Business strategy meeting - managers

Meet Operational Apps: A New Way of Working

Change is a constant – and the capacity to adapt to it is perhaps the most valuable ability any company can have. To stay competitive – or simply to survive in difficult times like these – we all need to take better control of our business processes. 

We need to understand how they operate, remove the friction slowing them down, and adapt as business circumstances and our desired outcomes change. 

We need a new way of working and that is why Celonis is today announcing Operational Apps.

Exactly what is wrong with the way we work now?

Let’s backtrack for a minute. We all know that getting the right information at the right time is key to good decision-making – but most employees lack the required visibility to properly make those critical decisions. Transactional systems are a great resource, but too often their data is siloed or incomplete for the task at hand and by the time somebody has put it into a report, it’s outdated.

Without understanding data within the business context it was generated, you can’t spot inefficiencies – or fix them and as such, you definitely can’t make truly informed decisions in this (or any) scenario.

You are literally going in half-blind, while your operational staff are bogged down with too many manual steps and bending over backwards to keep broken processes running. Your middle managers are caught, well, in the middle – wasting their time manually compiling status reports that are simply too little, too late. Whenever change occurs, teams will default to offline ways of working to override system-based processes.

Everyone is incredibly frustrated, and while you’re still managing to be successful, you know there has to be an easier way. A better way. 

No single digital solution has managed to solve these problems

Several technologies have been prematurely hailed as the silver bullet, but they only solve part of the problem due to their respective designs and use-cases. 

BI promises actionable insights, but leaves you hanging when it comes to actually taking action. RPA enables action but isn’t very smart – apply it without insight and you’ll just be automating inefficiency at scale. AI generally lacks the necessary business context to truly make intelligent decisions. 

According to McKinsey, “only 5% of CFOs say they’ve seen a substantial ROI from digitization and automation initiatives,” a statement that surprises absolutely nobody.

Why - because ultimately none of these technologies by themselves can truly understand how to drive your processes towards the outcomes that matter.

Here's what needs to change

We need a system that is in tune with our needs and understands our business goals within the context of our processes and work. It needs to be flexible and adjust in real-time to our priorities as circumstances inevitably change. A solution that provides recommendations based on target outcomes and clearly shows the impact executive decisions will have on the team – by taking into account end-to-end interdependencies. We need information that aligns with what the team is looking at, so that knowledge can flow throughout the organization in a truly frictionless manner. A platform that expedites a team’s ability to take action with confidence and surety. That’s how you empower every level of the business toward action... that’s exactly what we built.

Meet Operational Applications

Business has always been outcome-driven, and your systems should be too. Celonis’ new portfolio of Operational Applications puts AI to work to achieve your desired outcomes – all while leveraging the power of process mining and automation to achieve them. The apps are purpose-built for diverse departmental use cases, ranging from Accounts Payable to Materials Management in Supply Chain. The underlying process mining foundation provides the business context the AI requires to learn the nuances and subtleties impacting your business goals, to sense friction, and to take intelligent action. It democratizes processes and aligns every level of the organization behind the same priorities, eliminating repetitive tasks and decisions.

How Operational Applications work

Executives can now set business goals and track performance, empowered by real-time data that enables them to make better decisions. 

Continuous real-time analysis automatically surfaces process anomalies by impact – and their recommended action or fix – so middle managers can act more proactively. Anomalies can have positive or negative consequences — but the important thing is to be able to tackle them fast either way and to understand WHY they are happening in the first place.

Operational staff find their work prioritized for them, with next-best-action recommendations guiding them towards the tasks and decisions that will have the greatest impact on business outcomes. At the same time, many repetitive tasks and decisions — such as updating master data in transaction systems, for example — can be fully automated by Celonis, so employees can focus on high-value tasks.

Any change in priority is immediately reflected at every level, so the entire team is constantly working towards the same goal. 

What it looks like in action

These Operational Apps are built on top of the Celonis Intelligent Business Cloud, and the first two iterations of this new product suite are tailor-made for Accounts Payable and Supply Chain. Once the goals are set, the application automatically highlights issues across the organization and provides intelligent recommendations that come with definitive automated actions. For Accounts Payable, the app allows the business leader to set the priorities dynamically — whether it’s cash preservation, capturing cash discounts, or reducing invoice processing time. It then recommends the actions and tasks needed to get there at every level of the organization, in real-time. In Supply Chain, it might take the form of surfacing friction behind revenue at risk, drilling into root causes, and providing intelligent planning parameters to improve your planning accuracy – and order fulfillment – going forward. These apps are available right now – and more will follow. The newly-enhanced platform also allows anyone to build their own Operational Apps to suit their needs.

Welcome to the future of work

"Before Celonis, we realized only 61% of our cash discounts. Today we are achieving 90%. By combining data, insights, and automation, the AP Operational App makes day-to-day work so much more productive.”

Jan Fuhr, Process Mining Lead at Fresenius Kabi 

Our Operational Apps are pioneering a new way of working, one that automatically and intelligently optimizes processes to drive your business goals.

The days of making decisions without the benefit of the right insights, at the right time are finally behind us. No more siloed processes that can’t adjust in real-time. No more toiling away on manual steps. 

Our goal is to help every single company to sense operational friction and act decisively to eliminate repetitive tasks and decisions. We want to empower every employee with the knowledge that any action they take, at any time, will drive the company’s business goals. 

It’s the future of work – now take a deep breath and join us!

Find out more about Celonis’ Operational Apps. Check out our Accounts Payable App – or find out more about Materials Management for Supply Chain.

Hala Zeine --author image
Hala Zeine
Chief Product Officer
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