Even if no one is aware of it today anymore, already during the founding of IDS Scheer in Saarbrücken in the year 1984, the idea of a business process stood centre-field to the company’s performance. I had written the first German book on the CIM organization concept (CIM = Computer Integrated Manufacturing) and IDS Scheer – although back then only a small Saarlandic start-up company with relatively few employees – was already sought after as conceptual advisor by large industrial companies like Bosch or Daimler.
CIM was nothing but an initial business process concept that encompassed the entire logistics of a company. Also the technical description of geometric product characteristics and their use as generators of control programmes for machinery were recognized as a related process. These two essential business processes were incorporated by myself into the Y-CIM-Model, which – in a graphically simplified version – was also chosen as IDS Scheer’s logo. It is for this reason that the “Y” logo already represents the idea of a process, which still today represents the unique selling propositions of IDS Scheer’s software and advisory services.
ARIS House and the lifecycle concept
Parallel to the set-up of my then small company, I researched methods of the business user-oriented description of information systems.
This process proved that the description of company data, although very important, was insufficient for defining a business process itself. Among other things, functions and their relating issues were lacking. I needed a concept that fulfilled the demand for simplicity for the user and, by the same means, methodological stringency for the transfer of process content into information-technical support systems. I then found an extremely simple framework concept for the definition of business processes in the ARIS concept, in particular the graphic ARIS House model and, together with a lifecycle concept, I could demonstrate the path from company strategy to information-technical implementation of business processes. Already in 1991, the ARIS method could spread its wings across the globe.
Conceived as a prototype at my Institute for Information Systems at Saarland University, we at IDS Scheer then developed a software product for the IT support of the description, modelling and optimization of business processes according to the ARIS model. A completely new software system was developed within just a few months, which today is present in many further developments.
Meanwhile, over 7,500 clients world-wide are making use of the ARIS system. Furthermore, we work in tight correspondence with technology partners, particularly SAP and advisory houses such as Accenture or Capgemini, so that ARIS is continuously becoming a world-wide standard for the optimization of business processes.
System independence of the process level
Last but not least, through the existing co-operation with SAP, the connection of the conceptual models with the level of implementation became increasingly urgent. This seamless connection today has grown into a successful and promising concept.
The business process management, from the development of strategies through to the control of running business processes, is in itself a business process. This process of business process management must be independent of the applied software implemented in the operational business processes. The idea of initially developing a business process strategy and consequently describing it in a detailed and specialized way, in order to only then be able to segmenting it off into the various user systems, offered IDS Scheer the opportunity to position itself independently.
New ARIS components were born. Particularly the PPM component (PPM= Process Performance Manager) for the control and analysis of continual business processes is a core aspect of further development. Today, the process of business process management is fully supported by the ARIS suite and is the leading force behind advisory projects for the introduction of business process management into companies as well as also for the ARIS software.
Over the past few years, a new type of process has been added, which directly applies itself to company management, as it concerns the whole of the company – the GRC process type (Governance Risk & Compliance). Through the risk managment, risks can be identified in processes and possible solutions, for example through the definition of alternative process steps during failure of an function, can be incorporated into the modelling of the business process. A management’s need for transparency of business processes has become especially clear through the bank crisis.
A significant reason for the crisis was, after all, the lack of transparency of risk and procedures, particularly for investment banks.
The same basic ideas that determined the development of the ARIS concept right from the beginning, still lead us now: to support the generating and adaptation of information systems from the business organization idea, which is today known as “Model Driven Software Development”. At the same time, we continuously improve the user-friendliness of our systems, which is a principle expressed through the demand “models to the people”.
I am fully convinced that after a 25-year development history of Business Process Management with ARIS, the great success of the concept will continue. In order to secure this success in the IT field, which finds itself on its course of consolidation, I have decided to sell my shareholding of IDS Scheer to Software AG. In this way, ranks two and three of the industry in Germany join forces to form a new and stronger company. Supplemented by our far-reaching, strategic partnerships with large international IT enterprises, this means that a secured platform has been created in order to also carry the ARIS concept through the world over long-run.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. August-Wilhelm Scheer was born in the Westphalian town of Lübbecke in 1941. He is founder of the IDS Scheer AG and emeritus of Saarland University, where he acted and taught as director of the Institute for Information Systems. Besides other administrative offices, Scheer is commissary for innovation, technology and research of Saarland’s minister president.