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How to Turn Any Process Improvement Project into a Far-Reaching Success

It’s no secret that inefficient processes cost you money. In fact, one study found 70% of your time at work is wasted—much of it due to poor process management—while poor data quality management costs the US $3 trillion per year. So how do you begin taming your data and maximizing your process performance?

Celonis can help. The right improvement solution can boost your efficiency by up to 30%, simultaneously reducing costs, complexity and time to market. Best of all, Celonis is easy to implement and user-friendly with applicability across different departments.

How can you ensure success? As with any initiative, you need a roadmap.

1) Define your project scope/scenario

First determine what you’re hoping to achieve. In the beginning, we usually see two different types of customers:

  • Explorers want to make their processes more transparent and find out what’s going on under the hood of their business. They want an end-to-end overview of their strengths and weaknesses and to identify major deviations, bottlenecks, and compliance violations that impact costs and throughput times.

  • Hunters have a specific goal in mind, e.g., auditing, automation, ERP migration, etc. They already have an idea of where they can improve their processes but need the data to back them up when they push for change in the boardroom.

Set SMART goals for the short term and the long-term, including scope and measurable milestones, e.g., “reduce transportation costs by 10% within the next six months.” Setting metrics in the beginning helps you monitor success after you’ve made changes to your operations.

2) Focus on your core processes

Especially for explorers, it’s crucial to find the right starting point. There are some deviations we know from customer experience are surprisingly common: 80% of our customers investigate rework and more than 65% look into automation.

Few businesses have the time or money to search for and evaluate each of these processes manually. Using the power of process mining and AI technologies, Celonis can help by examining your processes while simultaneously assessing impact of changes, as well as comparing your ideal process plan to reality and providing recommendations to improve conformance and compliance.

3) Kickstart your success

Time is money, and common sense tells us that if you want to save money, you need to do things more quickly. Not only does the very nature of Celonis technology do this, but it does something other solutions don’t: it provides endless options.

Not only is Celonis compatible with, or configurable to, standard and custom data systems, it offers an array of intelligent apps based on learnings from other customers. No matter the complexity of your system or process setup, Celonis can help you quickly make sense of where you can apply your resources to have the biggest impact.

4) Examine and improve your data quality

In many cases, poor data quality and inefficient processes go hand-in-hand, often feeding one another in a vicious circle. The good news is Celonis can break the cycle by identifying system gaps and poorly maintained and missing data. Not only is it healthier for your processes, but it’s better for your IT landscape—which serves as the nervous system of your business—ensuring you’re making the most of your speed and ongoing analytics capability.

Master data is company gold! For example, just by identifying and correcting systematic errors in master data records, one of our manufacturing customers was able to speed up throughput times by 30%. They also avoided cancelled workflows, reduced the average handling time per work item, significantly accelerated workflow completion, and rapidly reduced costs by 20%.

5) Build a culture of awareness

Celonis helps you foster transparency, remove silos and enable a fact-based culture in which different departments collaborate effectively. This raises awareness of process excellence and in the same way encourages departments to act in concert.

New tools can be confusing for employees, which is why you’ll want to encourage certain people to lead the way for the rest of the company. IT and management are particularly important, but Celonis is also critical for business users—the real experts on your processes. That’s why all stakeholders will need to participate in determining and monitoring the scope and goals to make your initiative a success.

6) Train and incentivize

Establish an internal support community, enabling employees to come together to share tips and identify areas of improvement. Not only does this make it easier to share best practices and highlight initial results, when people see it in action they’ll be more likely to take part. Eventually it creates a snowball effect of efficiency that will sweep up everyone in its path.

A great example of this is Siemens, who built a thriving process improvement community of nearly 5,000 active Celonis users. Siemens hosts “process-dash fairs” and other initiatives to bring employees together to connect over use cases.

Moving Forward

The long-term success of any project depends upon the plan you have and the work you put into it. As the saying goes: If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

Gaining better transparency and understanding is great, but data without action is useless. Develop a culture in which employees are empowered to recognize the need for change, are provided the tools to plan and implement that change and share their success to foster even more collaboration.

Celonis can take you all the way from your initial data deep-dive to your dynamic new way of working. For us, it’s not just about changing your processes to improve how they run. It’s about changing your thinking about how best to improve your overall business operations that leads to truly successful transformation.

Southard Jones --author image
Southard Jones
VP, Product Marketing (former)

Southard Jones is the former VP, Product Marketing for Celonis. Prior to Celonis, Southard held various executive product and marketing roles at enterprise software companies in the Business Intelligence, Analytics, and Data Science market, including Domino Data Lab, Birst, Right 90, and Siebel Analytics.

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