Abstract process excellence journey.

How LinkedIn IT operations gave 300,000 hours back to employees using process mining and execution management

Time is money. And with rising labor costs, every employee’s time is at a premium. The last thing companies want are workers sitting idle, waiting for IT problems to be resolved or requests to be fulfilled. So when LinkedIn’s IT operations team was able to give over 300,000 hours back to employees by using Celonis EMS for ITSM, it added real dollars to the bottom line.

Ashi Sheth, Director of Productivity Engineering at LinkedIn, shared how the Microsoft owned business networking company achieved this success during a panel discussion at the Celonis World Tour 2022 Bay Area event.

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“[IT services] don’t generate revenue for LinkedIn, but they steal dollars every time that something is broken,” Sheth said. The goal with Celonis was to create a streamlined experience so employees were not waiting and could get back to doing what they do best.

LinkedIn’s secret to process mining success

Sheth said that two factors contributed significantly to LinkedIn's successful process mining and execution management implementation.

1. Getting executive buy-in

Sheth said executive support was crucial, and here he had a huge advantage. “So in this case, I was the executive. I was also the customer. I was also the one really wanting this for employees,” Sheth said. 

2. Building a team of dedicated, motivated resources

During Sheth’s four years with LinkedIn, IT operations had been transforming from a reactive, ticket-focused organization, to a proactive team focused on getting ahead of problems. This meant there were already ITOps team members with the right mindset, a sense of curiosity to learn and find out how to improve their processes.

“I was fortunate in that over the course of the last four years, I’ve been able to build this group around me, who I see as the folks who actually think about the general employee within the context of IT operations in the business,” Sheth said.

Before implementing Celonis however, these individuals were already gathering information and trying to identify inefficiencies, although they were doing it in a “super manual way with no real intelligence” Sheth said. When they were given the Celonis EMS, they could really dive deep into the questions they were already asking and figure out where the performance gaps were.

The execution management success factors Sheth highlighted were among those identified by more than 150+ Celonis customers in a survey from Celonis and the Fraunhofer FIT Institute. The survey, released onthe first day of World Tour 2022, examines the current state of process mining inside organizations and provides best practices and recommendations on how to drive scale through Centers of Excellence (CoE) for process mining.

All business processes are full of hidden costs

When Sheth’s team began using the Celonis EMS to create an x-ray into their processes, they quickly discovered hidden inefficiencies. But perhaps more importantly, they were able to attribute real numbers, real effects to those inefficiencies. And according to Sheth, those numbers “seemed obnoxious” at first.

“I knew intrinsically there were problems in the way we were delivering services,” he said. “I just didn’t know the scale, and I didn’t know how to find where that scale was coming from.”

Having a process x-ray allowed the team to focus on the execution gaps that caused business users the most pain and go after them.

For companies and teams beginning their process mining and execution management journey, Sheth said you’ll be surprised by what you find, and some business stakeholders may not initially trust the numbers. But keep with it, because you’ll be able to prove that they are true.

Also, be wary of letting mistrust in the numbers cause you to act too slowly to fix execution gaps. Sheth said his team could probably have moved more quickly, and that the process sometimes took longer than it should have because of mistrust in the numbers.

Another potential roadblock is getting business process owners to actually fix the gaps that the EMS identifies if those processes aren’t owned by the team running the execution management implementation. For example, Sheth described a scenario of having to get the engineering team to fix an execution gap that was identified as a code workflow problem.

What’s next for execution management at LinkedIn?

In the next year, Sheth said his team will focus on two things to continue the success with their execution management program.

First, he plans to allocate dedicated resources to the program, saying that many of the team members who are currently working on the project have other “day jobs”. Sheth wants to change this.

Second, he wants to use the insights from the Celonis EMS to achieve his performance goal of zero dollars of time lost due to IT processes.

“I have a dashboard that I created that says, this is how much lost time is costing this company in profit, and I’d love to be able to continue reducing that,” he said.

More from Celonis World Tour 2022:

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Bill Detwiler
Senior Communications Strategist and Editor Celonis Blog

Bill Detwiler is Senior Communications Strategist and Editor of the Celonis blog. 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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