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Limitless applications: Why William Ross made the career switch to process mining with a little help from Celonis Academy

Career-changing. That’s how William Ross described Celonis Academy, and with good reason, as I found out during a recent interview.

Ross had always enjoyed coming up with new ways to answer important questions with data.

“I have always enjoyed data analysis, particularly thinking of out-of-the-box ideas on how to use data,” he told me.

As an economist with the UK government, Ross hoped to use both his passion for data analytics and a degree in economics to improve policy implementation. Unfortunately, toward the end of his three years in public service, he grew frustrated with the lack of innovation and slow pace of change.

“I had many ideas on what we should be tracking/measuring, all of which were deemed impossible because we didn’t have the data or didn’t know how to get the data, and there was no interest in exploring how we could answer these important questions,” Ross said. “Second, put simply, there was too much talk and not enough action,” he emphasized.

Fortunately for Ross, fate was about to intervene and set him on the path to a new, more dynamic career…in process mining.

William Ross, Process Mining Analyst with Delphi Technologies and Celonis Academy alumnus

William Ross, Process Mining Analyst with Delphi Technologies and Celonis Academy alumnus

While venting his frustrations to a personal connection, who by coincidence worked for Celonis, the individual told him about a book called Process Mining in Action, edited by Lars Reinkemeyer. If he found the book interesting, the contact also recommended Ross check out Celonis Academy.

Ross was hesitant at first, not knowing anything about process mining, but as he told me, “I decided there was nothing to lose, so I gave it a go.”

“I realised I was reading the next big thing,” he said. “It just seemed so logical with limitless applications. I knew I wanted to shift my career to focus on this field. The big selling point is that process mining is not industry specific and so I could be flexible with where my career goes,” he added.

It wouldn’t be long before Ross was in a new position as a Process Mining Analyst with Delphi Technologies, a brand of the global automotive supplier BorgWarner.

I spoke with Ross about his current role, how he got interested in process mining and his learning experience with Celonis Academy.

Tell me about your professional journey. How did you get into your current field of work?

William Ross: After the excitement of Lars’ book, I had a clear plan of building up my understanding of process mining and obtaining credentials that would allow me to start applying for jobs. What better tool than Celonis Academy!

After spending a couple months ruthlessly going through the Academy and attaining various certifications, I felt ready to take my learning to the next level and apply it to the real-world setting.

How did you first get into process mining and execution management, and what was it that attracted you to this field?

William Ross: I was attracted to this field for quite a few reasons. The technology transcends industry and is applicable for every company. As someone going through a major career shift, it was comforting to know I could take this learning anywhere. I have always enjoyed data analysis, particularly thinking of out-of-the-box ideas on how to use data and with process mining allowing full transparency giving the answer to questions we didn’t even know to ask, it was something I found fascinating.

Tell me about your current role. What is your title and what is an average week like?

William Ross: Having started 1 month ago, it has been primarily onboarding (with a trip to Celosphere too). Right now, I’m focused on improving my process knowledge and process mining technical skills in a more practical setting. We are running multiple use-cases, primarily in sustainability and manufacturing. I’ll be looking to deep dive and run some myself. We are all about impact!

How did the knowledge you gained with Celonis Academy influence your career?

William Ross: In my circumstances, I don’t think "influence" is the right word. Celonis Academy inspired my career. Through the knowledge, skills and certifications I picked up on my Academy journey, I was able to transition onto a completely new career path. I went from knowing nothing about process mining or PQL to within three months of Academy training being able to land a job at the heart of this community.

What do you like most about Celonis Academy?

William Ross: The journey. As someone with limited prior business exposure or understanding of core processes, I was genuinely amazed with how well organised the content in Celonis Academy is. As you complete more courses, you begin to discover how interconnected everything is, for example, how building a table over here affects what analysis you can do over there.

Learning to get away from a siloed way of thinking was a powerful learning curve, and a crucial ability to successfully implement process mining. Lastly, the fact that you get out of the Academy as much as you put into it. I was often covering the same training track three or more times as I would take something valuable away each time different from the last. Certifications are also a helpful motivator!

Which course would you recommend to other Celonis users?

William Ross: Not a specific course but I think the most important thing to do in Celonis Academy is to cover the Getting Data into the EMS training track. Arguably the most fundamental training track in the Academy, it builds the entire foundation of your learning, what you cover here transcends the track itself and is important for every aspect of process mining.

I know it’s long, but I can’t stress how worthwhile it is – in fact I recently went over it again because there are so many nuggets of information that are always useful for refreshing. If you want to get a real understanding of process mining this is mandatory.

When you aren’t working, what are some of your hobbies? How do you unwind?

William Ross: I like to live quite a slow-paced life outside of work, so you’ll mostly find me taking long walks and going to coffee shops. I love spending time with my family, watching football, tennis and rugby!

Celonis Academy Learner Spotlight

Celonis Academy offers over 300 free, online courses to help professionals and students learn the process mining, process management, and execution management skills that employers are looking for.

If you're #CelonisCertified and would like to be considered for a future Learner Spotlight, we want to hear your story. Please reach out to us at academy@celonis.com. And, check out these other Celonis Academy Learner stories:

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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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