Our internal customer
A history of operational excellence
As software pioneers of a truly connected world, we’ve long been driven by the idea of operational excellence. Since our founding in 1969, it’s been our mission to help businesses instantly see, decide, act, and thrive—in part through our industry-leading business process management solutions. Today, this drive for process excellence is an internal affair as well: to ensure quality management, business continuity, and regulatory compliance, we rely extensively on ARIS Enterprise, our top-of-the-line solution built for business process transformation.
This culture of operational excellence, though, did not develop overnight. Our history with ARIS runs deep: we began using the platform more than a decade ago—even before we acquired it in a 2009 merger. Still, many departments took time to embrace it which meant our documented process landscape was long incomplete.
This finally changed in 2014, when we decided to pursue ISO certification for quality management: a global standard that demonstrates one’s ability to provide products and services that consistently meet customer and regulatory requirements. Leadership needed a simple way to demonstrate to auditors how our target processes unfold in real life. Luckily, the perfect tool was right there at our fingertips.
“With ARIS, we were able to create complete process models, without interruptions, that gave the auditors exactly what they needed,” says Frank Simon, Senior Vice President of Audit, Processes & Quality at Software AG. “We received the certification—and with it, a company-wide appreciation for the platform’s ability to make processes controlled and transparent.”
For Software AG, this quality management audit was a moment of Zen: if ARIS could make the exercise so painless, leadership realized, it could also bring great benefits to a range of other use cases. Staff from all corners of the company, from back-office to R&D, began to take a fresh look at its capabilities. ARIS Business Design & Strategy offered an unmatched ability to design, document, analyze—and optimize—business processes, while offering visually friendly dashboarding and charts, customer journey mapping, and in-depth scenario planning. ARIS Rollout & Change Management promised to help staff better coordinate operating procedures —and guarantee business continuity in the event of any system failures. With ARIS Risk & Compliance Management, we’re able to assess the effectiveness of our Internal Control Framework and better follow-up internal audits.
In the years since that first ISO certification, ARIS has proved its mettle on numerous occasions. The solution played an essential role in helping us comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adopted by the bloc in 2016. Here, ARIS Risk & Compliance Management was critical: it allowed us to link our obligations under the regulation to our map of business processes, identify which process steps were affected, and easily create data impact risk assessments as required. Today we use ARIS as part of the Data Protection Management System (DPMS) and document especially the following processes: Handle Data Breaches, Handle Data Subject Request, and Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).
ARIS also helped us achieve two other key ISO certifications—for business continuity and information security management. Compliance with the former helped immensely early on in the Covid-19 pandemic: as customers scrambled to pivot their software solutions to deal with its business impacts—from office closures to a strain on e-commerce—we were able to provide prompt answers to their inquiries through our quality and continuity web page. “The fact our processes were already documented with ARIS was key to our ability to respond swiftly,” Simon says. “In a business continuity situation, you can easily identify the affected processes, locations, or teams—and act before the problem escalates.”
Encouraged by this recent success, Software AG is continuing to refine our internal ARIS experience. We’re currently engaged in an exercise that uses a design thinking methodology to further expand ARIS’ reach throughout the company and help our users get the most out of the platform. We’ve also initiated a process we call customer journey mapping, in which staff utilize ARIS to document their customer responsibilities and touchpoints—which enables them to provide better customer service. The more we expand usage of the platform, we’ve discovered, the more impactful it becomes: ARIS’ highly intuitive interface means we can easily re-use information from one use case to another. Not only does this save time and money; it also eliminates the headaches of documenting process changes. “Once you have a foundation in ARIS, it’s incredibly simple to adapt it to other topics,” Simon says. So much so that very soon an ARIS extension to support strategy is planned.
It’s just one of the many perks of a process management solution long beloved by Software AG’s customers—and increasingly celebrated by staff from all departments of our company.