Today, I’m excited to announce a global strategic partnership between Celonis and ServiceNow, to help every organization complete the final piece of the digital transformation puzzle. But first, let me tell you how we got here.
I speak to CEOs and CIOs every single day, from all around the world, across the entire spectrum of industries; from traditional public institutions, to fast moving consumer brands, all adapting to the new digital imperative.
This has been an integral part of my role at Celonis ever since Basti, Martin and myself founded the company 10 years ago. Back then, I had to knock on doors pretty hard. It wasn’t easy for fresh-faced German math graduates to get in front of busy executives to talk about digital transformation, and how they could unlock millions by X-raying their company processes.
But there was one particular CEO, who took an unbelievable interest in Celonis from the start. Bill McDermott, the legendary CEO of ServiceNow. We’d formed a relatively small partnership many years ago. I used to email Bill every New Year’s Eve, to celebrate closing out another great year in business together. For Bill back then, the financials would have been miniscule. But it made no difference, he would always reply within 5 minutes, with a sense of genuine excitement and belief in what we were - and could - achieve together.
And our visions are always aligned - fix processes, fix execution, fix work. That set the tone for everything that we’ve done together since.
Not every business leader saw the potential as quickly. It felt like a grind at the time, but the slammed doors and puzzled faces didn’t last long. The conversation started to pick up quite quickly. Digital transformation was becoming an accepted necessity. New systems were being rolled out in every company. Old platforms were being upgraded. And digital investments started to climb. There was no turning back.
As the world poured millions into creating modern enterprise architectures, the inner workings of every business changed. Core business processes started to run through a myriad network of different systems and data pools, both on prem and cloud, that often didn’t work well together. Making it insurmountable for any human to understand how business was really executed. Unsurprisingly, under the surface, fragmentation started to increase, causing inefficiencies across the organization that no one knew how to fix. A significant digital ROI gap started to form. And it’s been bloating ever since.
In the past three years, 3 trillion dollars has been invested in digital transformation, but only one 1 in 5 companies are seeing the ROI. Why? Because most organizations still can’t solve the inefficiencies within their processes. And then, the global pandemic hit. Accelerating the digital imperative by an order of magnitude. The world has experienced a decade of digital transformation in less than two years, causing an unprecedented explosion of data. Businesses have had to adapt to survive.
Last year, the world generated 64 zettabytes. In 10 years, that will rocket to around 680 zettabytes. This is a phenomenon - a hugely important signal of the direction the world is going. Enterprises are effectively creating entire universes of data. If all of this data could be put to work, at scale, it represents a generational opportunity. But the scale and complexity goes way beyond what humans can analyze and act on - creating a new business reality for every organization.
Modern businesses succeed or fail on their ability to bring data and execution together. Consumer expectations have changed forever, a new wave of digital native companies burst onto the scene, and enterprises are evolving - we’re right in the middle of a critical turning point. The world has hit the go button on digital transformation, and I’m certain that those who can adapt and put data to work, will be the ones who define the future. ServiceNow and Celonis have been partners for a long time. We’ve created a lot of value for clients together over the years by connecting our process data and intelligence to their workflow execution. It’s always made so much sense:
ServiceNow makes the world of work, work better for people
Celonis shows people, how the world of work really works
ServiceNow moves business across the organization
Celonis shows organizations, how business should be moved
And it was about this time last year that I was speaking with Bill - discussing how we could help our customers solve this gargantuan challenge - that we had an ah-ha moment.
Modern businesses produce an ever-growing ocean of data. Winning businesses will be the ones who make that data work. Data analytics is no longer enough - we must advance to true data execution. The final piece of the digital transformation puzzle is to turn data into action. And to turn data into action effectively at scale, you need digital workflows.
And there it was, staring us right in the face. Almost as if we’d been crazy not to see it sooner. For the last few years, our two companies have been coming at the same macro problem from two different angles: processes and workflows.
Celonis gives companies a clear view of every process powering their business, how they impact each other and what can be done to improve them. ServiceNow gives companies control of how work flows across people, processes and systems. Together, we have the key to help our clients become true digital-natives and solve their greatest challenges.
That’s why I'm so proud to announce that ServiceNow and Celonis are forming a historic strategic partnership - that we truly believe will redefine enterprise software, and enable every organization to complete the final piece of the digital transformation puzzle.
By combining Celonis’ unique process intelligence and actions with ServiceNow’s powerful digital workflows, we create a new playing field in the world of data, execution, and work. Giving companies the key to unlock their trapped data, respond to change more effectively, and accelerate value from digital investments.
Together, we make data work for people, because we believe that the winners in digital innovation will be the companies that put data to work in every facet of business execution. Celonis and ServiceNow are uniquely positioned to drive a generational step-change in organizations. The size and scope of this opportunity is every process, in every workstream, in every company, across every industry.
Think of this partnership as creating a “business operating system” - similar to how the mobile operating system created an entirely new ecosystem of services, companies and industries. Celonis and ServiceNow are creating the modern operating system for how businesses must be run in the digital-first world. Enterprises’ survival over the decades ahead, fundamentally relies on connecting data and intelligence to action - at scale, and in real-time.
We recently announced our acquisition of Lenses.io, the leader in making real-time streaming data accessible. Which now enables us to embed real-time process intelligence into automated digital workflows. For the first time ever, organizations will be able to connect data to execution, in real time. This is a signal of what is coming into the enterprise technology space.
Imagine having a granular view of every process and execution touchpoint within your company - and the ability to fine-tune each and every process and execute automatically at scale. This is the future of business execution. And make no mistake, this shift is as big as the shift from on-prem to the cloud.
That’s why we’re coming together. And that’s why NOW.
The next evolution of business execution starts today. If you want to know more about this partnership, what it means, and how it can help you - check out my conversation with Bill at the Celonis World Tour here; or read ServiceNow’s blog to learn more.
Alex Rinke is co-founder & co-CEO of Celonis, the undisputed leader in process mining and execution management technology. Born out of a university project in Munich, Alex and his co-founders turned the theoretical concept of process mining into a working product, and landed their first client within weeks. Alex and his team successfully grew the company for five years without external funding, scaling rapidly across the globe before raising money. Five years and several rounds later, Celonis has now earned decacorn status, and recently completed the first ever $1bn Series D Round.
Today, Alex steers the global vision and executive team for Celonis, and is an active ambassador for sustainability and equal access to education. Alex firmly believes that by unlocking the world’s processes, we can create a better future for businesses and the planet.
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