Signavio Process Manager Review

Full process visibility helps promote collaboration for the betterment of business processes

What is our primary use case?

In our company in healthcare, we right now focus on process documentation in order to build a base for future process improvement and potential automation. We use the Signavio Process Manager to design the processes and publish them on the Collaboration Hub. This adds to the transparency of the business since all employees have access to the Collaboration Hub and see the documented processes as visualized models. This transparency is fostering the collaboration between business units by reducing silo thinking and thus enabling continuous process improvement.

How has it helped my organization?

The interface is quite intuitive. I am modeling a lot of processes, so for me, it's quite easy. We don't use the entire BPMN 2.2 notation, but I think it's quite easy to understand. At the same time, we have noticed that it is not that easy for people who are not used to reading processes. I think that you have to have a certain amount of background knowledge before you begin. If you are modeling, for example, it is easy to use if you know how to model processes. They also give you a pre-selection of what you can use, which helps.

My team of four people are the only ones who are modeling processes, so the intuitiveness in terms of being able to model does not help others. However, I think in general, when it comes to understanding our models, this solution empowers people in terms of understanding BPMN. They can use the collaboration hub and see the process, and then they use it in the project themselves. They see what is available and they understand the processes a little bit better.

We have not really used process modeling and automation to this point. We mainly document processes and try to get a better handle on the documentation. This helps us to close the gap between what is documented and how people do their work on a daily basis. At the same time, I think it's a very good framework to dig deeper into data mining, process intelligence, and also workflow accelerator because once you have to have processes, you can build on that. It's the fundamentals.

This solution pretty much enables us to carry out the entire process-improvement lifecycle in a unified hub. However, we also use another model on top of that where we measure how good the process is. We give the users a set of questions for them to rate the processes that we give to them. We use the state model, so based on this agenda, the process falls into one of those six categories. We plan to later do this rating of the processes using a workflow accelerator, but it still needs to be implemented.

An example of how Signavio is improving our business is the Collaboration Hub and the whole idea of collaboration. I see myself when I'm in projects or when I'm modeling processes, it's like a common language that you create. What I see a lot is when people come together, they don't really understand each other. For example, if you have IT people and doctors talking, they live in two different worlds, but somehow if you use this language, you can bridge them and you can bring them together because you have a common understanding. I think that's very helpful. So, if you make it accessible to both of the business units to make it accessible to the doctors and to IT people, they will get interested in putting their own ideas into a process.

With respect to providing our users with all of the tools they need, it depends on which side you're talking about. As editors, it's giving us pretty much everything, although we have to do some workarounds. We have process management and we have document management on top of it. We are using two different systems for this and we have connected them because you cannot do it all with Signavio alone. It is not very user-friendly if the user puts one hundred documents into a single process, so we use a different solution for that, and the users jump onto another system. We are keeping mind, of course, that Signavio is not a document management tool, it's a process management tool. Certainly, I think that our needs are covered right now. We have a big transformation project going on and we do a lot of standardization and process variance, so we have combined them in the architecture. Compared to process mining or process intelligence, our use case is simple, so our requirements are met.

The solution’s collaborative features should in theory help to create a process-centric mindset in our organization, although I think the whole idea of process thinking is a mental level that is above this. Even though people use processes as a common language, they don't always think in terms of processes. I don't know if Signavio can really help with that. The collaboration tools help with collaboration, and that's it. Becoming process-centric is more of a thought management function, where you need to foster the process thinking in general. I don't think that it even needs to necessarily be covered with this tool.

What is most valuable?

Based on my experience, one of the best features offered by Signavio is its simple Collaboration Hub functions, where users from various departments can constantly refer to in their TO-BE process design. The impact bridging silos with offering transparency is immense, especially in hierarchical organizations like hospitals. Most people feel part of the "process revolution" and some of them are even affected by the "process virus", thus initiating continuous improvement by looking at potentials/low hanging fruits in their own AS-IS processes.

What needs improvement?

There are two main features I like to see implemented/further developed in the SaaS solution, which would bring a great value to our present business case.

On the first hand, I would like to see the inclusion of some document management functionalities. Even though Signavio focusses on process management, processes are often accompanied by loads of documents. With our current solution, we link the DMS system with Signavio, nevertheless, an embedded solution of DMS with Signavio would certainly bring more benefits and better operability to the overall solution and its end-users.

On the other hand, a more user-friendly solution could be targeted with process standards and process variants compromising the overall process architecture. On the level of the process manager, it would be very convenient if standardized processes / or standardized parts of processes could be treated differently from process variants and be "marked" as such. Especially if standardized process parts are implemented in completely different (end-to-end) processes, a marginal change of the standardized part would be translated in all those other processes, where the standard process part is implemented. In the current status, process modularization needs to be performed, where the standardized parts are linked to from any other (end-to-end) process. On top of this, reports could be drawn to measure the % of standardization across all processes, including also standardized process parts in the analysis instead of just those processes, which are standardized end-to-end.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, the solution offered by Signavio is very stable. We had from time to time some troubles with stability at the beginning, where users couldn't access the Collaboration Hub. However, this was due to the fact that our servers are based in South Africa. Therefore, the source of the problem is the location of the servers, which made communication with the Signavio cloud unnecessarily complicated. In the context of healthcare though, even a short system failure might have a significant impact on our daily business. Since we combine BPM with DMS, our end-users need the Signavio access to retrieve their documents for patient treatment. If the access is denied, we all feel the anxiety level increase (slightly) because our value proposition is addressing people's life and their wellbeing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the product is very impressive. At the end of our transformation project, we gonna have more than 10'000 users accessing the Collaboration Hub. We deploy the product parallel to our Transformation Project (HIT2020) in one clinic after the other and we found that the increasing number of users on the platform is not negatively influencing the software performance. This definitely speaks for the scalability of the software solution and allows us to focus on process management initiatives to support business transformation rather than concentrating on issues concerning software performance.

How are customer service and technical support?

Since I have a business background and I am not an IT expert, I am mostly not the person speaking directly with the technical support team of Signavio. Nevertheless, most bugs occurring in our daily business are fixed within just a few hours of time. We only experienced two or three issues, where problem-solving took some more time. But in my experience the Signavio support team is always determined to fix our problem as soon as possible, delivering satisfying customer service.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were different solutions in the pipeline and the final battle was between Signavio and Adonis. One of the decision-makers already knew Signavio and voted for the Signavio solution advertising its usability for both process managers and end-user. In the further decision process, he managed to convince everyone to launch Signavio as the new process management tool.

What other advice do I have?

In general, I think it is very important to understand the/your functionality of process management in a company and its relationship/alignment with business strategy. Based on the visions of where you want to go with process management, the right tool for the missions needs to be chosen.

I personally am very much convinced by the modularized solutions Signavio is offering in one SaaS software package: Process Manager, Process Intelligence and Workflow Accelerator all connected with the Collaboration Hub. If you want to push business transformation forward, want to go into process mining, facilitate process automation and in particular want to strengthen digitization initiatives those requirements are well covered with the Signavio tool.

Although, each company has a different role of process management within their company, a process management's "why", "how" and "what" must be clear from the beginning on. The tool chosen must then fit this strategic direction in order to support the business in their e.g continuous improvement.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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