Top takeaways from Celonis World Tour 2022 Chicago: Process excellence is a journey

Process excellence is a cyclical journey, improved supplier relationships are just as important as dollar savings and implementing execution management is a business (not IT) project. Those were some of the key takeaways from Celonis World Tour 2022 in Chicago on June 15.

The Windy City was stop number 9 out of 12 during the two-month roadshow, which kicked off in the Bay Area last month. World Tour 2022 has already visited Houston, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Madrid, London, New York and Milan. Events in Munich, Paris and Tokyo will round out the schedule.

During the keynote, Dave Peterson, Celonis CMO, showed attendees how hidden inefficiencies are silently killing business performance and hurting the bottom line.

“If you are a manufacturer, it’s highly likely you are shipping goods and not invoicing your customers,” Peterson said. “Not every day, not with every order, and of course not with anybody in THIS room - but it does happen.”

He also explained how market forces like the pandemic, global supply chain constraints, inflation and ESG are exacerbating inefficiency problems. The way to fight these challenges, Peterson said, is through digital transformation driven by technology like Celonis Execution Management System (EMS).

"The fastest way to save this earth is to fix the processes that make the world work."

"What's the harm of fixing a process?" he said. "What's the harm of filling trucks up and not shipping things half empty around the world? There is no downside, and we're passionate about it."

During the keynote, sessions and panel discussions, Celonis customers and partners, also shared their use cases and insights for driving process excellence with Celonis EMS.

The following takeaways are a collection of what they shared:

  • Dollar savings are important, but improved supplier relationships can be equally important given supply chain constraints. Implementing process mining and execution management in AP helped one customer streamline their invoicing, reduce late payments and optimize working capital, which has a real dollar value. It also had a significant positive impact on the relationship with their suppliers, which is vital given current supply issues.

  • Lead with process followed by technology, not the other way around. Implementing Celonis is not an IT project one customer said. It is a data-driven business project enabled by process mining and execution management technology. Start by asking the business process leaders to share their process strategy, goals and pain points.

  • Focus on data-driven value discovery. One customer explained how they are using Celonis EMS to find value hot spots, scope and quantify them and then bring them to the business decision makers with supporting data so they can make the best decisions on what projects to activate.

  • Use the best available data and show results in an easily consumable way. Instead of measuring in “bits-and-pieces,” measure once for the full scope of transactions. When presenting the data to business decision makers, use filters and visualizations that make them easy to digest, such as boxes, graphs and tables.

  • Plan for growth and be flexible. Celonis process mining technology gives customers an x-ray into their processes, showing them as they truly are, not how you think they are. This means you need to plan for both finding a big inefficiency “right off the bat” or it taking a bit longer. You’ll also need to be flexible in your plans to fix the inefficiencies you find. You may be able to make some fixes, like a master data or configuration change, relatively quickly. Other fixes, like a business process change, may take longer.

  • Executive leadership and a solid data/analytics foundation are both key to success. One customer said they were able to narrow their Celonis starting point to a single ERP system, from the many they have, thanks in part to a committee of senior leaders who ensure that the company realizes value and is driving more standardization and connectivity across the end-to-end process with that specific ERP system.

  • Include a steady-state operating model definition within the scope of your Celonis pilot. This includes details like; your EMS playbook, roles, role onboarding and proficiency plans, the meetings that are needed, the stakeholders you need to manage and the KPI metrics and reports for the service and steering committee.

  • Keeping an “agile” mindset is important during your EMS deployment. You’ll want to learn, update and repeat as you develop “incremental maturity”. It’s also important to adapt to the individual needs of specific processes and business leaders. For example one leader may want to measure and monitor progress instead of a charter, while another may want the Execution App.

  • Don’t spread your Celonis CoE team too thin. The Celonis EMS gives you access to so much data, that as one customer said, it’s “easy to get caught up in just looking at one more thing.” They said that “extreme prioritization and planning” are key to keeping your Celonis Center of Excellence (CoE) team from being overwhelmed. Let the data drive your decisions, but also talk with stakeholders about where they believe the most value lies.

  • Process excellence is a cyclical journey. Just because you don’t find problems with a process now, doesn’t mean it won’t break in the future. Early in their Celonis implementation, one customer looked for instances of them shipping products to customers but not billing for them. They didn’t find any. Three months later, they looked again. Lo and behold, several instances popped up and had to be fixed. The lesson? Don’t assume that the state of your processes is constant. Business processes are complex and constantly changing. Regular monitoring with Celonis EMS can identify processes inefficiencies as they appear.

Also see: Celonis World Tour 2022: Everything you need to know

More customer stories from World Tour 2022:

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Bill Detwiler
Senior Communications Strategist and Editor Celonis Blog

Bill Detwiler is Senior Communications Strategist and Editor of the Celonis blog. He is the former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, where he hosted the Dynamic Developer podcast and Cracking Open, CNET’s popular online show. Bill is an award-winning journalist, who’s covered the tech industry for more than two decades. Prior his career in the software industry and tech media, he was an IT professional in the social research and energy industries.

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