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EY: Removing roadblocks to process excellence

How EY and Celonis join forces to find, frame, and fix barriers to business transformation 

EY is focused on helping clients create frictionless business experiences fit for the future. Speaking at Celosphere 2023, Mike Miller, an Advisory Partner at EY, explored how Celonis process mining solutions enable successful business transformations time and time again.

Using a client from the oil and gas industry as an example, he outlined how a Find, Frame, Fix model drove process excellence and transformation across procurement to deliver $100M in cost savings.

“What I’m not trying to do is go out and convince clients they should just try process mining,” said Miller. “It’s much better when they say ‘Hey, we’ve got a $100M problem that we’re looking to fix.’ That is where I think we want to be helping them. I like these kinds of client problems when they come… “They’re big and meaty.”

Find: Identifying value opportunities

The client’s perception was that its procurement processes were quite straightforward. But when Celonis dug into processes like Procure to Pay (P2P) and Accounts Payable (AP), the reality proved to be “spaghetti and mush”. As Miller explained:

“Their happy path for P2P only applied to about 9% of their cases. On the AP side it was even worse – it was only about two percent of all cases that actually fell in there.”

Frame: Quantifying the value to be realized   

Once opportunities are identified, EY brings in subject matter experts – including supply chain, tax or finance professionals – to quantify the value that can realistically be realized. With deep industry-specific knowledge as well as technical capabilities, these experts take the results of the diagnostic process and frame real value to go after, benchmarking against best-in-class organizations.

For this client, EY identified areas of direct financial benefit, including reducing transactional effort, optimizing spend channels, improving on-time delivery, reducing invoice payment exceptions, and optimizing payment terms. It also identified a variety of risk reduction opportunities – in particular reducing non-compliant purchasing behavior. 

These opportunities were turned into a roadmap, and the direct financial benefits were further broken down into focus areas that could be quantified. For example, reducing transactional effort was broken down into three focus areas and found to have a total possible value of $6.8M.

  1. Missing goods receipts: wasted 18,500 hours a year and cost $3.5M.

  2. Changing PO prices: wasted 13,300 hours a year and cost $2M.    

  3. Changing PR contracts: wasted 8,900K hours a year, and cost $1.3M.    

Fix: Capturing the value   

EY has an impressive alliance of ecosystem partners which it uses to capture the value identified. Sometimes it will use partner automation technologies. At other times it will work with partners on change management or user adoption.

For this client, the ‘fix’ is still underway, having started with some simple Action Flows. If an invoice is received but no goods receipt is posted, for example, this is automatically flagged and escalated, which is moving the goods receipt process in the right direction.

In addition, EY has started to build the concept of a control tower for procurement to assess whether these Action Flows are having the desired impact on user behavior. To support these efforts, EY has also partnered with Qualtrics to provide a feedback mechanism for vendors that were being paid late to better understand their experiences.

Talking about Celonis’ role in the fix part of the process, Miller said: 

"It’s great to say you identified $100M. It’s another thing to go and actually realize that. I love the platform of Celonis in the way that it makes that transition, driving continuous process improvements and being able to do things quicker and easier – all aligned – and be able to track those objectives that you’re after."

Watch the highlights from Celosphere 2023.

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Edward Baggaley
Content Marketing Lead

Edward writes about Celonis, its customers, partners, and product. He creates blogs - perhaps the one you’re reading - as well as ads, ebooks, keynotes, and advertorials. Newsweek, The Times, Time, and many B2B magazines have published his work.

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