For a company to be successful today, all departments have to run efficiently. This not only includes obvious sectors, such as production and logistics, but also the administration of an organization. That’s why Austrian company Wien Energie GmbH – a fully-owned subsidiary of Wiener Stadtwerke GmbH – used Celonis Process Mining to analyze and optimize their Purchase-to-Pay, Meter-to-Cash, and Plant Maintenance processes. In this endeavor, Wien Energie was supported by WienIT GmbH – another subsidiary of Stadtwerke and the IT service provider for the entire group of companies – and their partner, consulting company BDO Consulting GmbH. Their process implementation of the Purchase-to-Pay process won the Austrian Supply Excellence & Einkauf 4.0 award in the innovation category, and the entire project was awarded the “Best Practice BI & Analytics Award Österreich 2019.” The project was also nominated for the “Austrian eAward 2020” in the category “Workplace and Organization”. A follow-up project for the migration to SAP S/4HANA is also already underway.
Wien Energie, which has approximately 2,200 employees and saw a revenue of around €1,677M in 2019. They supply power to two million people, 230,000 commercial and industrial facilities, and 4,500 agricultural companies in the greater Vienna area, ranking among the 30 companies with the highest revenues in Austria. As a part of their digital transformation, the company wanted to optimize the Purchase-to-Pay process and decided to start a pilot project with Celonis. Using Celonis’ Process Mining technology, Wien Energie aimed to define qualitative and transparent KPIs and speed up analyses and reports to gain better insight into their P2P process.
In 2016, a central procurement office was established under the umbrella of Wien Energie, which merged the previously separate systems of Fernwärme Wien and Wien Energie. Both companies had very different working approaches which were also reflected in the Purchase-to-Pay process.
“The process was still in the early stages due to the merger of the companies, and had a large procurement volume since the introduction of central purchasing. That’s why we wanted to determine both the maturity level of the process and potential optimization measures,” says Paul Strunz, Head of Procurement Analytics & Development at Wien Energie GmbH. “Since this process bundles together all procurement in the company, which involves a large number of different areas and departments, we wanted to analyze the actual ‘as is’ process.” However, discussions on process optimization potentials were often fueled by participants who had very subjective instincts but lacked the comprehensive facts to back it up.
“Using Process Mining, we were able to identify the pain points in the process and locate their root causes. For each use case, we first developed an improvement proposal, which was then implemented by one — or if it concerned different departments — several responsible employees on the basis of a concrete action plan and schedule,” says Strunz. “One of the
decisive factors here was definitely the user-friendliness of Celonis,” says Strunz. “Each employee was very quickly able to work with the technology in their department and immediately recognized its advantages.”
The pilot project was realized together with partner BDO between January and July 2019. BDO was involved in all phases of the project, starting from setting up the infrastructure, to developing data models and the process analysis. A key factor in the project’s success was defining a Process Mining system of governance and an authorization concept with clear roles and competencies. Furthermore, BDO also provided support for Wien Energie in terms of personnel, for example, with data engineers.
The merger of Fernwärme Wien and Wien Energie forced them to not only merge different SAP systems with one another but also introduce new ones. Wien Energie introduced SAP SRM as a new system for requesting and approving requirements, while invoicing processes were based on a system from WMD. Leveraging the Process Mining data model from Celonis, Wien Energie was able to logically amalgamate the data of their various systems. During the implementation phase, it became clear how important it was to properly engage the right set of employees in order to derive the greatest possible benefit from Process Mining. The company identified three key employee groups:
● Data engineers and data analysts
● Process experts in the specialist departments
● IT experts for the source systems
These three groups have different tasks: data engineers set up the necessary evaluations so that process owners can draw conclusions from the insights provided by Celonis and develop or extend analyses and dashboards independently. The IT experts, on the other hand, are primarily responsible for the correct implementation of Process Mining and have the expertise needed for customer-specific IT adaptations in the source systems.
“Celonis Process Mining technology provides companies like us with a decisive advantage,” says Strunz. “This includes process analysis with enormous depth and detail. With just a few clicks, I am able to get a visual overview of the entire process and can then focus on individual documents. Based on the analysis, we are able to define quantitative and qualitative KPIs and to continuously monitor and improve them.” Celonis uses AI technology and intelligent algorithms to provide companies with intelligent support for the evaluation of analyses: The technology identifies bottlenecks and enables a fully automated root cause analysis to identify and eliminate process inefficiencies such as rework and manual activities. Celonis not only enables process analysis in real time but also future-oriented forecasts and intelligent recommendations on next-best-actions. The resulting transparency provides the ideal basis for qualified, data-based decisions. At the same time, all participants and departments get an overview of the entire process. Inefficiencies can be identified in real time and immediately and automatically corrected. In a first step, Wien Energie was able to identify areas of potential improvement in the following KPIs:
● Lead times in the procurement and approval process
● Speed of invoice receipt and payment process
● On-time delivery rate: reasons for the time loss
● Rate of price change
With the help of Celonis, Wien Energie was able to create awareness for the need to tackle maverick buying throughout the entire organization and to drive urgency with the top management to standardize and centralize the procurement process. The monitoring of maverick buying and the active measures to reduce it have become an integral part of management reporting.
With Celonis’ benchmarking capabilities, Wien Energie can now compare suppliers with similar products and services to set a standard for supplier development. In this way, Celonis builds a solid foundation for both qualitative and quantitative supplier management.
Wien Energie also achieved impressive results in their Meter-to-Cash process. This process comprises all steps from the meter reading order for house connections to reading the meter to incoming or outgoing payments at Wien Energie. The huge advantage of Celonis is the ability to break down the delivery time for all sub-processes, which helps Wien Energy see at a glance which steps in the process takes the most time. With Celonis, they can now drill down to the root causes of time loss in order to ensure shorter invoicing cycles.
Another component of the project was the entire plant maintenance area (servicing and maintenance). “Wien Energie has a large asset portfolio that encompasses all forms of energy technology (thermal power plants, waste incineration plants, hydropower, wind power, photovoltaics, geothermal energy). Accordingly, the maintenance and servicing of these assets is complex and diverse,” says Strunz. The difficulty here is the different technologies that have to be maintained, as this requires a great deal of coordination and planning. Celonis helped to map the planning and maintenance process holistically in order to identify the greatest deviations in the maintenance process and to increase planning accuracy and transparency.
Given the success of their Process Mining journey, Wien Energy will continue to leverage Celonis for future optimization efforts — notably for their planned migration to SAP S/4HANA. “Celonis Process Mining can provide support for all phases of an SAP S/4HANA
migration – in the preparation phase, during the rollout, and during the continuous improvement in the daily operations,” says Michael Huemer, Head of the Business Analytics & Operational Excellence Competence Center at BDO. “Celonis’ technology enables us to identify bottlenecks early on, to optimize the use of internal and external resources, and to mitigate risk. Process Mining helps us identify and realize business value.”
Wien Energie wants to make the most of these opportunities. They are planning to use the Action Engine to proactively improve processes in real time. The AI-powered process assistant will help the company automatically fix process issues like process delays, incorrect entries by users, and internal control system (ICS) issues.