sap signavio process mining [shutterstock: 635415917, Phawat]
[shutterstock: 635415917, Phawat]
Blog Editor-in-Chief

Gold Mining

Two weeks ago, I wrote an opinion piece on SAP’s acquisition of the Berlin-based startup Signavio by SAP. It did not go over well.

I titled my article ‘SAP And Signavio: Not Everything That Glitters Is Gold’, suggesting that SAP may have acquired fool’s gold when it chose to buy Signavio. There have been many negative comments on the opinion piece. Here’s my response (for full context read my original piece plus the comments underneath it):

“Thank you for your comments, most of which I actually agree with. I am neither paid by Celonis nor by SAP. Yes, it is true that process mining can only be the first step. The diagnosis must be followed by ‘therapy’ including the right medicine. Yes, Signavio has more to offer than process mining, e.g. some low-code/no-code options. However, we at E-3 Magazine analyze what is happening from the perspective of an existing SAP customer. We can’t say for certain who is better, Celonis or Signavio. But what we can say is that Celonis was on SAP’s price list, which Eddy Schmidt correctly noted among many other points. Mendix with low-code/no-code functionality is also on the SAP price list. This inclusion in the SAP Price and Conditions List is a very important signal for SAP customers. They are guided by these specifications and make strategic decisions based on them. SAP is great, but sometimes very confusing! A few years ago, Celonis was the star in the process mining space with exclusive appearances at the SAP Research Center in Potsdam. Now, SAP has bought the startup Signavio. Makes one wonder: What solution might become the go-to process mining option on the SAP price list in a few years? I know life means change, but SAP projects take many years to complete, and existing customers need stability, trust, and planning security during this time. If SAP conjures up a new rabbit out of its magician’s hat every year, it might be a spectacle to behold (like Rise was), but it could also be counterproductive for the SAP community.

Another example regarding the low-code/no-code topic: A few years ago, SAP cooperated with Mendix (a Siemens company), then SAP CTO Juergen Mueller presented the tool Ruum at TechEd 2020, and BPMguy correctly noted that Signavio also offers low-code/no-code functionality. So, what should the existing SAP customer look for? Which one should they choose – or, more to the point, which low-code/no-code tool will still be valid/on SAP’s price list in three years? I don’t know which of the three is better, but I do know that existing SAP customers finally need a binding roadmap and orientation – and not always new rabbits from SAP’s magician’s hat.”

SAP CFO Luka Mucic is a proven fan of Signavio and delivered a very instructive presentation on this topic two weeks ago during the Q4 and Full-Year Results earnings call. He concluded that Signavio’s process mining capabilities could finally increase SAP’s liquid assets. The combination of process mining plus complementary IT tools from one source may be worth the price, and the benefits are undoubted – but anyone who has been a part of the SAP community for a long time also knows that process mining is not a new hype. There’s Aris by Professor Scheer, or take Jedox, for example, which received 100 million euros in venture capital earlier this year. Germany-based company Kern has been focusing on this topic for over 30 years. And of course, there is Celonis, a startup with a valuation of well over one billion euros. As I wrote in my response to your comments: With a line-up of choices like this, how should SAP customer decide?

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All process mining tools have one thing in common: A very strong visual component. My advice: Put them side by side (without any company logos), and then decide which image is most clearly structured and easiest to understand – don’t decide based on dramatic 3D pictograms in all possible colors, arrows and strokes in spectacular twists and turns, and technical vocabulary that is hardly compatible with your own SAP know-how.

About the author

Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

Peter M. Färbinger is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at E-3 Magazine, B4Bmedia.net AG, Munich, Germany. He can be reached at [email protected]

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