Celonis helped Deutsche Telekom Services Europe save over €66M by gaining full transparency into their Procure-to-Pay process to tackle duplicate payments and cash discount losses.
Success isn’t a goal or destination. It’s a journey.
For Deutsche Telekom Services Europe (DTSE), a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, success means providing innovative, high-quality, end-to-end shared services across the company.
The Shared Services Center combines the Finance, Reporting, Procurement and HR functions to deliver a highly digitized Procure-to Pay process for the entire Deutsche Telekom group. They handle everything from negotiations over requests and order management, to invoicing and payment, so that other departments can focus on their core business.
The structure is quite innovative, says Peter Tasev, Senior VP of Procure-to-Pay at DTSE. “Having Procurement and Accounts Payable under one roof is not very common, or at least not as common as it should be.”
Digitalizing the end-to-end value chain — from purchase requisition in Procurement to checking payment status in AP — is a mammoth task that requires not only the right mindset but the right technology, too. “We wanted everybody to work with the same standardized structures, processes, and data,” says Tasev.
DTSE’s Procure-to-Pay process handles over 2M order items — with an order volume of more than €7B — and processes almost 9M invoices a year. It needs to run like a well-oiled machine. The slightest hiccup in their value chain could mean millions of dollars in losses.
One of the main challenges Peter Tasev and his team faced was to leverage the vast amount of data generated every day in the Shared Services Center to identify and tackle operational friction. Though they had successfully digitalized all of their core processes and were aware of some pain points, DTSE struggled to zero in on the root causes of these inefficiencies and, by extension, act on them.
Duplicate payments to vendors led to high cash losses.
Blocked payments prevented them from maximizing cash discounts.
Suboptimal delivery date accuracy caused harsh penalties.
Employees were wasting time on low-value transactional tasks.
Discussions, and ultimately business decisions, were based on subjective experiences, not numbers.
That’s why DTSE turned to Process Mining.
By connecting data from more than 10 source systems — such as SAP Ariba and Salesforce — DTSE gained unprecedented visibility into their process flows. “I was astonished when I saw what Celonis could do for the very first time. There is simply nothing comparable on the market,” says Tasev.
Armed with an always up-to-date knowledge of how their processes actually run, DTSE could now not only define new KPIs, but also develop an early warning system for the KPIs going off-track.
“Celonis is a game changer,” adds Christian Unterbusch, VP of Operational and Strategic Steering for Procure-to-Pay at DTSE. “By using Process Mining, we established a fully data-driven organization within the Procure-to-Pay area.” This was a goal that the Shared Services Center had been pursuing for almost a decade.
Maximizing cash discounts: Real-time reports with open blocked invoices helped DTSE achieve a cash discount rate of 96% and led to additional savings of a staggering €40M per year.
Paying on time: The Celonis Action Engine automatically prioritizes invoices to drive on-time payments. With the help of real-time alerts and automated process steps, DTSE reached an on-time payment rate of over 90%.
Increasing automation: DTSE increased the no-touch rate within Order Management significantly, which freed up capacity for tactical sourcing and resulted in tactical savings of € 12M. More efficient processes mean DTSE’s Purchase Orders are now right the first time, over 90% of the time.
Avoiding duplicate payments: DTSE also established a real-time analysis for duplicate payments. By leveraging the Celonis Action Engine to compare all outgoing payments and flag duplicate payments to employees, DTSE has saved €3M — and blocked any future duplicate payments too.
Enforcing contractual penalties: DTSE also systematically analyzes contracts for contractual penalty options. As a result, they received approximately €1.6M in penalties in 2019 alone.
“Our internal customers at Deutsche Telekom benefit tremendously from using Celonis,” summarizes Unterbusch, naming Order Management as an example. “Employees who were doing low-value transactional tasks in the past, now have the time to select suppliers or negotiate better payment terms. This helps our teams achieve millions in savings throughout the year.”
“In 2019, we were able to save over € 10M using Celonis within the Procurement area.” Christian Unterbusch, VP of Operational and Strategic Steering for Procure-to-Pay at Deutsche Telekom AG
To this end, DTSE set up a Center of Excellence for Process Mining. Serving as an interface between IT, data scientists, data analysts, and business analysts as well as executives, the team covers all areas within the Process Mining cycle from data collection to analytics, process enhancement and end-to-end KPI monitoring.
“What sets Celonis apart from other tools is that all employees have the same view on the data. Everyone has the same truth,” says Michael Gudel, Project Manager for Celonis, DTSE and Deutsche Telekom Group. By delivering an objective view of process flows and friction points, Process Mining allows teams across the company to get behind a single goal.
No more subjective opinions, no more guesswork.
“We have people from ICS*, Audit, Finance, Controlling, and Technology coming together to discuss end-to-end process improvements using the Celonis technology,” says Peter Tasev.
Nowadays 1,500 employees use Celonis for 150 use cases across the entire Deutsche Telekom Group. “Everyone is using Celonis — from Accounts Payable to Accounts Receivable, Procurement, HR, Customer Service, and Audit Compliance”, says Gudel.
But if success is a journey, then DTSE’s mission to achieve Process Excellence has only just begun.
DTSE is planning to implement Celonis in a number of other areas by 2021, including Supply Chain Management and their customer journey. Backed up by Celonis’ findings, DTSE also wants to offer their internal customers prescriptive analytics. “We want to bring process intelligence to the next level and implement AI into our processes,” says Michaela Drost, Co-Lead for DTSE’s AI Incubator Program.
With the help of Celonis’ Process Mining, her team can discover the most promising use cases for AI, select the right technology and monitor its impact on the business.
“The vision I have for my business area is that in five years’ time, nobody will need to touch our transactional system, unless the AI requests or suggests it”, says Peter Tasev.
A vision that proves once more that innovation is at the core of Deutsche Telekom — and that while success is an ongoing journey, DTSE are already well on their way.
*Deutsche Telekom AG’s Internal Control System