Blog: Vodafone - Making Data Speak

Vodafone: Making Data Speak

Southard Jones --author image
by Southard Jones
November 06, 2017
5 min read

How to make data speak?

Vodafone was looking for a way toย understandย how itsย corporate process modelsย wereย executed in reality. In this way, it wanted toย close the information gapย and linkย KPIsย toย root causes.

By combining the strength of SAPโ€™s in-memory platform with the revolutionaryย process mining technologyย of Celonis, Vodafone now is able to leverage its data to getย full transparency aboutย how processes are really executed.

Withย great success—shortly after the introduction of process mining,ย improvement inย business-critical back-end processesย has become visible andย Vodafone expects much more to follow.

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The challenge | From process model to reality

With 446 million customers, mobile operations in 26ย countries and fixed broadband operations in 17 countries, Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. Operating in the market for over 30 years, Vodafone understands that its customers need a communications partner with solutions that scale and adapt as their businesses change.

This means that also back-end processes such as Purchase-to-Pay, playing a key role in driving business success and customer satisfaction, need to adapt. Simplifying them, making them faster and more flexible to meet customersโ€™ needs is essential for Vodafoneโ€™s leadership in the market.

However, with hundreds of thousands of transactions accumulating an enormous amount of โ€œdeep Dataโ€, Vodafone lacked the necessary insights into how processes were executed and performing in reality, especially compared to process models and documentations.

As KPIs indicated that processes were not running smoothly, it took too long to get to the root causes of process weaknesses. The gap between performance losses and determining the appropriate course of action to improve the situation was too wide. Precious time was lost, which had a particularly monetary impact on the time-dependent Purchase-to-Pay process.

A solution was needed that could bring transparency to Vodafoneโ€™s processes and provide actionable insights into the root causes of problems.

The solution |ย Let data speak for itself

To build a bridge across the information gap, Vodafone introduced a game-changing solution: Process Mining by Celonis. This innovative and powerful Big Data Analytics technology leverages the benefits of Vodafone's SAP HANA infrastructure to make the companyโ€™s own โ€œDeep Dataโ€ speak in a way that would lead to actionable insights by:

โ€ข Creating full transparency by visualizing the as-is process in real time โ€ข Identifying all process variants and highlighting deviations from the to-be process โ€ข Uncovering bottlenecks, rework, delays, cost drivers, and other inefficiencies โ€ข Explain KPIs and other metrics by analyzing the root causes of such process weaknesses โ€ข Exploring the full potential for further process optimization (e.g. standardization, process re-design, robotics, simplification) โ€ข Providing actionable reports for operational process improvements โ€ข Being rapidly deployable and enterprise-ready โ€ข Being a cross-industry solution complementing the SAP landscape

Celonis' HANA-based Process Mining technology reconstructs and visualizes Vodafoneโ€™s as-is Purchase-to-Pay process end-to-end from digital traces in SAP systems. It shows the big picture and allows drill-downs at the same time โ€“ and by that reveals root causes for problems.

Like a visual search engine, it is possible to zoom into transactions, filter on any given KPIs and to find out quickly where and why "happy paths," harmful deviations, and inefficiencies occur. In this way, Process Mining creates the optimal basis for further improving the efficiency and quality of a process.

Human impact of SAP HANA

Process Mining on SAP HANA is changing the way people at Vodafone work. With simplification and transparency, they no longer have to adapt to rigid processes โ€“ they can design processes to fit their needs and become much more productive. If a process turns inefficient, Process Mining enables them to spend less time on guessing and searching for the problem. Instead it triggers the fact-based discussion of solutions and taking immediate counter measures for improving the situation.

Benefits summarized:

โ€ข Change the perspective and work on โ€œthe real processโ€ instead with models, documentations โ€ข Stop guessing and move from insights to action in no time โ€ข Get to know the โ€œwhyโ€ and make fact-based decisions with better impact โ€ข Save time and make better use of it with real-time analyses and monitoring โ€ข Increase productivity by shaping and automating processes โ€ข Enhance overall compliance

The scope

Celonis Process Mining solution on SAP HANA has successfully been applied to Vodafoneโ€™s global Purchase-to-Pay process, creating transparency and standardizing it to run with significantly increased efficiency.

Analysis Figures (1 yr period): โ€ข > 820,000 purchase orders โ€ข > 2 m invoices โ€ข > 40 bn payments โ€ข > 3.5 m asset additions

Among others, the following analyses were carried out to improve processes:

โ€ข Where and how does the as-is process deviate from the to-be (standard) process? Can it be further standardized and automated (Robotics) โ€ข Which processes could be automated further? โ€ข Where does automation fail, resulting in a lot of manual rework? โ€ข What is the impact of individual processes on the value chain / how can we improve time to market? โ€ข Where are bottlenecks in the process? โ€ข Which purchase orders and vendors have high rework ratios? โ€ข What are the most frequent rework activities (i.e. removal of payment blocks and declined Purchase Orders)? โ€ข How to improve 3-way matches (payment details on purchase orders, goods receipts and invoices) โ€ข Check compliance: Where and why were approval steps skipped?

Technical impact of the solution

Vodafone has been running SAP HANA since 2013 โ€“ in the course of a major digital transformation strategy, it now draws its information from one global enterprise system. Process Mining is an extraordinary use case that leverages the full power of Vodafoneโ€™s HANA infrastructure. โ€ข Celonisโ€™ technology is tightly integrated into SAP HANA via the Application Function Library (AFL) to leverage the full power of in-memory computing. โ€ข As the Celonisโ€™ Process Analytics Engine runs directly inside SAP HANA, the performance of large datasets is significantly increased.

Southard Jones --author image
Southard Jones
VP, Product Marketing

Southard Jones is Celonisโ€™ VP, Product Marketing. Prior to Celonis, Southard held various executive product and marketing roles at enterprise software companies in the Business Intelligence, Analytics, and Data Science market, including Domino Data Lab, Birst, Right 90, and Siebel Analytics.

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