Move from On-Premises to Software-as-a-Service gets real with 1&1 and SAP Signavio

At 1&1, we have used SAP Signavio since 2010 throughout all company areas. As a highly technological company, we live and breathe processes. Placing robust Business Process Management technology at the core of our business has been the key to success in our constant transformation.

1&1 is a brand of United Internet AG, an internet services company with 10.000+ employees, providing landline and mobile internet access products and cloud applications at data centers. It’s essential to keep our processes updated and accurate to attend to such a dynamic and demanding market. That’s why SAP Signavio products are critical in our day-to-day activities.

In March 2020, our operating team decided to no longer extend support for On-Premises software across the company and for multiple benefits linked to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), such as faster time to deploy, use from anywhere, maintenance costs, and higher security standards.

With that in mind, we embarked on a 6-month journey to migrate all our SAP Signavio products from On-Premises to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). As our experience was highly positive, we decided to share our main challenges, lessons learned, and outcomes post-migration in this blog post.

Challenges

First and foremost, we would like to highlight the excellent support we received from SAP Signavio during the entire migration. However, with the nature of significant initiatives like this, there are some essential things to keep in mind:

  • Data volume: At 1&1, we had over 2.000 SAP Signavio editors and over 30.000 diagrams to migrate, plus 10.000 dictionary entries. At the time, this was also the most significant migration for SAP Signavio, and we had end-to-end service for six months. We learned as a team and smoothly transitioned from On-Premises to a SaaS test environment and subsequently from the test environment to a SaaS productive environment.
  • Timeline: We first transitioned from On-Premises to a SaaS test environment and checked whether all work products and features were available in the SaaS environment. For the transition, we had planned a maximum of 3 working days plus one weekend. To optimize the downtime of our in-house system and kick-start the new SaaS environment, we performed several test migration runs until we met all requirements regarding quality, function, and times.
  • IT Security and Data Protection: The second biggest challenge was to check and make sure all used Interfaces (Server and Dictionary APIs) were in place and could be used with external data sources. With the support of SAP Signavio, this also proved to be manageable.
  • Authentication: During the SaaS migration, we changed the authentication mechanism to the SAML standard to properly transfer identity data between 1&1 as the identity provider (IdP) and SAP Signavio as the service provider (SP).

Lessons Learned

After overcoming the main challenges, we can confidently say that the migration initiative was very successful. During this 6-month project, we took some great learnings for similar projects in the future that other companies in a similar situation can also use:

  • Set up a migration project and ensure a clear RACI Matrix from both sides (customer and SAP Signavio).
  • Make the most of the test environment provided by SAP Signavio when necessary.
  • Measure the time of a complete migration scenario (by using the test environment).
  • Check availability and accessibility of APIs.
  • Create auto provisioning to create new users automatically and ensure a robust Single-Sign-On implementation (recommendation: use SAML method).
  • Ensure authentication keys remain the same and aren’t generated again in the SaaS system.
  • Do not underestimate regulatory and compliance requirements as well as IT security requirements. Get in contact with your responsible internal units before starting the migration.
  • Provide a redirect URL server (in-house) to ensure that all legacy URL links will still work after moving to the SaaS system.

Outcomes

Soon after the project’s conclusion in October 2020, and up to today, the benefits of the migration are still very present in our day-to-day business. Some of these are:

  • New features are immediately available.
  • Using SAP Signavio Products from anywhere – we no longer need VPN connections.
  • IT Operation efforts shifted from our side to SAP Signavio, freeing resources from our side.
  • Real-time alerts for incident solutions and bug fixes.
  • Fully scalable platform.

Summary

In summary, 1&1 had a seamless On-Premises to SaaS migration experience, thanks to the team spirit fostered by both parties. During the entire migration period, there was a three-day downtime, and the SAP Signavio Support team promptly solved all hurdles on the way. Collaboration was smooth and essential for the success of this migration project. After migration, internal users constantly provide positive feedback, as everything works as before or even better.

As an active member of this community, I am delighted to answer any further questions about our migration experience with SAP Signavio. Feel free to add comments or text me directly.