Why Gruner + Jahr chose Camunda 8

In this new blog series, we explore the reasons why customers are migrating to Camunda 8. For our first installment of Why Camunda 8, we talked to Gruner + Jahr, one of the largest premium magazine publishers in Europe.

G+J includes such established (German) print and digital brands as STERN, GEO, BRIGITTE, ESSEN & TRINKEN, and SCHÖNER WOHNEN, as well as younger brands such as CHEFKOCH, BARBARA, BEEF, 11FREUNDE. In addition to the numerous print and digital media offerings, G+J offers products and licenses such as the SCHÖNER WOHNEN collection. The digital business contributes more than half of revenues and is exhibiting continued strong growth. Indeed, the company’s digital products lead the rankings in all publishing segments, from news through to people and living. 

G+J has been part of RTL Deutschland since January 1, 2022. Together with G+J, RTL Deutschland is Germany’s leading entertainment company, spanning all types of media: TV and streaming, print and digital, radio and podcasts. It is home to some of the country’s strongest media brands, from RTL to STERN, BRIGITTE to VOX, and GEO to Ntv. 

For this interview, we talked to Thorben Heins, software architect at G+J.

Tell us about your use case. What is the problem you’re hoping to solve with Camunda 8?

Thorben Heins: “Our main focus is to orchestrate processes that span a wide spectrum of services like SAP, Sharepoint, Outlook, Salesforce, ServiceNow and any (micro)services, including RPA bots. We thus create a bracket that makes the state of the process visible in a very heterogeneous landscape. Coming from an EAI (Enterprise application integration) background based on distributed Apache Camel microservices, we also use Camunda 8 to monitor complex integrations that typically tend to provide us with maintenance issues. Operate helps us to quickly pinpoint issues in these cases.”

Which options did you evaluate to solve your problem?

Thorben Heins: “Before we considered introducing a workflow engine to get a better overview of business processes, we had our logging and metrics for infrastructure and business KPIs to gain an insight of the state of our processes. We quickly identified BPMN as a standard we would like to use, as it was already being used for documentation purposes. Based on that we compared workflow engines that supported this standard.”

What were the key decision criteria you had when evaluating options, and why did you decide for Camunda?

Thorben Heins: “When introducing new tools into our IT environment, we apply an enterprise architecture management mechanism and create a so-called solution architecture template, where we look at the solutions we might consider including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks. In addition, we also estimate the costs over the next years and match the alternatives with our IT principles like usability, micro rather than monolith and service continuity. 

Besides looking at these facts and figures, we usually conduct PoCs (proof of concepts) to gain deeper insights before recommending one of the alternatives. It was really easy based on the Helm charts and is even easier now when using the SaaS offering for evaluation (which was not available at the time we evaluated). 

Camunda convinced us in this process. Their announcement of the Camunda 8 SaaS offering was a big factor in our decision-making process. Among the available alternatives on the market, we identified Camunda 8 to be the best match for us. The cloud-based modeling collaboration tools also suit us, since everyone is working remotely these days. The fact that Camunda offers free variants and pushes the open source community also convinced us as we have a history of building our solutions based on such stacks.”

Why did you decide to go SaaS? What’s the benefit compared to self-managed?

Thorben Heins: “It is in line with our IT strategy that we do not have to take over the operation of such systems ourselves.”

What’s your advice for anyone evaluating Camunda? Any helpful lessons you’ve learned and would like to share?

Thorben Heins: “Take the opportunity and register for a free trial to get hands-on experience with your first model. Join the community (forum, slack channel, meetups, conferences) and ask your peers what their real-life experience is and how they tackled obstacles.”

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