aconso Digital Personnel File: Automating HR Processes and Saving Forests


Ulrich Jaenicke, co-founder and CEO of aconso AG, remembers well the meeting back in 2011 held by SAP for partners to announce the acquisition of SuccessFactors.

“It was a great moment,” he recalled, “because SuccessFactors – like us – was a cloud company. And unlike many others, we were already using web technologies. “After that, our company took off like a rocket.”

Yet aconso had already made its mark in the human resources (HR) field with Digital Personnel File, which is now available on SAP’s online marketplace, SAP Store. From the beginning, he explained, aconso has been helping companies fully automate HR processes and documents management. Even as a startup, aconso established itself immediately, signing on customers like Lufthansa and a subsidiary of VW Group.

All four founders hold the patent for Digital Personnel File and are now in charge of new product ideas and go-to-market strategies. They now comprise the aconso management board.

Turning the Page on Paper Files

Besides web technologies, the key to the product’s success was usability, taking advantage of “cover flow” – the ability to go through a file page by page electronically, in this case, on a PC. This was of course long before the era of scrolling on a smartphone. During the year or so of original product development, the team devised a way to transform pictures quickly and create a user-friendly, intuitive interface.

Based in Munich, aconso has become the market leader for HR document management in Europe, now with four product offerings on SAP Store. The spotlight app Digital Personnel File is a digital counterpart to the paper employee file, enabling HR staffers to retrieve electronic documents easily from the company’s SAP solutions through intelligent search and filing.

Integrated with both the SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP ERP HCM solutions, the app digitizes document management, internal communication, and personnel data acquisition procedures, including scanning and logistics. The results of this end-to-end solution include big cost savings, big space savings, big time savings, faster processes – and much, much less paper. The counterpart of Digital Personnel File is the app Document Creation, enabling creation of contracts, certificates, and other HR documents.

Helping Customers Pivot Fast Toward More Climate-Friendly Processes

I asked Jaenicke how the company has fared during the challenges posed by the past year. “At first we were nervous about what would happen. But we are lucky guys, with most of our employees already working in home offices. Many of our customers had to make major adjustments to mobile working models. And one thing they learned very fast: you can’t handle paper.”

Consequently, business has been booming for aconso as customers digitize HR processes, which, he remarked, “is one small step in saving our forests and reducing carbon footprint.”

Next on the agenda for aconso is growing its presence in North America, where implementations already in place include Accenture, based in Chicago, and Bilfinger, based in Texas.

The SAP Store team is providing excellent support in that regard, reported Silvia Bayerl, who is responsible for aconso’s partnership with SAP and works closely with SAP partner managers.

“We are hopeful about going further transatlantic with SAP,” she remarked. “And we are exploring opportunities with hyperscalers that will enable us to meet special requirements in India and China for data storage within the country.”

When it comes to saving forests, SAP is planting a tree for every purchase made on SAP Store, and we’re glad to do that on your behalf! Why not check out the spotlight app Digital Personnel File now, and try it free?

Anne Yi is general manager of SAP Store Partner Solutions at SAP.