Process mining should be part of all business transformation efforts. That was the message delivered by Silke Lehmann, managing director, process management global lead for Accenture at Celosphere 2022.
Lehman spoke with Tom Smith, Acceleration Economy Network analyst, during Celonis’ two-day user conference in Munich, Germany. The pair talked about Accenture’s partnership with Celonis, how process mining should be part of all digital transformation programs and why every organization needs to embrace sustainability.
The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for readability.
Tom Smith: Can you tell the viewers what your responsibilities are a little more specifically?
Silke Lehmann: Yes. So I look after business process management for Accenture globally with a mission to bring together process life cycle management, process mining and automation into a really comprehensive business process management capability so that clients can leverage those capabilities either as part of projects or programs they run, but then also to establish a capability that is embedded in day-to-day business, above and beyond specific projects and programs.
Tom Smith: And can you tell us a little bit more about the relationship that's in place today with Accenture and Celonis?
Silke Lehmann: Yes, absolutely. Celonis is our strategic partner in the process mining space. Accenture and Celonis have worked together now for quite a while, so we have a lot of experience in how to identify, target and value with Celonis, and how to then help clients to also realize the value.
And the range of use cases really is very broad. When you look at the different areas of Accenture, either in the strategy and the consulting business, in our technology business, in our operations business, all of these businesses have use cases that benefit from Celonis to help clients get to value.
Tom Smith: And Accenture has also developed applications for many of those use cases as well, correct?
Silke Lehmann: Yes, very much so. We have about 20 apps out in the EMS apps store and those apps, they focus on sustainability, for example. They focus on records to report processes, to cash optimization. So a very broad range of topics that are covered in our current app portfolio.
Tom Smith: Great. I believe there's a significant focus on digital transformation, and I think that fits in pretty well with one of the themes of this conference, which is reinventing process mining. Can you speak a bit to the digital transformation work that you do with clients and also how Celonis fits into that?
Silke Lehmann: Yes, absolutely. We truly believe that process mining should be embedded in all transformation programs. And there's two streams that you can look at.
First of all, the process mining capabilities are really related to the value, identifying the value that you want to achieve with a transformation program, but then also tracking the value to make sure that you achieved what you were planning to achieve with the program.
But then specifically when you talk about digital transformation programs, there's also another stream where the process mining capabilities help us to identify how companies operate today, very much fact-based, and then compare and contrast with what we think good looks like and how you should operate, which then gives you the right insights to design the program, to find the next interventions in order to get that transformation done very smoothly, and then have your journey towards value met out based on a real data and real facts.
Tom Smith: Interesting, the sequence of steps you laid out there, which sounded an awful lot like Celonis' path to value that they laid out in this afternoon's keynote, so clearly some very strong alignment there.
Tom Smith: Silke, also sustainability is a big focus at this conference, product services, strategies around sustainability. Can you give us some sense of what you're hearing from customers about sustainability, where it ranks as a priority? Is that going up? Where does it fit today?
Silke Lehmann: It's a very big priority, and at Accenture, we truly believe that every organization needs to be or become a sustainable organization. There's not one business that can solve for the big challenges that we have, but we all can and need to contribute. So it is a big priority.
It's definitely a C-suite topic, but again, with sustainability, it has many, many different aspects. And so therefore, it is important to make a start and identify the areas that you can tackle depending on the maturity and the challenges that you have as an organization currently.
And so there's focus, for example, on ESG is one of the big topics, but also on production supply chain. So all the areas that a company has in the entire value chain, there is area for improvement in order to become a more sustainable organization.
Tom Smith: So speaking of priorities from a technology and corporate leadership perspective, what are you seeing and how are you seeing customers behave? How are they thinking going into 2023 in terms of what they're prioritizing? Obviously, we're in the midst of a lot of turbulence right now, a lot of uncertainty. What are your customer interactions like and how are they approaching, say, process mining and execution management work today?
Silke Lehmann: So when we look at process mining, what we have seen in the past is that customers very much targeted specific processes, specific business challenges they had. They had very pointed and relatively narrow scope of where they use process mining, so what we now see more and more is the recognition that this has built a capability and that there's a technology foundation that you can then expand and apply more broadly so that you leverage the experience, the technology you have already invested in to then target additional parts of the company, other processes to look at it more broadly and establish this capability as a more sustainable one, bringing up centers of excellence, for example, that then share and facilitate the rollout.
Tom Smith: In light of what you described, it sounds like Process Sphere™, as we heard about this morning, the new product from Celonis, really addresses that broader perspective, going beyond, we have one problem in one process, and taking a more comprehensive perspective. Does that align well from what you hear from your customers?
Silke Lehmann: Yes, it does. So it's that product, the Process Sphere, that looks after processes, more end-to-end, bringing together individual processes to the broader process chain, but also alongside the Business Miner™, which brings what I would call process mining for the masses, which makes the technology more accessible and easy to use for a very broad audience. And therefore, you can start to really embed process mining into your everyday business and make this a natural part of how you operate so that it can actually unfold its full value.
Editor’s note: This video was originally published on Acceleration Economy, How Accenture Integrates Process Mining and Sustainability in Digital Transformation Solutions.