Execution Apps

What is Execution Management?

Execution Management is the operating system for the next-generation enterprise. It is an emerging software platform to drive performance across multiple processes, industries and transformation initiatives. The rapidly developing category was created in 2020 by Celonis with the launch of Celonis Execution Management System (EMS).

The category, becoming widely regarded as an essential part of the modern IT landscape, has been fascinating to watch. What has been more fascinating are the tangible business outcomes delivered by the technology.

With that backdrop in mind, it's worth aggregating everything you need to know about Execution Management in one living document to define the category. Let's get started.

What is Execution Management? Execution Management is a new category of enterprise software that integrates with applications and data sources to drive intelligent orchestration to improve business performance. The category was launched in 2020 by Celonis with the release of its Execution Management System. The Celonis EMS contains the company’s Process Data Engine, Action Flows automation tools, purpose-built in-memory database, the Process Query Language (PQL), Execution Applications, low-code Celonis Studio application builder, and more. An Execution Management System can be described in three words: Data, intelligence and action.

Where does Execution Management fit in the broader enterprise software landscape? Execution Management orchestrates the digitization layer across multiple systems and data stores. Today, the average individual business process runs across more than 10 systems and many enterprises use more than 200 IT systems and applications to operate their business. In this fragmented IT environment, the movement of information across these systems is often uncoordinated and data is silo-ed. This complexity creates hidden inefficiencies that destroy business performance, cost millions in wasted budget, worsen supply chain disruptions, drive inflation and hurt corporate sustainability efforts.

Execution Management provides a layer on top of existing systems without changing what's underneath. These systems include on-premises systems, cloud applications, data warehouses, proprietary systems and systems of record. The goal of Execution Management is to provide a 360-degree view of processes and how your business actually operates based on data.

4 must-know Execution Management themes from Celonis Labs | Also see: 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Process Mining Tools | Press release

How does Execution Management differ from Process Mining? Execution Management leverages Process Mining to reveal and fix hidden inefficiencies in processes. Execution Management also encompasses streaming data from multiple systems, graphs and visualizations of how processes influence each other as well as dependencies. Execution Management can also simulate processes to create a process digital twin of an organization.

What is Process Mining? | Process Mining for Dummies | Process Mining: From Theory to Execution | Webinar: Process Excellence Unlocked: 5-Part Series on business and use cases

Is Execution Management open? Yes. Execution Management systems have to work across platforms, systems as well as processes. The expectation is that there will be a broad ecosystem of partners and independent software vendors to create applications on top of Execution Management software. Execution Management by definition requires multiple integrations with enterprise systems of record, services, task automation and micro services and data pipelines.

What functionality should Execution Management systems have? Celonis has built its Execution Management System (EMS) to define the category. Celonis EMS combines data integration with a process data engine along with prescriptive automation, recommendations and embeddable services. Using cloud-based and on-prem microservices, the Engine extracts event log data from ERP, CRM, and other systems in real time. This data is collected and processed in a proprietary database using Celonis Process Query Language (PQL). Action Flows in Celonis Studio are then used to define and automated process flows. In order to effectively visualize processes, identify and automatically fix execution gaps, AI and ML algorithms are built into the core mining and automation engines. For each process you want to analyze and optimize, whether it’s purchase-to-pay (P2P), order-to-cash (O2C) or customer service, EMS should ingest data from the underlying business systems, visualize the process, identify inefficiencies and give you the ability to execute and automate actions to fix execution gaps across those underlying systems.

Does Execution Management take long to implement? Execution Management is built to deliver business value and ROI quickly, often with one process and system to start. In that scenario, Celonis EMS can be up and running in 4 to 6 weeks. Multiple processes and systems can be running on Celonis EMS in six to eight months. Over a longer time period, Execution Management can be implemented enterprise wide.

Is there an Execution Management ecosystem? The ecosystem is young but growing rapidly. For instance, Celonis has multiple partners including IBM and Accenture in addition to applications built for specific use cases. Celonis Studio is a low-code, point-and-click development platform used to build Execution Applications. 

What are the use cases for Execution Management? Today, Execution Management is used for processes such as Accounts Receivable, Order Management and Procurement initially. Inventory Management, Supply Chain and Sustainability use cases are also strong use cases for Execution Management. As enterprises manage through inflation, supply chain disruptions and sustainability issues Execution Management use cases will expand from traditional back office use cases to front-end processes such as customer service and human capital management. Execution Management works across multiple industries and business categories and is often part of supply chain, process, shared services and system transformation initiatives.

Does Execution Management deliver returns? Execution Management as a software category measures returns in terms of value. Instead of wonky terms such as Total Cost of Ownership, Execution Management success is based on bottom line metrics such as lower operating costs, capital spend and working capital as well as top line benefits such as revenue growth and green line sustainability returns such as lower CO2 emissions. 

Larry Dignan mugshot 2022
Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief (former)

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of Celonis Media. Before joining Celonis, he was Editor in Chief of ZDNet and has covered the technology industry and transformation trends for more than two decades, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine.

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