Earlier this month, SAP adjusted the business structure, embellished the brand, and extended the capabilities of SAP Signavio. On the heels of those announcements, ASUG reached out to Signavio co-founder Gero Decker—now co–general manager (GM) of the SAP Signavio business—for an update on the technology, development priorities, and customer demand.
The following are edited excerpts from our email-based interview.
Q. You and your organization spent the last year within SAP. What were the key developments for you, for the organization, and for the Signavio solution over that time?
A. For me, a key development was working as a partner with co-GM Rouven Morato. His experience within SAP and his passion for process transformation have made our integration into SAP as smooth as possible and allowed us to focus on growing the business.
For the Signavio team, we have really benefited from the global reach of SAP, as it has allowed us to scale our business much more rapidly than expected. We are seeing growth in our core markets in Europe and even stronger acceleration of growth in regions such as APJ and North America, where previously we had a smaller presence. It has also allowed us to tap into the experience and talent available throughout SAP.
For our product and solution, we have easily leveraged some SAP technologies that are relevant for process transformation, such as robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning, allowing us to focus on evolving our portfolio. For example, we just released a new analytics offering that allows customers to correlate user experience data with operations data, giving them the ability to understand the human impact of process changes they roll out.
Q. What is the scope of your responsibilities and those of your co-GM Rouven?
A. While we jointly work on the overall strategy for SAP Signavio, Rouven focuses more on building out our go-to-market organization while I am focusing more on building out our product and engineering organization.
Q. What have you heard from customers over the last year regarding their technology challenges?
A. On the one hand, the speed of change has increased even further. Customers do not have the time to wait for months to understand their current state and years to see change taking effect. The need for operational agility has increased dramatically. Fast time-to-insights, like we are providing with our SAP Process Insights products, has become critical to be able to make decisions fast. This allows customers to be much smarter not only with large-scale technology transformations, but also with leveraging new technology capabilities, e.g., RPA and low-code/no-code application development.
On the other hand, technology teams have realized that they can be a real innovation driver for customer touchpoints. COVID-19 has shown us how digital has become normalized in customer interactions. Therefore, technology teams also play a key role in reimagining customer journeys.
Q. Similarly, what have you heard from customers over the last year regarding their business challenges?
A. The last year has been a true wakeup call for senior executives. Before, you would have seen little interest in the operational details of an organization. Now, with supply chains breaking, staff having to work remotely, and customer behavior changing faster than ever, a focus on process has moved up to the top priority spot. Just like finance and sales have been accepted as core muscles of any organization over the last decades, operational change has moved up to a similar level of importance—which now needs to be strengthened and built out as a capability in many organizations.
In addition, we had strong growth in North America in 2021. We are seeing traction across industries. For customers moving to SAP S/4HANA, they are looking to shorten the time to value for the move, as well as to increase stakeholder buy-in with our collaboration hub. In addition, they expect to create a more flexible IT architecture that will give them a competitive advantage and more profitable growth. For non-SAP environments, we are seeing increased interest in process management as a discipline, with companies seeking a centralized hub or center of excellence, which proactively manages company processes to align them with business goals, as well as continuing to support regulatory compliance processes.
Q. What is the SAP Signavio solution strategy/road map on a go-forward basis?
A. SAP Signavio solution development is looking to optimize our portfolio for SAP-centric companies, as well as to continue innovating and extending capabilities for both SAP and non-SAP environments. Our fundamental framework is to make our solutions as collaborative as possible, so users can have access to the combined experience and creativity of the full organization. We are also looking to include the human element in process transformation. In the past, we have seen companies over-invest in process optimization in a siloed way, which sometimes created unintended problems. By pulling in experience data and correlating that with any process changes made along the full end-to-end process, we believe we can help minimize that sort of unintended consequence. We will, of course, continue to draw on the extensive portfolio of SAP technologies. We plan to make available some of the decades of process experience SAP has, across all industries.
Q. In recent news, SAP indicated that there are additional investments/resources behind Signavio. What are the focal points for the resource and investment increase?
A. We have seen growth across all teams, with a major focus on product development. We have also expanded our go-to-market teams to improve our presence across all geographies.
Q. Please describe the integration and inter-relationship between Signavio tools and BPI; BTP; RISE with SAP; and SAP Cloud.
A. SAP Signavio (formerly known as Business Process Intelligence) is a key part of RISE with SAP. In fact, every customer who has bought RISE with SAP in the past year or so has access to our “starter pack.” The reasoning is that SAP views ongoing business process transformation as a key foundation to unlocking the promise of a digital transformation project.
Q. Could you please reference key customers in North America and how they are innovating their business operations and results via SAP Signavio solutions?
A. At SAP Sapphire & ASUG Accelerate Orlando in May, our customer Suncor will be presenting on how it is driving business innovation and reducing complexity with continuous process optimization and digital operations using SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Signavio, SAP Ariba, and SAP Fieldglass solutions. Also at Sapphire Orlando, Farmers Insurance will be participating in the SAP Signavio strategy sessions, discussing its usage. Driscoll’s is using Signavio to manage its redesign of employee upskilling processes. Veritas redesigned and brought centralized processes to multiple remote support sites.
Q. The ASUG mission is to help its members and customers gain the most value from their technology investments. How will you help them maximize their investments?
A. We hope to work with everyone to help them see the value of taking a more process-centric point of view as they look to transform how they do business. It’s my opinion that we are seeing a shift in the role of process managers. Historically, process management experts were relegated to enforcing top-down mandates and regulatory compliance practices. But with adaptability as the key competitive differentiator, it’s time for process management to be democratized. In other words, we should use it to draw on the wisdom and creativity of the full organization as we look to solve new problems. I believe we will start to see the emergence of a C-level or near-C-level process transformation office in the most innovative companies.