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Fontys Financials + Celonis Academic Alliance = Operational Excellence

By Thanh Nguyen
5 min read

Why Process Mining is needed..

It is important for our future financial professionals to keep updated with the latest IT-trends and technologies, since applying them has become a major part of their jobs. The stored data of business processes can be used within an organization for decision making. This information can be presented from different perspectivesโ€”in this blog, I would like to focus upon business process optimization (Operational Excellence), since Process Mining plays a significant role in this element.

How I got involved with Process Miningโ€ฆ

My journey to Process Mining started by coincidence, but it became destiny. Two years ago our institute made a decision to teach this new technology alongside Celonis, and implement it into our curriculum. The question was: How do we start?

After a video chat with Jerome Geyer-Klingeberg (Head of the Celonis Academic Alliance), it was recommended to attend a train-the-trainer session. Since my other colleagues were busy, I decided to join out of interest. Little did I know that I would be one of the developers of our Process Mining course later on.

It was fascinating to attend the training and meet companies implementing Celonis within their organization in an industry setting. Besides gaining lots of insights about the Celonis product itself, it was clear to me why Process Mining adds value from a practical perspective.

It is the missing link between data mining (in which relationships can be found but takes lots of effort to visualize this into useful information) and business process management. After the training, I was tasked to develop a process mining course along with my colleague Erik van Kempen.

Developing a Process Mining Course with Celonis

The development of our Process Mining course went smoothly. The Celonis training was used as a guideline with adjusted theory, exercises and final challenges to make it more suitable for our students.

It was during these development stages where the collaboration between our institute and the Celonis Academic Alliance flourished. We received technical support (ie. how to implement the product within our course), and the flexibility of the Academic Alliance made my first time developing a course an extremely positive experience!

Since we wanted to bring both Celonis and Process Mining closer to our students, I asked our Academic Alliance Manager to introduce herself and Celonis via live video. This was very well received by our students! They were able to explore Process Mining capabilities with support provided by both the lecturers and Academic Alliance Managers. Together, we made sure that Celonis received the latest updates of our progressโ€”and the rest is history!

fontys school of business and communication celonis

With a few minor improvements, the first Process Mining with Celonis course was a success. Being the first in my university with its own Process Mining course, it has been my pleasure to share this story with other partner universities within our field. Whatโ€™s more, I also had the privilege to share my knowledge and experiences with other Fontys students by giving guest lectures, and helping them on their literature reviews.

You Can Develop and Teach Process Mining Too!

Here are some helpful hints for lecturers when developing or introducing Process Mining with Celonis to future professionals:

  • Be clear on direction and objectives. This will decide the development of your own course when teaching.
  • Be open minded. This is applicable to any new technology. Students will be encouraged to contribute actively if a lecturer carries out an open mindset โ€“ both during the development and when teaching.
  • Communication is the key. By updating our respective Academic Alliance Managers regularly โ€“ they were involved in every step of our course, become our true partners.
  • Refine as you go. Process Mining is not a one hit wonder, it takes time and effort to turn the course into an evergreen!

My Personal Development as a Process Mining Lecturer.

Even though this blog focuses on the student, one thing that should also be mentioned is my own growth as a lecturer.

I had the chance to apply the full educational development cycle โ€“ starting from the description of learning objectives until the student examinations (Did they achieve the objectives?). It was challenging since I had no prior knowledge, but Process Mining was the perfect case to me since I prefer to learn through hands-on methods, and experiencing the whole process myself.

I have had many chances to apply and test concepts on how to get the students active during the lectures. One recent example is called Blended Learning, where students watch video clips of eLearning trainings and participate in our advanced exercises. Explaining the software functions was not needed anymore, so I could focus on the analytical mindset of our students.

From a personal perspective, Process Mining with Celonis has given me the motivation to explore beyond my own boundaries. Many successes have been achieved since then, and now I am spreading the message to other universities with confidence!

Looking back at this intensive but wonderful journey, it has been a great collaboration with the Celonis Academic Alliance. Most importantly (which is also my mission), a visible added value and contribution has been made to our studentโ€™s professional development. I hope my story will encourage other lecturers and students, no matter which field they are active in, to become Process Miners as well!!

Just go for it, your hard work will pay off!

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