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Accenture talks supply chain resilience, optimization and outlook for 2023

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Corporate executives expect supply chain conditions will improve in 2023. At Celopshere 2022, supply chain optimization and resilience was a hot topic with attendees, speakers and panelists.

Acceleration Economy Network analyst Tom Smith was joined on the Celosphere News Desk by Paul Prendergast, Europe CFO and enterprise value lead for Accenture and Artur Siurdyban, process mining capability lead for Europe with Accenture, to discuss Accenture’s partnership with Celonis and how a recent hackathon led to the creation of a Celonis EMS supply chain app.

Also: Supply chain outlook for 2023 revolves around resiliency, optimization, efficiency and a bit of normalcy

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The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for readability.

Celonis + Accenture

Tom Smith: If we could start out with Paul, can you tell us just some details about the relationship between Celonis and Accenture, how the two companies work together today?

Paul Prendergast: We've been working with Celonis on a strategic level for the last 12 months and it's really been focused in three areas.

Number one, strategic co-investment of assets and apps on the app store, because to address business problems at scale. We'll bring those to life in a moment.

Also: Accenture + Celonis: Accenture Purchase to Pay Process Mining

Secondly is on specific client projects where they may have process improvements, resilience improvements that really drive millions of dollars of value, be it in finance, be it in supply chain. More and more, we're now seeing that in an industry lens.

Then thirdly is actually co-investment in the leverage of Celonis in our own internal apps for delivery. We have a big business process outsourcing business that whereby we use Celonis as part of our ongoing operational excellence. It's not just in consulting, it's in the big business process outsourcing as well.

Data Driven Risk Prevention: Sustainability and Supply Chain

Tom Smith: Artur, can you tell us, at least introduce the supply chain resilience app and then we'll get into some more details about it, okay?

Artur Siurdyban: The supply chain resilience app was part of the hackathon organized by Celonis last summer, where it won the best asset category award, and this is something that was born on the back of our conversations with our clients.

Our clients came to us and told us "Listen, we are dealing with challenges that we didn't even think about three years ago."

If you think about it, the Covid pandemic broke supply chains. That poses a massive strain on the supply chains, causes volatility, and supply chain issues. We see conflicts across the world that also put a strain on the supply chains.

Then finally, we have global warming and climate change that also puts fires, floods, you name it, everything that causes our supply chains to be impacted, both on the shipment level but also on where our distribution hubs are, as well as the supplier locations.

We thought about how we can help our clients deal with these topics?

Also: Accenture, TCS teams win Celonis Ecosystem Hackathon

It turned out that the combination of Accenture's intellectual property and functional expertise in the supply chain area and the technology which is embedded in the Celonis platform is just the perfect combination.

Because if you think about it, Celonis can provide you with a digital twin of your entire supply chain. It knows where your shipments are, it knows where your suppliers are, it knows where your distribution hubs are. This way it can also help you assess the risk exposure of your supply chain.

The second area is that Celonis is not only about diagnosing your problems, it's also about helping you fix them. If you think about it, you can get an early warning that you have a supplier that accounts for a vast majority of your key raw material, which is in an affected area.

Think about it, you know it first, so you can have time to react, you can have time to take preventive measures. Last but not least, it knows where your shipments are, so it can reroute your shipments in an automated way so that they avoid these areas of high supply chain risk and make sure that the customers get their products on time and in full. If you think about it, this is also a perfect combination of the digital twin that is in information taken from the ERP systems of our clients, but also some state of the art integrations.

If you think about it, AI powered fire data coming from NASA that allows Celonis to know within three hours where there's fires, and where to take preventive and corrective actions for your shipments. There's also the possibility to reroute the shipments based on integration with different map algorithms. You can take your shipment information into maps, use these maps in order to reroute the shipments and then write it back into your ERP system. Celonis will then completely change the physical world in which we run our supply chains based on this algorithms.

Also: McKinsey: These 8 characteristics of resilient supply chains can give your business a competitive advantage

Tom Smith: You're really pulling in data from all the enterprise systems, the core systems of a company, ERP, and Celonis, but also bringing in third party data. You mentioned via satellite, fire data, just bringing all that together to create greater visibility and help customers work through some of these supply chain challenges.

Artur Siurdyban: That is exactly right.

Tom Smith: That is really impressive. Not surprised you won with that in the hackathon. Now that app is something... Can customers get that from Accenture today or how does that work? How is it packaged? How is it available?

Artur Siurdyban: Yes, it is already live on the Celonis Marketplace, so it's free for anyone to go in, check out what it can do and then contact us for more information.

Also: Execution management, process excellence key to outrunning inflation, supply chain woes says Celonis co-CEO

Tom Smith: I think after everything we've heard over the last couple years, supply chain resilience is one of the biggest drivers or the biggest needs in business. We just see countless examples of companies that are…supply chains are broken, or they can't get inventory, or they can't ship to the customer. You have some more, I think, dramatic use cases than that. But that just to me addresses such a big problem in business today and available in the Celonis store. That's great. Thanks for sharing that.

Process mining innovation: End-to-end business management and technology democratization

Tom Smith: Shifting gears a little bit, I wanted to see Paul, maybe you could address with the announcements that Celonis is making this week; Process Sphere™, process mining, execution management, getting even more sophisticated 2D to 3D. How does that affect capabilities like Artur's been talking about here?

Paul Prendergast: Yeah, look, we've been very proud of how the partnership's evolved over the last 12 months, and it's been very much focused on functional process mining, be it in the finance or the supply chain base. Actually, we've been then looking at how we can extend that across into say more industry relevant cases.

Now, as we look at the process sphere and business minor, we can see accelerated application of that because then you can start to bring together different instances, different scenarios, and start to pivot that, breaking down the functional silos and looking at that end to end.

Then that's a real opportunity to turn it on its head. Because as we look at transformation programs, they often fall down on the functional silos as you try to break from finance into procurement or it's a supply chain. We see that as a great opportunity to move end to end.

I think the other area, really, is then making it more at approachable and usable by the business community. There is always a bit of how much training you needed to apply for people to be truly effective. Artur leads quite a scale center of excellence and we pull them in. But now I'm thinking through right now we've got that expertise as we saw with the app, but then how could we leverage that with more of the business application at speed? Of course, now as you extend out into partners…

Tom Smith: This is letting more people get their hands on it, right?

Paul Prendergast: Yeah. I think that will then accelerate the realization of the value, and moving it across the functional silos into the industry solutions, as well.

Also: How inflation, supply chain and sustainability could drive efficiency gains

Tom Smith: Could either or both of you speak to... So the app that's been developed, it's available in the app store, we've heard about some applications. What's the broader applicability if a customer that doesn't have some of the more dramatic things going on, fire data and all that they need to deal with, how would they use that application?

Artur Siurdyban: I think every company is affected by the volatility. Even if it's just a risk, it's worth to know their exposure level for that risk. Even if you're not affected today, you might be affected tomorrow, and you better know it today in order to prepare.

Process mining in 2023 and beyond

Tom Smith: As you look into next year, 2023, what's the outlook for your customers in terms of using the apps you've built, working with Celonis, execution management, what do you see kind of looking ahead?

Paul Prendergast: Yeah, clearly it's uncertain times right now, and there'll be another crisis around the corner. I think the beauty of what we see now with the product suite from Celonis is the ability then to say, "Right, I can scale up a broader audience with this, bring in more data sets and start to model that accordingly."

Then look at new areas that can unleash talent. If you look at banking, some of the industrial areas, and then really move that end to end

The other key thing I see is organizations investing to set up centers of excellence themselves, to embed that end to end in the operational excellence. Not just from the process improvement, but the control and the compliance, which is a really hard area if you see it in banking, life science accordingly. That's what I see as the real opportunities going forward.

More from Celosphere 2022

Editor’s note: This video was originally published on Acceleration Economy, How Accenture Builds on Celonis Tech to Solve Supply Chain Issues.

Bill Detwiler is Editor for Technical Content and Ecosystem at Celonis. He is the former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, where he hosted the Dynamic Developer podcast and Cracking Open, CNET's popular online show. Bill is an award-winning journalist, who's covered the tech industry for more than two decades. Prior his career in the software industry and tech media, he was an IT professional in the social research and energy industries.
Bill Detwiler
Editor, Technical Content & Ecosystem

Bill Detwiler is Editor for Technical Content and Ecosystem at Celonis. He is the former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, where he hosted the Dynamic Developer podcast and Cracking Open, CNET’s popular online show. Bill is an award-winning journalist, who’s covered the tech industry for more than two decades. Prior his career in the software industry and tech media, he was an IT professional in the social research and energy industries.

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