“With process mining, we are helping to reduce CO2 emissions”

Founded by three students, Celonis has grown from a start-up to one of the fastest growing software companies in Europe. They develop process mining software that can be widely used – also in the sustainable economy. Our author spoke with the head of the company’s Academic Alliance Team, Angela Gerber.

Celonis specialises in process mining technology. What is your role in the ongoing digitalisation of our society and business world?

Angela Gebert of Celonis.

Angela Gebert: Celonis is the market leader for process mining technology. Celonis works like an X-ray machine for companies. Our software uses data generated in IT systems to reconstruct and improve business processes. This can be any process, from logistics to supply chain to marketing. Most business interactions today leave digital footprints, from grocery shopping to paying bills to checking in for a flight at the airport. These digital footprints are the input we can use for modern process analytics. Celonis is one of the best examples of how new technologies develop and establish themselves out of an increasingly digitalised world. Against this background, the ongoing acceleration of digitalisation in all companies and industries is helping to further establish process mining and highlight the benefits of the technology.

Many companies nowadays deal with process management and process optimisation/automation, but Celonis’ focus is on process mining. What is the difference and how can companies benefit from process mining?

Process mining is by far the most advanced technology in business process management. Many techniques used in business process management are in some ways still medieval – from shadowing to interviews to mystery shopping. Here, process mining offers a data-driven approach to business process management and closes the gap between model-based process analysis and data science. It is a data-driven approach to business process management.

Many researchers in the field of business process management are now engaged in process mining. I even remember quite lively conversations at various business process management conferences about whether process mining will eventually even replace traditional business process management – no one questions that any more. Process mining goes hand in hand with other tools and technologies of the digital age, such as process automation. Process mining creates the necessary data basis for this.

Can you give us concrete examples where process mining was used and what advantages were achieved?

Process mining is a versatile technology that can be used in many different processes. One of my favourite examples is that process mining can even help aircraft take off and land on time. Lufthansa, for example, uses process mining for all its ground processes, including boarding and check-in. This is done in an attempt to minimise the time the aircraft spends on the ground. There are many more great examples, such as complaint management at Uber, procurement at Telekom or order management at Pfizer.

With climate change and the increasing need for a more sustainable and circular economy, we are facing some big global challenges today. How is Celonis addressing these issues and how can other companies use Celonis’ technologies to become more sustainable? Do you have any examples?

As I said, process mining is very versatile and there are numerous use cases. As you can well imagine, processes can be a main driver of CO2 emissions, for example if you think of logistics or order management processes. By looking at KPIs like order bundling rates or return rates, Celonis can help you analyse and reduce your carbon footprint per process. It is very exciting to see how you can combine CO2 emission data with internal company data to investigate important goals such as the sustainability of a process.

Celonis has been a partner of our Institute for Digital Technology Management since December 2022. What do you see as the advantages of a collaboration between industry and universities and what are your expectations?

Academic partners are an important part of our ecosystem. Process mining originally comes from an academic context, and we want to foster close connections with thought leaders and innovators in this field. Our goal is to bring together thought leaders and industry leaders for applied process mining education and research. Joint education is an essential part of the partnership with BFH. There is an increasing demand for trained talent in the process mining labour market. Therefore, classroom training, as we do through selective additions to the modules at BFH, is an important part of training tomorrow’s workforce. In our university and industry collaborations, we also always act as an intermediary between students and future employers such as Pfizer, Nokia or IBM. But joint research projects and workshops for IDTM staff are also planned – there will certainly be more to report soon.

We always try to stay on top of the trends that influence the future of our digital journey as a society and for us as individuals. What do you think is something we should pay attention to? How can we – as an educational and research institution – contribute to digital progress?

Sometimes there is a big gap between what is taught in the classroom and the skills needed in the labour market. Our Academic Alliance programme offers a way to bridge this gap and connect minds, institutions and markets. I think it is important for industry and academia to work together more to bring current trends into the classroom. Especially in the fields of technology and business, it is important to make education application-oriented and train students to combine critical thinking with practical skills. After all, these skills are in great demand on the job market – I see the BFH on a very good path in this regard.

About the person

Angela Gebert leads the Celonis Academic Alliance team for EMEA & APAC. She trains the process miners of tomorrow and connects them with future employers.

About Celonis

Celonis is a German software company based in Munich. The three founders met in 2011 through a student project at Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). Today, the former start-up is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe and currently the only Decacorn in Germany. Process mining has evolved greatly since then. Celonis’ software has transformed from a pure analysis tool to the operational backbone for many companies, with a focus on process improvement including prediction and automation.

Celonis recently became a partner of the Institute of Digital Technology Management at BFH Wirtschaft.

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AUTHOR: Stefan Raff

Stefan Raff is an assistant professor at the Institute for Digital Technology Management. Previously, he was an assistant professor at RWTH Aachen University, where he also received his doctorate. His current research interests include innovation management, services marketing and consumer behaviour in digital environments.

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