In this blog series, we talk to customers about why they chose Camunda Platform 8 SaaS, what their use case is, what other solutions they may have evaluated, and what tips they have for those still in the evaluation phase or commencing implementation. Martin Busley, Senior Developer at SüdLeasing, answered our questions for this episode. He is the responsible tech lead for Camunda and started implementing the first Camunda projects in the organization four years ago.
SüdLeasing GmbH is a German financial services institution based in Stuttgart. The organization was founded in 1970 and is wholly owned by Landesbank Baden-Württemberg. It is also part of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, a network of public banks in Germany that forms the largest financial services group in Europe. As one of the leading manufacturer-independent leasing companies in Germany, SüdLeasing employs around 400 people at 22 locations across Germany and Switzerland.
SüdLeasing has been using Camunda for four years. Some processes are still running successfully on Camunda 7, but new processes are now being set up directly in Camunda 8 SaaS. The Framework Agreement for Camunda partner, S-Management Services, serves as the basis for Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe.
Tell us about your use case. What was the problem you’re hoping to solve with Camunda?
Martin Busley: “We are mainly in the process of automating our core processes from the leasing business. This starts with business initiation, application acceptance and activation, and extends throughout the contract period, i.e. contract extension and property replacement. There are also processes in the area of creditworthiness information with the Crefo (Creditreform, for creditworthiness checks), including the reversal of property transactions, i.e. property sales. So we didn’t have just one single process, but many different processes – in total a high two-digit to low three-digit number – that we were hoping to digitize. We recorded the processes and then prioritized them in decentralized, agile teams, in order to ascertain the areas where we would be able to make the most impact as quickly as possible.
The first process we started implementing using Camunda 8 was the hire purchase process from the back-office processes area. Several hundred contracts expire each month and, in the past, these had to be processed almost entirely manually. Now they are identified and processed automatically. Employees only have to intervene in the process manually in exceptional cases. Thanks to Human and Service Task Orchestration, we were quickly able to achieve a high level of efficiency here.”
What other options did you evaluate as a solution?
Martin Busley: “We have already worked with Camunda 7 and have implemented a number of processes in recent years. In each case, this was achieved using an embedded process engine, so each process was a single running application. Then it came to the point where we needed to consider that if we wanted to digitize further processes – and there are quite a lot of them – how would we go about doing that?
Camunda 7 with its Central Process Engine and Task Workers would of course have been an option. But then the Camunda team approached us and told us about Camunda 8. That was the moment we decided that we wanted to go straight to the new technology because it wasn’t an option for us to remodel everything again after two years.
What were the key decision criteria you had when evaluating options, and why did you choose Camunda 8?
Martin Busley: “For us, Camunda 8 is a technology of the future. The architecture really appealed to us, especially in terms of the separation of process and application logic. With Camunda 8, this is even easier and better to implement. We also particularly like the out-of-the-box External Task Pattern.”
Why did you decide to go with SaaS? What are the advantages compared to self-management?
Martin Busley: “When we started using Camunda 8 last year, it wasn’t entirely clear whether we would be able to use SaaS. That’s why we initially looked at the option of hosting it ourselves. However, the self-managed version would entail additional infrastructure work that we don’t have with SaaS. And our business is a leasing business, not operating software. So SaaS was our preferred approach, mainly due to the effort involved and the operating costs.
Fortunately, all the legal hurdles relating to cloud use were overcome during the course of the year. As a bank, it can initially be difficult to see your data processed outside your own infrastructure. Camunda provided us with great support throughout the process. Our teams were delighted with the quality and comprehensiveness of the responses to the corresponding security questionnaire. This made things a lot easier for us.”
What is your advice for anyone wanting to evaluate Camunda? Have you had any helpful experiences that you would like to share?
Martin Busley: “Yes, definitely. The first is a small thing relating to development: Always first check what documentation is already out there, e.g. in open source libraries. This can save you a lot of time, and the wealth of knowledge from the community is growing by the day.
My next tip is that there are already more features now than when we started. However, you should be aware that some may be added at a later date. Camunda was very helpful to us when features were missing. We have always received support and have been able to solve the challenges that have arisen as a result.
Thirdly, don’t be put off by the initial headwind – especially when it comes to cloud usage. Even though the process of enabling SaaS was lengthy and involved a lot of internal negotiations, the benefits are immense and justify the effort.
And lastly, I would recommend being more open to evaluate low-code. We are having a closer look at connectors at the moment and we see that it can reduce time for development without losing flexibility or developer-friendliness.”
You can visit their websites to learn more about SüdLeasing and our partner, S-Management Services.
To find out more about process orchestration and how it can help your organization, get started with Camunda Platform 8 for free today or read this blog post on Why R-KOM chose Camunda Platform 8.