Protection One is a national home security company that provides installation, maintenance, and monitoring to over 1.5M customers. To become more competitive, they wanted to shorten their cash conversion cycle in their Order-to-Cash process but knew implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) half-blind to their processes was not the way to go. With the help of Celonis, Protection One leveraged Process Mining to gain insights and identify the best route to success. Andrej Popovic, RPA Project Manager of Protection One GmbH, shares their story on how RPA is best when used with Process Mining.
At Protection One, we know the key to success is to gain a holistic overview of both our processes and objectives that drive our organization. Early on, we recognized we had siloed departments and opaque workflows with little insight into when we were doing manual or automated activities. This was a major problem.
We wanted to have a clear view of our Order-to-Cash process - a process with tremendous complexity and several owners across various sales branches and cities. Moreover, our controllers needed full transparency to ensure audit compliance.
We needed a system that could analyze our process and a dashboard we could customize to our priorities. This included throughput time analysis, change analysis, incomplete process information, and root cause analysis of our most common variants. Without process analytics, we couldn’t decide which changes to make that would be the most relevant and effective.
To be successful, we needed to be able to quickly drill down into our SAP data to identify the root causes of inefficiencies, address bottlenecks, and determine which of these repetitive and recurring processes we could automate through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). On top of this, we needed a way to analyze our throughput times in pre and post RPA deployment in order to really measure the benefit of automating these processes. Because, as William Thomson once said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
We wanted to take the smartest approach to automating processes. Like most companies, we had several repetitive tasks that could be automated through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA has the capacity to carry out a human task within a process quickly, accurately, and more tirelessly than humans - freeing up their time to focus on more important work.
We know RPA alone doesn’t solve everything. In fact, without a visibility into what it should automate and without a clear plan, it can be risky. As Bill Gates once said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
To avoid this, we chose the best route to success - Process Mining.
Process Mining is a key enabler to achieve process excellence and automation in our digital transformation journey. It delivers essential visibility and control into individual processes, the relationships between them, and the outcomes they deliver. With Process Mining, we could understand how to make our business processes most efficient. More importantly, we could calibrate the specific components to optimize our entire operational engine for outcomes that align with our goals. We were ready to dive in with the help of Celonis. First, we leveraged the Celonis IBC to collect time-stamped event log data from our SAP system so we could see how the work is really done. Next, we discovered what was actually going on in our O2C process as it actually happened. In no time, we could see which processes had inconsistencies. Celonis helped us uncover root causes and understand how processes work when these issues aren’t present. With these insights, we could pinpoint what needed to be enhanced to optimize our business outcomes. Our internal implementation team - consisting of Controlling, IT, Sales, Finance, and Supply Chain - created Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that defined a clear plan toward improving and monitoring our O2C process for future growth opportunities.
Celonis helped us identify which repetitive and recurring processes we can automate through RPA to shorten our Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) time. We rely on CCC to see how long it takes to convert our inventory and resource investments into cash flows from sales. It was easy to prioritize where we will have the largest ROI potential and gain a good baseline for comparison after deploying. We leveraged the Action Engine to intelligently trigger RPA bots where we needed them most.
The impact of Process Mining on RPA deployment doesn’t stop here. At Protection One, we will continue to monitor processes for efficiency and to eliminate any errors that may arise after our RPA deployment. Now we can rely on our measured throughput time to best understand the impact of our ROI’s moving forward. Celonis is an indispensable tool to enable continuous Process Mining insights, improvement, and transparency. For us, optimizing our O2C process and securing the best route for RPA through Process Mining is just the beginning.