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Top 5 Process Excellence Trends to Watch for in 2021

Julia Kramer
by Julia Kramer
January 21, 2021
9 min read

The world is changing, and the future of work hinges on where purpose meets ingenuity. From enabling operational resilience to adopting intelligent solutions at scale, discover whatโ€™s next for process excellence and how you can capture these opportunities in 2021.

1. Process Mining is adopted at scale

Exponential Curve

There is no question that Process Mining is exploding in popularity. In 2020, we saw a surge of Process Mining initiatives take hold. Before, Process Mining was associated with technical consultants and analysts. Now, itโ€™s become an accepted discipline that all lines of business are adopting at scale. A number of major established enterprise software vendors launched Process Mining products in the past year.

In Gartnerโ€™s recent Market Guide, studies show Process Mining is trending upwards overtime and is especially relevant to enable operational resilience in our current landscape. Being in the business for over 10 years, the study establishes Celonis has a dominant position in this market from a market share perspective.

As Siemens, our first customer, becomes a global strategic partner and we join the ranks as a new partner with Volkswagenโ€™s Industrial Cloud, Celonis is still charging ahead in this market. Process Mining is here to stay. Itโ€™s the very technology that now lives at the core of Celonisโ€™ Execution Management System, powering the EMSโ€™ Analytics capabilities.

2. Execution Management is the innovation pivot

Innovation Abstract Image

2021 is the year to out-execute your competition. And maintaining an innovation focus in your business is key. As companies battle with uncertainty, they are turning to Execution Management to help drive that innovation. History suggests that businesses that invest in innovation through a crisis outperform peers during recovery. But knowing where to invest and what to optimize only starts with understanding process problems.

To be most successful, we need a convergence of best-in-class automation and intelligence tools to harness opportunities to innovate. The Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) takes it to the next level by combining Process Mining, machine learning, and automation to continuously measure, predict, and actively optimize key business processes to drive improvements to your key objectives.

โ€œEMS is an ambitious product portfolio that has the potential to modernize business operations, allowing customers to gain competitive advantage by being able to out-execute competition,โ€ says Maureen Fleming at IDC.

Execution Management is Celonisโ€™ strategic vision to deliver business value. The EMS enables customers to measure execution capacity by understanding processes and identifying gaps and knowing which gaps impact key KPIs. Then, it acts in real-time to close those gaps to unlock execution capacity.

Market leading companies are already doubling down on Execution Management and achieving world class results. Uber identified $20M in efficiency gains in their customer service operations. Lโ€™Oreal increased touchless orders by 800% by tackling credit and order blocks across their Supply Chain.

"Who doesnโ€™t want to improve their execution?" asks top data science expert and thought leader,Tom Davenport. Read what execution management can do for your business here.

3. โ€œAutomate everythingโ€ ๐Ÿ Š โ€œAutomate to executeโ€

Automate everything

A lot of analysts are talking about hyper automation. In theory, anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated. According to Gartner, this is driven by organizations having legacy business processes that are not streamlined, which results in overly expensive and extensive issues for organizations.

But automating everything isnโ€™t the solution. The short term automation-fix might feel good, but the automation-tax will be high once those bots eventually break down. RPA has been a hot topic, but itโ€™s time to move beyond the bot.

Gartner predicts, โ€œBy 2024, one or more technology mega-vendors will build or acquire

targeted hyper automation technologies rendering 60% of the standalone RPA market offerings redundant.โ€

Itโ€™s time to โ€œautomate to execute." Workflow automation will surpass RPA in excitement and adoption as companies optimize for operational resilience and agility. Workflow automation is the design and execution of automated processes to complete tasks or to route data and files between people and systems based on business rules.

The more integrated your tools, the more you can execute. For example, to streamline task management, if someone sends you an email in Gmail, that email can automatically be repurposed into a task inside Asana. Simply put, workflow automation takes a unified approach to organize the flow of activities across your processes, while RPA can only automate one thing at a time.

Companies are investing in new generation workflow automation products like Zapier and Integromat, stitching together UIs with RPA tools, and building deeper IPaaS process integrations between best-in-breed tech stacks with tools from companies like Mulesoft.

This new approach asks what needs to be executed first โ€”and then determines what set of tasks, apps, and systems are required to automate the work. The focus will shift to how to expand and connect to multiple system value streams and workflows without creating complexity.

4. Digital-first strategies open doors - just pick the right one

Frustrated Man

One of the many ways the global pandemic has impacted the workforce is by dramatically accelerating the digital shift. The companies that are adopting and deploying these digital strategies and approaches at warp speed are prevailing. But, it has to be done intelligently to be viable.

We need tools that unlock a next wave of innovation that yield new business solutions and are greater than the sum of their parts. As we continue to face disruption in the supply chain and juggle the nuances of remote work, productivity remains a key objective.

When we bounce from one productivity tool after another, we not only undercut their benefit, we replicate our bad habits - only digitally. It's not about digitizing analog tools. Sure, Monday.com and Trello offer upbeat ways to manage tasks, but itโ€™s limited on a vertical level like a basic Excel spreadsheet.

If a tool is built to perform for a machine, it only amplifies fatigue for a human. Take Zoom. Pre-COVID, how many people were staring at their colleagues on a screen? Psychiatrists find the rewards-costs tradeoff that happens in our minds unconsciously is low in a virtual conference setting. We cannot factor in nonverbal cues and lack real connection with our counterparts. The result? A mental and physical toll that inhibits human connection and productivity. These tools are merely treating the symptom.

The direction is to select productivity tools that actually help you scale your impact. But the world doesnโ€™t operate the same every single day, and processes that you used to follow wonโ€™t follow the exact path as they did before remote work.

Execution management embraces what process you have at any moment and provides the information you need to make an intuitive decision. It improves the way we manage processes and leverages data to mitigate rework and redundancy.

An EMS can be intelligent enough that actions are personalized to individuals based on how a process flows. It can support how you work each day and set you up for success into the future.

5. Urgency to execute sustainability initiatives

Solar Panels

We know the cost of inaction when it comes to climate change is just too high. The #1 most read article from McKinsey in 2020 details the extent of physical and socioeconomic risk a changing climate is causing and will continue to cause over the next three decades. In order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, CO2 emissions will need to fall to net zero by 2050.

Driven by pressure from stakeholders and the strengthening business case for decarbonization, investors and executives realize that a strong ESG proposition can safeguard a companyโ€™s long-term success.

While last year more and more companies anchored sustainability in their strategy and focused on where they stood, this year, itโ€™s all about doubling down on executing these sustainability initiatives.

A company may ask itself: How do we reach our ambitious science based target? What will it take to reduce waste and improve our bottom line? How are we factoring in social impact and governance into our long-term strategy?

The EMS is making it easier to meaningfully prioritize sustainability in every business process, measure ESG progress, and understand bottlenecks and blockers. It goes beyond just identifying where you can mitigate risk and make incremental improvements - like offsetting CO2 emissions - and takes action to reduce waste across your business.

The analysis of companiesโ€™ internal operations coupled with workflow automation will have a huge impact on how sustainability initiatives are executed.

Recently, EY launched the Sustainability Workbench which leverages Celonis as a Service (CaaS) to track and monitor the carbon emissions level across each activity of a process and understand the contributors in order to take pre-emptive measures across its value chain. The new solution allows companies to make management decisions based on operational efficiency goals and CO2 reduction targets. And, it goes further by helping businesses evaluate potential loan opportunities from an ESG lens.

Eissmann Automotive Group is reducing waste in their production line by measuring execution gaps in their error-prone lines and applying automation and best practices to close those gaps. With more transparency into their processes, an e-commerce company is improving supplier sustainability by reducing packaging in their supply chain.

Businesses can make a notable difference by focusing on their processes. Itโ€™s time to combine measurement with action and execute on sustainability initiatives across the company and across the globe.

Where purpose meets ingenuity

The future for digital transformation is allocating purpose and ingenuity to what we do. As we become more intentional about how we work - from automating processes to executing sustainable strategies, in the end, weโ€™re not doing it for the sake of the work. Or to just increase our bottom line. Itโ€™s the intention and intelligence behind it that will yield the best results.

These are our process excellence predictions for the year to come โ€” what do you think? Let us know what you think the biggest trends are on Twitter or LinkedIn.

To learn more, join our free, live Webinar.

Julia Kramer
Julia Kramer
Senior Content Marketing Writer

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