A strong Center of Excellence can transform processes and operations across even the largest enterprises. Here are three ways BP’s leaders ensured theirs was a success.
When you’re a global enterprise with hundreds of diverse processes spanning countless business units and domains, true standardization can feel a bit overwhelming.
But, as Claire Hourigan — Head of Business Process Management and the Process Mining Center of Excellence at BP — showed us, with the right capabilities and a strong CoE, any organization can achieve process mining excellence.
The oil and gas industry giant has built out its CoE as it scales Celonis across its business and processes. Murray Auchincloss, CFO of BP, said on the company’s August 3 earnings conference call that the company was leveraging Celonis to discover procurement inefficiencies. The effort is part of a broader digital transformation plan. “We're now able to watch procurement flows across the globe with a tool called Celonis that sits over the top of our SAP system and find out where inefficiencies exist in the system,” said Auchincloss.
Speaking with Celonis CRO Miguel Milano, Claire walked us through BP’s Process Mining CoE journey, sharing tips that have helped her and her team bring processes in line with BP’s ‘happy path’. Here’s a quick recap of the advice she shared.
BP’s Business Process Management team has been working on process optimization long before they started working with Celonis. But standardizing them internally was proving difficult.
The team had a clear vision of what it wanted its processes to look like — a state BP calls its ‘happy path’, the ideal and ideally most frequent set of steps for a process to take. But, the challenge came in identifying where existing processes were deviating from that path.
“We used Celonis to visualize all of the differences between processes that had been lifted and shifted into GBS,” said Claire. “That enabled us to better understand how to streamline them, and bring them in line with the happy path.”
Claire attributes a lot of the BP process Center of Excellence’s success to securing the right senior sponsorship. “All of the leadership team are embedded into our objectives,” she explained. “Everyone buys into our goals of standardization, simplification, and the elimination of work and waste – and understands how the CoE can drive them.”
That sponsorship has been hugely important for the CoE, ensuring that the right resources are made available for every project. “Having the right people, and access to the right data has been absolutely crucial to our success,” said Claire. “Without that senior buy-in, we simply wouldn’t have had them.”
Using Celonis, the CoE team can visualize the potential impact of proposed process changes early in the transformation process. “By producing visuals early, we can hook stakeholders in by showing them benefits they care about,” said Claire.
“Being able to show people that, for example, they’re operating a sales order process that requires 62 people to make an order, but 147 to make changes to it, has helped leaders clearly see how our projects will improve their ways of working, and improve the end outcome of those sales orders.”
According to Claire, one of the biggest reasons why BP initially chose to partner with Celonis was Celonis’ strong innovation pipeline. “Things like Action Engine were hugely important to us,” she said. “Over the last two years, we’ve worked very closely on co-innovation projects to get Action Engine deeply embedded in our ways of working.”
“One example of how we’re using it today is for smart receipting,” explained Claire. “When a goods receipt isn’t available during invoicing, that triggers the Action Engine to send out a follow-up email asking if the customer has received the goods. Then, that information is input directly into SAP.”
“It’s transformed what used to be a very manual chase into an automated process,” she added. “That’s been hugely valuable from a time efficiency point of view.”
Through its co-innovation partnership with Celonis, BP has also implemented Task Mining, using it to break down specific time-consuming tasks like invoice processing.
“With Celonis we can see for example that invoice processing takes us an average of 27 minutes,” said Claire. “But what I’m really interested in, is what actually goes into that 27 minutes. What were the manual hops out of SAP and into a spreadsheet or website to get the information needed to post that invoice.”
“Task Mining has filled in all of those manual gaps for us. It’s helped to really push a big funnel of innovation and automation into our team.”
To learn more about BP’s Celonis journey, you can catch up with Claire’s full session from Celosphere on demand.