Celonis has acquired PAF (Process Analytics Factory), a company that develops process mining software for Microsoft Power BI. The acquisition means PAF, which infuses Power BI with process mining and artificial intelligence, through its product PAFnow, will be integrated into Celonis' Execution Management System (EMS). This move will make the market-leading capabilities of the Celonis EMS accessible to the Microsoft Community through tight integration with the Microsoft Power Platform.
I caught up with Celonis co-CEO and co-founder Bastian Nominacher and PAF CEO and founder Tobias Rother, to talk about the Execution Management Everywhere strategy behind the acquisition and what it means for customers.
How the deal came together. Rother said he started his process mining journey in 2008 when he saw the first prototype from professor and now Celonis Chief Scientist Wil van der Aalst. “I instantly knew I wanted to be involved with the next big thing,” said Rother. Initially, Rother focused on research and consulting and founded PAF in 2014. Celonis was founded in 2011 as the first commercial process mining company.
Nominacher knew Rother from conferences and the process mining community. Over time, it became obvious that the combination of Celonis EMS and PAF’s flagship product PAFnow would be a “game changer” and key cog in Celonis’ Execution Management Everywhere strategy, said Nominacher.
Ultimately, both parties have been working toward the democratization of execution management powered by process mining. Culturally, Celonis and PAF aligned in their mission to democratize process mining.
Rother said he initially spoke with Celonis co-CEO Alex Rinke about a strategic partnership, but saw the potential for a merger and being part of an execution management movement. "Why did we join Celonis? Very simple: Together, we can achieve so much more, so much faster," said Rother.
"This acquisition is specifically tied to our strategy to enable companies everywhere in all industries to to use Celonis process mining within our EMS to reveal and fix process inefficiencies,” said Nominacher. “Our goal is to truly democratize and push our insights out to where the work is being done."
Execution Management Everywhere advances. Nominacher added that the PAF purchase advances the Celonis Execution Management Everywhere strategy that was already gaining momentum. IBM and Accenture and its Celonis for Consulting program has been embedding its technology into multiple systems and enabling automated actions.
The Celonis EMS combines, in one integrated cloud platform, real-time data, process intelligence, and targeted action to impact top, bottom, and greenline business performance at speed. Customers can get full clarity on how business processes are running, whether across supply chains, shared service centers, or system landscapes.
“If you look at a typical Celonis customer, we have hundreds of users within any organization. What PAF does is expand the reach. If there are 100 people in the Celonis environment we can reach 1,000 people in the Microsoft ecosystem. That's the core of our strategy. We want execution management everywhere,” said Nominacher.
Bottom line: The PAF acquisition is an Execution Management Everywhere accelerator. Rother said PAF’s strategy had been to bring process mining into PowerBI, reuse some Microsoft-built components and offer the best of PowerBI’s dashboards with its capabilities. Now Execution Management Everywhere will be inside PowerBI, Microsoft Teams and Power Automate.
Indeed, more than 260,000 companies use PowerBI. That means EMS reach can go beyond the 97% of Fortune 500 using PowerBI and extend to more enterprises.
Nominacher also said that PAF brings engineering talent to Celonis. He said:
The strategic significance of the acquisition is strengthened by the unparalleled talent within the PAF team. PAF has one of the strongest engineering teams in the world when it comes to process mining, they are veterans of technology. CTO Timo Nolle, and his team, have an exceptional academic track record, and have executed many successful co-innovation projects with major Universities such as Technical University Darmstadt. The team also won the ‘best dissertation award’ at the BPM Conference in 2021 for their highly regarded ‘Process Learning for Autonomous Process Anomaly Correction’ research. We welcome the world's leading process mining engineers and researchers to the Celonis family - to bring huge value to our customers, partners and ecosystem.
The debut of Celonis Experiences. Celonis Experiences brings the power of Celonis EMS to the systems and tools our customers already know and use. This includes systems and tools offered by Microsoft, ServiceNow, and Salesforce. In other words, Celonis Experiences is about bringing Execution Management Everywhere. We want to help our customers build a bridge from where they work today, to the transformational power of the Celonis Execution Management System.
Our first great step in this journey to reach millions of users with the power of Celonis EMS begins with Microsoft, and is powered by PAF. The PAFnow software capabilities will debut in Celonis Experiences at Celonis World Tour 2022. Celonis Experiences will showcase how customers can seamlessly integrate Celonis EMS with Microsoft Power BI reporting, collaborate with Microsoft Teams, and trigger flows in Microsoft Power Automate.
Nominacher said Celonis Experiences will bring Celonis EMS to Power Platform users across multiple industries and companies. Celonis Experiences is being piloted with select customers and integration is well underway, he said.
Here’s a look:
The integration and roadmap. Celonis and PAF product and engineering teams are already working on an integration including APIs and connectors. Rother said PAF customers will see a program to migrate to Celonis EMS and there will be a lot of benefits since EMS has features that PAFnow didn’t have.
In the future, you can expect Celonis EMS Connectors for Power BI as well as apps in functions such as supply chain, shared services, system transformation and operational excellence.
Going forward, Celonis will continue to work on moves that will enable companies to fix their processes and execute better through building, buying and partnerships.
Partnerships: ServiceNow, IBM and Accenture to bring process X-rays to customers wherever they are.
C4C+ embeds Celonis X-rays into consultant engagements.
Buy: Make (formerly Integromat) and PAF to make it easy for our customers to use the EMS in their workflows and now inside of Microsoft Power Platform.
Build: Celonis Experiences: we are debuting our offer to make it simple to embed Celonis EMS insights into modern work platforms.
“We will execute on making sure we get Celonis everywhere by building, through partners and we'll make acquisitions to go to where the work is being done,” said Nominacher.“