Eliminating system complexity

Boosted by the acquisition of online automation platform Integromat, Celonis has rolled out its Execution Management System that it says will eliminate system complexity – one of the biggest capacity killers in business. Digital Bulletin gets the intel from Alexander Rinke, co-CEO and co-founder.

Before we begin with the Execution Management System (EMS) announcement, let’s have a quick chat about the Celonis story – how have you managed to grow at such a rate in just nine years?

Celonis started as a company that replaced manual process mining with digital process mining. It was really as simple as that. No longer did executives need to gather in large conference rooms and manually chart out their existing processes, most of which was based on guesswork and conjecture. We were able to quickly map out all existing processes digitally and accurately, and that has helped us constantly roll out best-in-class deployments across industries and geographies.

You took six years to look to external funding and have been profitable since the get-go, how do you reflect on that achievement?

There is no doubt that I am very proud of everything we have achieved over the last 10 years, but I don’t spend too much time pondering over our achievements. When the three of us started this, we came to work every day to think of new ways we could help our customers and our people succeed. Now, valued at $2.5 billion with offices around the world and a large workforce, we still come to work with the same approach. You can never be too satisfied with what you have already achieved – or you will stop innovating.

You’ve just launched the EMS, tell us about its capabilities and how it is going to empower your clients?

All enterprises, large and small, run their core processes and operations through a complex mix of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of individual systems. The complexity of this rigid and fragmented system environment traps execution capacity, which hampers business performance.

The Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) sits on top of processes and systems and unlocks capacity in real time. It leverages our process mining core to draw data from underlying systems and identifies and measures capacity barriers. The Celonis EMS then provides the best-in-class knowledge, actions, and automations to systematically remove these constraints.

Alexander Rinke

It’s been designed to eliminate system complexity – how big an issue is that for enterprise in your opinion?

We are experiencing our generation’s version of the industrial revolution, where every process and business function is being refactored to compete and execute in this new world. However, executives in even the best-run businesses still struggle with removing system barriers, and that’s why we developed our new EMS. For the last 10 years, Celonis’ leading process mining core has enabled customers to find and fix process problems. Equipped with this decade of experience and knowledge, Celonis EMS enables customers to take the next step to unlock execution capacity in every facet of their business.

Customers and partners can then also create their own execution apps. These act by automating routine decisions and, when necessary, activating the right people to take action — so each department can execute at its full potential.

We are blown away that Celonis customers are regularly seeing performance gains that result in a 5x return on investment in less than 90 days. We believe the Celonis EMS will redefine how all of our customers manage their business execution.

You’ve got a number of blue-chip clients, could you pick a couple out for us and tell us how you’ve helped them achieve savings and/or derive valuable insights?

Companies using the Celonis EMS are constantly identifying and unlocking more capacity in their business. In finance and administration, the average touchless invoice rate is only 27%, where Celonis EMS customers often achieve 90%. In the supply chain, the average on-time delivery rate is only at 43% while Celonis EMS customers can achieve more than 95%. In customer service, the average Net Promoter Score is 32, compared to a score that is more than double for Celonis EMS customers who regularly achieve scores of more than 70.

Some examples of the work we’ve done includes: helping Ascend to improve its on-time delivery by 27%, while increasing automation by 43% in just four months; helping L’Oréal increase touchless orders by 800% while shipping more products on-time than ever before; supporting BT to achieve a 59% reduction in overall customer service cycle times; and working with Comcast to capture an $85 million improvement in asset utilisation.

Talk to us about process mining if you would – what is it, why is it important and what proportion of enterprises are getting it right?

Process mining is an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring, and improving processes as they actually are (not as you think they might be), by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in the existing IT systems. It offers objective, fact-based insights, derived from actual data, that help companies audit, analyse, and improve their existing business processes by answering both compliance-related and performance-related questions.

We are experiencing our generation’s version of the industrial revolution, where every process and business function is being refactored to compete and execute in this new world

Global research we ran last year found that the majority of companies are still not using process mining in their operations. It is most widely used by order management departments, with nearly half (48.5%) already deploying the technology, but this falls significantly among finance departments, where it can be particularly useful – just a fifth (21.5%) of accounts payable and a sixth (17.6%) of accounts receivable departments use it. As a result, execution gaps remain widespread among many enterprises.

Process mining technology is at the core of the Celonis EMS, enabling users to measure their execution capacity by fully understanding how their processes run before taking automated action to remove any execution gaps.

Tell us about the challenges of developing a system that is compatible with all of the IT/software platforms that are utilised by enterprise?

We spent a long time looking for a different way to automate processes across applications. It needed to be a modern, cloud-based approach that is easy to use and scalable in order to address the challenges customers currently have with traditional RPA and enterprise integration tools. We also wanted an agile and easy way to be able to pull and analyse data sets across platforms and applications to truly create an end-to-end and real-time solution.

The answer became clear watching so many thousands of business users rapidly adopting new online automation systems. That’s where we found Integromat, the perfect addition to our Celonis EMS.

You’ve also announced the acquisition of Integromat, could you tell us what it will bring to the table and benefit Celonis as a whole?

Integromat is a leader in the new class of online automation systems. These new systems are reinventing the automation market by making it extremely easy for business users to automate connections between all of the applications and systems they use to execute their business operations. Integromat has more than 375,000 users, is growing at more than 400% year on year, and has more than 500 out-of-the-box system and application connectors.

In simple terms, Integromat automates processes that you currently handle manually. It is not only capable of connecting apps but can also transfer and transform data. It works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and does not require your intervention. It not only offers direct support for the most popular apps and services, but you can also easily connect to almost any web service, allowing you to virtually automate your entire world. All without writing a single line of code.

This acquisition strengthens Celonis’ ability to unlock execution capacity trapped by customers’ rigid and complex systems by intelligently automating actions across hundreds of systems in a scalable and intuitive way.

The addition of Integromat to the Celonis EMS deepens its automation capabilities and further enables customers to eliminate complexity from all levels of system, application, and task automations. The Integromat automation system will be tightly integrated into the Celonis EMS and deepen the capabilities of Celonis’ core automation engine, while empowering anyone to create scalable automations using an intuitive and easy user interface. Of course, we will constantly keep benchmarking and evolving, keeping ahead of the game as datasets evolve.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

What we’re doing with our EMS is something that has never been done before. Even through this pandemic, where we have found ourselves in a position we never thought we would be in, we are already seeing our customers achieve significant business outcomes with the EMS. It has become more relevant and essential than we ever imagined it would be.


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