With the expanded focus that SAP has on its SAP Signavio suite and services, ASUG recently discussed the strategy. We also discussed how the organization itself first used—and continues adding to and deploying—new SAP Signavio capabilities internally. The following is the second in a series of conversations with Wassilios Lolas, Global VP and Head of Center of Excellence, SAP Signavio.

SAP Signavio is among the focus topics for our upcoming ASUG Best Practices: SAP Center of Excellence (CoE) conference. Find out more about the event here.

This is an edited version of CoE-focused questions and Wassilios’ responses.

Q: When and how did SAP begin to use Signavio tools internally?

A: SAP started using Signavio in 2015. Our processes are documented in Signavio and accessible for employees. SAP was one of the biggest Signavio customers at the time of the acquisition (SAP announced the Signavio acquisition in March 2021).

Q: What were the business drivers? And the technology drivers?

A: SAP needed to change on a fundamental level to truly become a cloud company and to integrate the many acquisitions it had made. For the business, becoming a cloud company meant changing processes across the board—from how we develop a product, to how we deliver it, to how sales teams are compensated, and to how we commercialize products, etc. Technically, we needed to optimize our own internal systems, consolidate redundancies, and improve efficiency.

Q: What were considerations when developing a Signavio CoE at SAP?

A: It is a best practice to develop a CoE to manage process management strategically. It is also a best practice to have a CoE to disseminate knowledge and expertise across the SAP organization, as well as across the ecosystem.

Q: What was the initial structure and operating model for the Signavio CoE?

A: SAP follows the 4D-model for change. The dimensions are people, process, data, and systems. All need to be catered to for a successful change. The SAP Signavio solution allows us to keep all projects in sync and lets teams collaborate. Best practices are: a) to have a central CoE with expertise, b) to have champions in all business units who act as multipliers, and c) to host documentation and collaboration on the same platform.

Q: How has that structure evolved?

A: We started with finance as the first business unit (e.g., shared services) and have rolled out to other lines of business.

Q: What have been key challenges that the CoE has addressed and overcome?

A: We’ve reduced complexity. Insights into process performance have been helpful. We did not have that at the beginning, but we do now thanks to Process Insights. We’ve gained visibility and collaboration; both help to get buy in.

Q: What business problems have been resolved by and through the CoE?

A: Not only through the CoE, but also, SAP finance, for example, was able to reduce the effort-per-dollar gained. The SAP finance headcount was reduced, while at the same time, SAP revenue was growing—doing more with less.

Q: Why should any organization that has, or is considering SAP Signavio, do so with a CoE in the plan?

A: SAP Signavio CoE supports the rapid sharing of knowledge, expertise, and best practices. The CoE acts as hub for rolling out process changes; identifying new ideas and best practices; and continuing this virtuous circle. The CoE acts as a bridge across departmental boundaries.

Q: How does the Signavio CoE help SAP (and potentially all organizations) achieve the most value from its investment in SAP technology?

A: With its CoE, SAP benefits from tailored recommendations, monitoring progress and impact, and accelerating the rollout of change.

Q: What is your best advice for organizations building and optimizing a CoE generally, and a Signavio CoE in particular?

A: Just do it! Start small and learn fast; it’s better than spending ages designing. Look for quick wins to demonstrate value to all stakeholders and participants.

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