Back in winter 2016, I had just graduated with my master’s from university when I headed to a job interview at Celonis: what was then a young tech start-up with 60 employees and the bold vision to revolutionize the way companies work in the digitized world.
I actually applied for a data science role, but during the interview one of the founders told me that they were looking for someone to build up an education and research program that creates partnerships within the academic sector. I was excited to take this job, but couldn’t help thinking:
“Why was such an early-stage, hyper-growth company starting an Academic Alliance?”
“How could we possibly build this program?”
“What services could we even offer to academics?”
Since then, my journey led me to host many guest lectures and workshops at universities, to attend dozens of academic conferences, and I had hundreds of insightful conversations with both professors and students. Inspired by the impressions they made on us, we built the Celonis Academic Alliance.
Since its start, the core of Celonis has always been academic, down to its very DNA. Our founders started the company from a student project at the Technical University of Munich, and the process mining technology itself emerged from years of extensive academic research on workflows and business process management.
For a while, I thought this would be The Why, but it is much more. New technologies evolve very fast. Process mining is a prime example. A few years ago, it was hard to find any company that even knew it existed, let alone applied it. Today, hundreds of companies use process mining around the world and across every industry. The technology is so disruptive that it fundamentally changes the way companies operate. Consequently, the demand for young professionals to turn (process) data into actionable insights is increasingly high.
Although universities are doing a fantastic job teaching students about data and process science in order to meet the market’s demand, their education typically comes with two restrictions:
There is a natural lag to adjust to the industry demand for new rapidly-growing technologies, as it takes time to set up new study programs and lectures. This creates a temporary gap between industry demand and academia.
Comprehensive academic education, especially in process mining, requires both learning about fundamentals and theory, but also needs application in practice, which many universities lack the resources to provide.
As the technology leader in the process mining space, we see it as our inherent responsibility and privilege to support academic education by complementing it with practical insights and hands-on experience. And so the Celonis Academic Alliance was created under this goal of empowering the next generation to actively apply these new technologies and to generate impactful insights from data.
To make our vision become a reality, we created an academic program that provides access to our process mining software, as well as training material. But a modern Academic Alliance program is not just about delivering free software, it is about creating a strong symbioitic relationship between the academic community and the industry by joining forces to help each other provide world-class education and research.
Today’s students want to learn from real-world problems and actual use cases, rather than abstract theory. Together with our academic partners and customers, we create a modern teaching approach that empowers students with practical solutions and skills to conquer the challenges of tomorrow. But even more, we build a strong community that inspires its members and generates solutions for data- and process-related problems.
The Celonis Academic Alliance is a global community of more than 200 teachers and researchers dedicated to process and data science. Together with our partners, we empowered more than 15,000 students over the last two years.
We provide free access to our Intelligent Business Cloud and the latest Celonis features– not just a demo version, but the full and latest editions of Celonis technology that students and teachers can use for research and education. With our academic training packages, we try to make it as easy as possible for teachers to integrate process mining in their curriculum. We support them with a wide range of e-learning services and domain-specific case studies for finance, supply chain management, healthcare and many more.
All academic partners are also connected to an academic partner manager, who provides personal support throughout their process mining journey, and creates customized learning products tailored to their needs.
Every teacher, researcher and university worldwide is more than welcome to join this lively community, and build an alliance for powerful education and research related to process and data science.
This is my first blog post of many, which I wrote to introduce you to the Celonis Academic Alliance purpose, vision and goals. I look forward to sharing updates of the exciting work happening in our academic education and research program — some will appear as guest blogs from our partners around the world — to empower the next generation of process miners!