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Bayer AG + Celonis

“I believe it starts with people. We had the vision to create a Center of Excellence, to be that engine to drive momentum, but without the right people, your CoE is going to fall flat.”

Phoong Tang, CIO & Head of Digital Transformation for Enabling Functions, Bayer AG
Industry - Healthcare & Life Sciences Process - Other Region - Europe
Increase in adoption over the last 12 months
Celonis users across US, EMEA and Asia
Celonis trainings executed in 2023

World-leading Life Science organization Bayer have expanded Celonis Process Intelligence across the business, scaling the platform by more than 2,700 users in just 12 months, generating rapid, sustainable value. Here’s how they did it.

Context: Accelerating the process mining path to value

It’s a time of great change at Bayer AG. The company is set on its vision of enabling “Health for all and hunger for none,” and has appointed a new CEO to help realize it. To this end, the next 12-24 months will be “pivotal” from a process perspective according to Phoong Tang, CIO and Head of Digital Transformation for Enabling Functions at Bayer. She explained during her Pathing the Path to Value session at Celosphere 2023 that realizing Bayer’s vision will ultimately come down to how well the company can answer the question, “How can we reimagine our overall processes?” Enter Process Intelligence by Celonis.

Bayer have been using Celonis – powered by their market-leading process mining technology, AI and automation – since 2012 to gain a shared understanding of how the business runs and  continuously optimize processes from Audit to Plant Maintenance. 

Over the past year, their process optimization efforts have ramped up significantly thanks to a newly-formed global Celonis CoE that’s powering widespread adoption and value at speed across the business. During Tang’s Celosphere mainstage interview, she explained how Bayer’s global CoE is generating value at scale, and what the future of process intelligence looks like for the Life Science giant.

Challenge: Breaking away from a decentralized approach

The early stages of Bayer’s Celonis journey were admittedly a “slow start” according to Tang, due to the company approaching process mining “In more of a decentralized way, where each of our business areas would say what they were interested in, then come up with a use case and implement it.” 

It soon became clear that instead of having process-mining technology serve the business ad hoc and in silos, Tang and her colleagues would need to encourage a much more unified approach. 

“We needed a small, focused team to really drive momentum. More than just governance, awareness and training — exposing our business areas to the art of the possible.”

Phoong Tang, CIO & Head of Digital Transformation for Enabling Functions, Bayer AG

Solution: “Don’t lead with the process, lead with the people.”

To really transform how process mining was positioned within the company — and drive up value creation in turn — the first step would be to create a dedicated Celonis Center of Excellence at Bayer. And, crucially, according to Tang, the secret to its success would be to “Not lead with technology, but instead, with a business problem.” Only thenwould it be time to “bring or hire the right people on board to really accelerate that” — in essence, “building the right partnership” between the CoE and the wider business.

Read also: How Bayer’s process mining CoE enables end-to-end process excellence

“With Celonis Process Mining, you’re exposing where the gaps are, so you can build that partnership, build those champions, and close the gap.”

Phoong Tang, CIO & Head of Digital Transformation for Enabling Functions, Bayer AG

Skip to today, and Bayer’s CoE is now fully functional, with presence across the US, EMEA and Asia, and more than 40 Celonis champions situated globally.

But the establishment of Bayer’s Celonis CoE is only half the story. One of the most important messages that came out of Bayer’s Celosphere sessions this year was that the more people that adopt process mining, the greater the value generated

This is where change makers like Timo Peters, Head of Process Insights and Value CeloCoE Champion EMEA at Bayer, come in. In his Celosphere session, Unleashing the power of adoption for value realization, he argued that the value of process mining technology, as with any new technology, will only be seen when it becomes integrated into company culture. Hence one of the top objectives of Bayer’s Celonis CoE: ramping up user adoption, fast. 

The route to this outcome was five-fold. First, Peters explained that in order to drive up adoption and keep users engaged, Bayer’s Celonis CoE would need to be highly responsive, following an “any time, any how” model that ensured users “never felt left alone with their problems.” 

Second, Peters and his team integrated the Celonis Academy Training into their in-house learning platform — a tactic he described as a “game changer” for ramping up Celonis platform usage. This meant users could become experts in process mining in an already familiar environment. 

Third, Peters’ team set up a collaboration with a university to create a dedicated process mining academy, opening up a pathway for turning Bayer process mining advocates into bona fide champions, with the expertise needed to run real-world process mining use cases autonomously at Bayer.

“When we talk about our CoE, there’s no delineation - it’s not about who you direct-line to. He’s talking about a whole community of Champions, across global services and divisions. Being able to blur that line is really important.”

Phoong Tang, CIO & Head of Digital Transformation for Enabling Functions, Bayer AG

The penultimate tactic was simple: to take every opportunity to raise awareness about process mining and demonstrate its value within the business. For example, Peters himself took up multiple speaking engagements to spread the message and communicate quantifiable successes of the Celonis platform.

Finally, Peters and his team set up data-driven monitoring of the Celonis user journey within Bayer — including training, logins, engagement and other metrics — to identify improvements and opportunities for streamlining the journey.  

Results: A shift in company culture, and a leap in value creation

In just under 12 months, and in addition to achieving the initial goal of establishing a more unified approach to process mining, the creation of Bayer’s Celonis CoE has led to:

  • 840% increase in Celonis usership

  • 1250% increase in logins

  • 300% increase in average engagement time

  • 935% increase in daily active users

  • 610% increase in completed trainings

“The availability of information to a big group will drive a culture change and economic growth.”

Phoong Tang, CIO & Head of Digital Transformation for Enabling Functions, Bayer AG

In turn, these achievements have directly correlated with the value being generated across multiple processes at Bayer, including Order-to-Cash, HR, Source-to-Pay, ITSM, Plant Maintenance, Manufacturing and so many more.

According to Peters, these results demonstrate two clear takeaways about the benefits of driving up process mining adoption across a large, complex enterprise like Bayer:

  1. Increased user activity leads to more insights.

  2. By building up process-mining expertise, teams can faster identify the biggest value opportunities - which in turn maximizes value realized.

Vision: Full steam ahead

As the company progresses towards realizing its ultimate vision, process mining will continue to be crucial to success. To this end, Peters’ team are currently piloting Object-Centric process mining in areas like Source-to-Pay, in efforts to better visualize and analyze Bayer’s complex business operations, as well as maximize the value generated from process mining.

Also on the agenda for next year is an increase in the use of generative AI to further Bayer’s strategic initiatives. By supporting natural-language searches, generative AI can enhance process mining technology and help make the technology more accessible to non-technical business users. 

A time of great change indeed. And there’s no doubt that Bayer’s impressive new Celonis CoE, coupled with its value-centric-improvement culture, will ensure that change is navigated successfully. Read next:

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