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How to start, scale, succeed with process mining – Shared Services World Tour ‘23 takeaways

Celonis toured the world in May and June, spreading the word about how customers and partners use process mining to find and capture value. With macroeconomic and enterprise challenges dominating the business to-do list, we showcased the game-changing potential of our process mining innovations, such as object-centric process mining and AI integrations using large language models.

A major draw at every stop was when we turned the spotlight on our customers, as they shared how they’ve improved customer and employee satisfaction, and increased company performance. One standout session in London was our Shared Services Center customer panel. Here we’ve pulled out key takeaways shared by leaders from ABB, Kraft Heinz, and Vodafone – including how to start with process mining, tips on getting company wide buy-in, and expert advice on realizing millions in value.

How ABB, Kraft Heniz, Vodafone started with Celonis 

“We started off very small, in Germany, in one of our factories,” said Swathi Devireddy, Advanced Process Analytics Community Leader, ABB. “Based on the success, we rolled it out to factories in Germany and we’ve since expanded to more and more use cases… We now have [Celonis] in Procure to Pay, Order to Cash, Production Planning, Inventory Management.”

Vodafone pre-Celonis had a high level of understanding of the underlying processes aligned to customer journeys but wanted to go deeper. Senior Transformation Manager James Bennett explained: “We saw slices of improvement but we didn't get the end-to-end view – we didn't get that holistic perspective and that's really where process mining comes in because it gives you that visual, it shows you that complete end-to-end flow.” He added: “In my experience, whenever we see that for the first time, it's a bit of a ‘Eureka moment’ because it tends to make jaws hit the floor when you see the amount of variation that exists.”

Kraft Heinz kicked off with the Celonis ‘core four’: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Management, and Procurement, said Fiona Smith. The Global Business Services Process Mining Program Lead recalled early success with overdue payments – focusing on duplicate invoices and prevention and recovery. But for Smith, the key is not just the promise of big numbers, it’s passion.

“Whilst it's really tempting with all the high dollar value use cases… if you don't drive a passion project first within the business, they can't really see the potential,” she said. “You've got to really prove your worth… make them think it's their idea, and that's where you get the adoption and the change management.” Smith added: “In all the years that I've been a project manager it was the easiest change management I've ever had to deliver.”

Top process excellence lessons learned along the way 

Don’t forget about the people needed to make process mining a success, said ABB’s Devireddy. “We didn’t plan a shared service model from the outset, it happened organically because there was so much pull from the business… We should have started upskilling people earlier. It cannot happen overnight.”

Alongside education, Devireddy spoke about building an internal process mining community, which has since grabbed leadership’s attention and raised the profile of process mining. “We have community calls, we have training programmes, and boot camps. We invite internal speakers to share their success stories… and we also do product innovations,” she shared.

That focus on people was echoed by Vodafone’s Bennett. “Don't underestimate the resourcing and making sure you've got those smart individuals,” he said. He also spoke about his own responsibilities to manage senior stakeholders. “If the senior leadership of Vodafone just say ‘go off and prove it’, I've got to go and prove it. We've gone and done it, but I think I could have been bolder in terms of saying ‘this is what I want from you as the sponsor – I want you to evangelize it.’”

Kraft Heinz’s Smith learned that it was easy to build company confidence in process mining once teams saw how effective it could be. “We got a call for help from our supply chain team in Europe as they had a very manual process causing low morale due to long hours spent on it. By digitizing the process, we massively reduced the amount of time the team spent on it. They could see the value and we had comments like ‘Christmas has come earlier’ and ‘I can’t believe this is possible.’”

She added: “Some of the team have since gone on to bigger and better opportunities within the company based on those results.” The impact didn’t stop there, she said, “It opened the door to a fantastic relationship with our leadership because they've witnessed first-hand what process mining can deliver.”

Process mining advice from the practitioners 

Process mining is continually evolving - and you have to keep up with the evolution, said Devireddy from ABB. Asked for her top piece of advice, she answered, “Be open to unlearning and learning. I've realized unlearning is equally important as learning.” Devireddy also said she’s excited for her team to take advantage of the dynamic, three-dimensional view object-centric process mining provides.

Bennett spoke about the usefulness of plugging process mining into existing frameworks – rather than ripping and replacing – and how that has helped Vodafone start realizing millions in value. “The fact we could plug process mining into our ‘build, analyze, transform, sustain’ life cycle was great because that was already familiar.” He added: “We were very clear at the start: this is what we expect in terms of delivery, and these are what resources we need. Get that rhythm and constantly review, then constantly learn from what comes back from the process of mining. That’s taken us to where we are now – tens of millions of euros of potential value now being realized.”

The out of the box possibilities also worked for Kraft Heinz’s Smith: “I’ve started to uncover potential behind the Celonis marketplace and the Academy, and the plug and play options really appeal to me.” Confessing to not being a business process expert, she said Celonis gives her the ability and confidence to “translate between what the tool can provide and what the business needs.”

Smith ended with advising the audience to start simple with process mining, saying, “don’t try to reinvent the solution – or the wheel.”

Editor's note: Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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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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