ASUG recently interviewed SAP leaders for year-in-review highlights and commentaries on what’s next in key technology areas, solution portfolios, and industries. Here, we explore 2022 progress and the 2023 outlook for SAP Signavio with Wassilios Lolas, Global Vice President, Head of the Center of Excellence, SAP Signavio.
Question: It has been a huge year for SAP Signavio. We want you to recall what you believe were the 2022 highlights and milestones.
Answer: There were a few. One is the fact that SAP’s Business Process Intelligence and Signavio is becoming “SAP Signavio.” In this sense, the organizational consolidation has been moving ahead very, very quickly. This movement is the fastest acquisition SAP has ever done. We see that the teams are coming together and growing organically. With twice the amount from a year ago, we currently have more than 1,100 people.
Integrating the SAP Signavio suite with the SAP product and services offering is another thing we are moving ahead with very quickly. Besides a comprehensive set of tools, SAP Signavio offers a vast library of best-practice content and integration accelerators and services. Stay tuned because there is more to come in 2023.
For our customers who are moving to SAP S/4HANA, the SAP Signavio starter pack in the RISE with SAP is essential. Every customer can significantly improve and accelerate their transition to SAP S/4HANA and the business process transformation that goes with it. With SAP S/4HANA and RISE with SAP, Signavio is included as a starter pack in the bill of materials to help customers get started with the business process transformation. We've seen this picked up quite well by our customers.
Also, we launched Experience-driven Process Transformation, with the piloting of Journey to Process and Journey to Process Analytics—the capability to better understand the experience and the journey of our customers or employees—meaning the end customers’ journey and the experience of employees. We identify what is important for the end customer, the moments that matter, and understand whether they had a good or bad experience. And then, we combine these insights with the underlying operational processes, changing them to adjust to the customer's experience and expectations. This is what Experience-driven Process Transformation is about, and it’s very powerful. This has been a major theme for SAP Signavio this year.
And finally, I would like to highlight two things: through the Center of Excellence, we delivered over 400 awareness and training sessions with more than 20,000 participants so far this year for our customers, partners, user groups, and SAP colleagues. We provided hundreds of participants with a hands-on experience with the SAP Signavio suite through the SAP Signavio simulation game.
My second highlight started in 2020 when, in parallel to the CoE, I was also the product manager for SAP Signavio Process Insights until it became generally available last year in September. This product is running very well. At our SAP Signavio Business Process Transformation Forum in Orlando in September this year, we made a live connection for a customer on stage. In less than 14 minutes, that customer connected Process Insights to his ERP system and could see process flows, results, and process performance indicators. This was one of the highlights as well.
Q: Two follow up questions to this. The 1,000 people: what are their functions and focus areas? Also, for the Journey to Process Analytics pilot: What are the next steps for that pilot?
A: To your first question: SAP Signavio operates like a startup within SAP. So, we are like our own company. We have all the functions within SAP Signavio. So the 1,100 people are in all functions—development, sales, support functions, customer success, etc. At the same time, we also benefit from being part of SAP.
Regarding the pilot around Journey to Process and Journey to Process Analytics, we focus on the capabilities and the methodology of applying this. It's one thing to get the data; the other thing is, what do I do with the data now? We are working on both, and the direction is to help our customers make this process transformation experience driven. This will probably be another highlight next year when we go to general availability.
Q: How would you assess the increased awareness and adoption of SAP Signavio this past year?
A: Strong increase in awareness and interest, and lots of organizations are using SAP Signavio successfully, but has yet to be where we would like it to be, honestly. This is because we are the first and, so far, only player in the market to offer a comprehensive suite for business process transformation: SAP Signavio is talking about transformation, covering the entire end-to-end transformation:
- Analyzing the current processes with their real execution and performance
- Identifying process deficiencies and deciding where to act
- Designing the future processes
- Integrating business processes management with IT configuration and enterprise architecture
- Governing and the automation of processes
If you want to be successful in your transformation, you must have all this integrated.
This concept still needs to be fully digested by the market. Many analysts, until recently, looked at process mining and business process management as separate markets. Business process transformation was not on the radar. That is incomplete. This is one of our little challenges. We are getting compared to players covering only one part of our portfolio. The good news is when we explain our holistic transformation approach, our customers and partners immediately understand. And everyone says, "Yes, of course, I need that."
Another area we arrived at first is experience-driven process management (I mentioned Journey to Process earlier). This is new, and there is no single owner in an organization. An example: Typically, in a company, who is responsible for the journey part, the customer experience? Well, it's somebody in marketing or sales. Who is responsible for process execution? Well, it's operations—two different broad areas.
Now we come in to say, "Please work together to improve the customer experience while at the same time improving your margins and operations. We're giving you the tools and the methodology to do this." Everybody understands the need and sees the benefits of such an approach, but many organizations are still operating in siloes.
Despite all the challenges, I'm 120% convinced offering SAP Signavio is very relevant and very valuable for all organizations because every customer is transforming. Any industry, any size, any geography, they're all transforming. And with SAP Signavio, they can think end-to-end and include their employees, customers, and partners in this transformation.
Q: When a customer's light bulb goes on related to SAP Signavio, what business and technology challenges can they see they can overcome?
A: Let’s use a few concrete cases to illustrate:
Example number one: Let’s assume I lead a business transformation and move from ECC to SAP S/4HANA. Along the way, I need to harmonize my business processes. I may have 10 ECC systems today, which will go into one SAP S/4HANA system. This means that I will standardize the software and consolidate my landscape. I also need to harmonize the processes: people who worked in one way until yesterday will work differently tomorrow. How do I do this? What are best practices? Where are the pitfalls and the inefficiencies in how I work today that I should correct? How can I prioritize where and when to change? How to decide with confidence? And once I make the decisions, can SAP Signavio help me with the rollout? How to secure the buy-in of the people who the change will impact?
Many will resist change if they don’t understand why and what. It's absolutely human. These are areas where SAP Signavio helps to decide with confidence, thanks to data and best practices, and then to adopt change faster thanks to a collaborative approach with all people involved and a sole source of truth for processes.
Example number two:
Enterprise architecture. Let’s assume there are changes in the business process designs. What is the impact on the IT systems? What is the impact on the enterprise architecture? One of the highlights this year was also the partnership with LeanIX. LeanIX is a major enterprise architecture facilitator. SAP Signavio collaborates and integrates with LeanIX at the enterprise level and with SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM at the SAP level.
Q: What would you list as unfinished business with SAP Signavio for this year?
A: I'm leading the Center of Excellence, so I don't say unfinished, but there's much more we can do in terms of enablement. I would love to be faster. In product development, like in any integration, it took some time until the teams came together. It took time for an agile startup like Signavio, which grew very fast, to become part of an enterprise player like SAP. We are learning how to be fast and agile from the [Signavio] guys. However, fast and agile do not always scale. So they are learning from us how to scale. In this respect, we are in a much better position than a year ago. I see much better collaboration. I find this incredibly positive; it gives me optimism for the future.
Q: What are you most proud of regarding SAP Signavio this year?
A: When our customers were on stage at the Business Process Transformation Forum events in Monaco, Orlando, and Berlin, and when they told how they are driving their transformations, how they are unifying their organization with the help of SAP Signavio, this made me proud. I could see that what we are doing is valuable and beneficial for them. That was very rewarding and energizing.
Q: Let's switch to looking forward to next year. What can the community, specifically ASUG members, expect from the SAP Signavio team in 2023?
A: Number one, in Q1 2023, we will go into general availability with the Standardized Best Practice Process Library and System Connectors. This is where customers will find process content (such as solution best practices, reference process architectures, and services content), process performance indicators, industry benchmarks, as well as thought leadership, and process guidelines. All in one spot and integrated with the SAP Signavio suite.
Second, I see an even deeper integration of SAP Signavio with the SAP portfolio, SAP S/4HANA and ECC, and SAP Ariba. This will allow for greater understanding and analysis of processes that run through Ariba and more industry-specific processes. We started with utilities, and there will be automotive, oil, gas, and others. All this is in the spirit of much faster time-to-insight, so I can understand much faster where I stand, for much faster to adapt to the new world and the new processes.
Also, I expect many new products, capabilities, and methodologies around experience-driven process management to come to our customers and partners in 2023.
Q: Are there specific industries you expect to target for SAP Signavio growth in 2023?
A: You can use SAP Signavio in every industry because it’s about accelerating and facilitating change. However, there are industries where the analysis is faster because we have the connectors already. These connectors are currently in a beta phase and will go to general availability early next year. And there are industries where SAP has traditionally been more present, and where more industry-specific content is available: look, for example, at retail, consumer products, manufacturing, automotive, oil, and gas. But again, SAP Signavio is for every industry, phase, size, and region because we're talking about change, transformation, agility, and resilience.
Q: What would be your key pieces of advice to the ASAC membership community regarding Signavio on a go-forward basis?
A: I advise thinking of every SAP S/4HANA project as a business transformation. Many ASUG members come more from the SAP IT side. With SAP Signavio, you can build the bridge between business and IT and become a relevant business. Think of the following: every business transformation is a process-driven transformation and will then become the basis for continuous improvement.
My second piece of advice is for North American organizations to become more mature in business process management and start thinking about business process management and business process transformation as an art for your company.
The need is clearly there: we've seen in the last three years with COVID, with supply chain problems, etc., the need for agile and resilient processes: when something very unexpected hits you, you need to know exactly where it'll hit you; what the implications are; the impact on your operations and your business; who and how to respond; what the alternatives are, etc. You need visibility into your operations to become resilient and agile.
With the remarkably high inflation that we have around the globe and the continued supply chain disruptions and shortages of products and commodities, you better be prepared by having transparency and being a process-driven organization. I am glad that ASUG focuses on SAP Signavio as a strategic topic. I very much look forward to deepening and widening our collaboration.