February 10, 2020
Today, Ngoc Anh Ngo, an Academic Alliance Professional at Celonis, gave BfE a workshop on process mining so that we could look at companies through a data driven perspective. Celonis started in Germany when three friends studying together decided to start a company together in 2011 (I wish my extracurriculars were this productive). Process mining required large amounts of information that did not exist in the public domain, so the friends had to ask large corporations. They essentially spammed over a thousand companies with handwritten letters before they landed their first big customer – SIEMENS. Their approach to process mining worked, and they currently experience an annual growth rate of 100 percent. Ngoc first said that Celonis has 800 employees and is valued at £1 billion. She then looked embarrassed and quickly apologized. Celonis actually has 1000 employees and is valued at £2.6 billion. Their growth rate is so fast that their PowerPoints literally cannot keep pace.
The key to their growth? Processes. Anh said that process excellence is the heart of superfluid enterprise. Essentially, businesses need to run smoothly. Traditional ways of improving processes include looking at process documentation, manual investigations, or analyzing data. However, process mining is faster and gets more information. Anh used the metaphor of a plane crash. She asked us to name the first thing you look for in a plane crash. The answer? The black box. I personally would have thought that you would first look for survivors, but apparently not. A black box logs data and process mining begins with data logs. This data is then compared to the process model to see if the actual data conforms to the ideal model. Anh then took us through an interesting and detailed hands-on case study in the software so that we could improve processes in both BfE and the start-ups we work with.