk about your operating model and go through things one by one. This can tell you what services and capabilities they want to deploy.
It seems to be a more customer-centric approach.
Decker: Customers don’t care how you slice and slice your software or how you build your technology. Customers care about how well they can perform, how well they can serve their customers, and how they can be agile enough to move into the operating model they need. It may sound very disruptive to where SAP came from, but this is where we see customer demand – always starting with the process.
How does Signavio fit into Rise with SAP?
Decker: Rise with SAP does not currently ship with a full set of BPI products. There are some components that are grouped together in Rise, especially those that help you perform your current state analysis and give early recommendations. As you begin to design your future state – by evaluating different parts, involving many people, sharing everything across the organization – this is usually where you need to license additional components or positions. for the Signavio product suite. What’s included in the Rise package will give you a good understanding of the current state of the processes you have – which ones you’re good at, which you’re bad at, and recommendations for following the S / 4HANA path. But once it comes to an analysis of non-SAP systems or future state design, these elements [are an additional cost].
How does Signavio’s software help organizations understand their entire IT landscape, including SAP, as well as other systems and applications? Suppose you have three factories with different systems and processes, can Signavio help you standardize these operations?
Decker: This is where Signavio has traditionally come from, to support SAP technology and not SAP, but we’re really interested in how these factories operate – is there any business value to standardize? [operations]? Maybe not. Maybe you can just keep it as is because it’s pretty good and all three factories are running well, and it would be a $ 20 million project just to do some standardization but not improve any operational KPIs. It does not mean anything. It’s about being smart as an organization to chart a course but also to decide where you want to make the investment, what is the highest priority.
To get there, you need to understand how the processes work in each system.
Decker: Right. It’s easier said than done to say that you want to standardize. This is where you need to fill that gap and figure out how you do things. We always say understand, improve and transform. The understanding part always comes first, and the more the system can do for you, the better.
Does Signavio continue its relationships with other corporate suppliers like Infor that were in place prior to the acquisition?
Decker: It’s alive. We had a ton of new customers through the Infor partnership in the second quarter. So this continues, and it’s also part of our mantra to serve both SAP and non-SAP customers. This is our view of the world. So, does Infor say, “Now that you’re part of SAP, we don’t work with you anymore”? They may ask themselves this question, but so far we have had no partner who left us because we switched to SAP.
Editor’s Note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Jim O’Donnell is a TechTarget news writer who covers ERP and other business applications for SearchSAP and SearchERP.