A software engineer by training and practice, Markus Otterberg was drawn to process mining because he saw its potential to optimize and automate business processes the way modern dev tools have reshaped coding.
“When I began looking at business processes, I was surprised by the amount of manual work,” Otterberg told me. “When you write code, you try to automate the process as much as possible, using CI/CD tools for development and testing.”
Otterberg was also shocked to learn that many businesses lack a true picture of how their processes work.
“You have your process just written up in some paper and everyone should follow it, but you don’t really know how people are working” he said. “That opened my eyes, and I knew there was a huge potential to digitize these processes and bring them into this millennia.”
Otterberg is a consultant with Biswise, a software and IT consultancy located in Gothenburg, Sweden. He and his team specialize in applying data science and technologies like process mining to optimize business processes for their clients. Biswise is a Celonis Partner.
Markus spoke with me about his current role, how he went from building software to helping customers optimize their business processes and his experience as a Celonis Academy learner and a Celonis MasterClass winner.
Tell me about your professional journey, how did you get where you are?
Markus Otterberg: I graduated from Chalmers University in Gothenburg as a software engineer and afterwards did development work for several multinational companies in the electronics, automotive and telecommunication industries. While I was working with a large auto company on their software platform, I got into “software mining” as a way to visualize their code base.
A friend from Chalmers was working at Biswise, who was looking into process mining as a tool for optimizing business processes and enabling digital transformation. At Biswise I could take the work I did on software mining a step further and apply it to business processes, so I joined the company.
Markus Otterberg, IT Consultant with Biswise and Celonis MasterClass winner
How did you first get into Process Mining and Execution Management, and what was it that attracted you to this technology?
Markus Otterberg: It started with the software mining project I mentioned earlier. It was a 20%, innovation time project of mine. I used an off-the-shelf algorithm to measure the cyclomatic complexity (McCabe complexity) of the company’s code base. The algorithm would calculate a score for each piece of code. I then took those scores and used a visualization tool to create a “map” of the software complexity.
These maps look a lot like 3D city maps, with streets and buildings, so they’re sometimes called software city maps. Having this data-driven visualization allowed the development teams to see where there were risks within their code base. For example, if there was code that a single developer was maintaining, that could be a risk should the person leave and no other developers understood what they were working on.
When I joined Biswise, they were already working with Celonis, and I would be one of the people leading their process mining and execution management projects…thanks to my earlier work on software mining.
And for me personally, it's opened up this whole new world of business processes, like purchase-to-pay, which I had no experience with, but found fascinating.
How would you describe Celonis Academy?
Markus Otterberg: Well-structured. The learning material isn’t just a wall of text you have to get through to learn the system, but it actually lets you use the system. You get these guided learning tours that ease you into using Celonis, and then you actually get to use it and you need to learn it. Then in the exams, you had to set up an analysis and connect the data correctly to be able to pass the exam.
I also like that Academy lessons provide hands-on experience, as well as the project methodology and tons of best practices that Celonis has developed. The Academy is both a well of knowledge, but also a tool that lets you get hands on. It's a good mix.
Celonis MasterClass badges. Celonis Academy offers over 300 free, online courses to help professionals and students learn the process mining, process management, and execution management skills that employers are looking for.
Which course(s) would you recommend to other Celonis learners?
Markus Otterberg: Coming from an engineering background, I really liked the Build Action Flows training track, with its focus on automation. That's both something that I really enjoy, but also something that is important for Celonis learners to understand.
When you aren't working, what are some of your interests and hobbies? How do you unwind?
Markus Otterberg: Usually playing board games. Currently, my fiancé and I have gotten into these Unlock! board games. They are like an escape room game in a box and are very fun. I also enjoy traveling, being outdoors and hiking. I went hiking in the Swedish mountains earlier this year, which was really nice. Before the pandemic, my fiancé and I spent six months in New Zealand. We bought a car and traveled the whole of the country, seeing as much as possible. That was truly amazing.
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