Process miner Celonis pushes out application tools to tighten up how they're used in anger

Better look into how users don't use software the way biz thinks they do

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Celonis has carved a niche by selling companies such as Siemens, 3M, Airbus and Vodafone the software and analytics techniques to "X-ray" their business processes in the hope of iroing out kinks to save time and money.

This week, the company squeezed out a platform upon which Celonis itself, or third parties, can build end-user apps with the aim of making process problems easier to spot and fix.

Process mining works by pulling together data from user interactions with enterprise applications and analysing them in an attempt to reveal the "true" nature of business processes, as opposed to how they were designed or how management thinks they are performed.

Celonis claimed its new Operational Applications platform can help end-users overcome process blockages. Alexander Rinke, co-founder and co-CEO, told The Reg the new system recommends actions to users based on real-time data.

"An individual user looks at a Celonis screen, and looks at the friction and it tells them, 'This is what you need to act on,' and then they can take action directly from the Celonis software."

For example, in shipping, Celonis uses process data to predict which deliveries are going to be late, tells the user and suggests actions, Rinke said.

Celonis emitted Operational Applications during its Celosphere online conference this week, saying it hides the analytics in the background so business or operations staff can use the tools without data science knowledge. It can be integrated with Salesforce, ServiceNow or SAP so that the user can click a button in the Celonis application and the action will be executed in SAP, for example. The apps also come with out-of-the-box integration to Oracle, IFS and Infor applications.

The product provides apps in Accounts Payable and Materials Management in Supply Chain Operational Applications, built by Celonis, but the firm is also opening up the platform to third parties, user organisations and consultants to build their own apps.

Next step automation

Process mining has attracted growing attention in the last few years as a way of informing the business process re-engineering necessary for application upgrades and laying the groundwork for robotic process automation.

Rinke claimed that L'Oreal had improved its order-to-cash efficiency threefold, while Uber saved $20m by reducing inefficiency from its customer service processes in projects involving process mining.

Celonis raised approximately $290m in a funding round in November last year, when it was valued at $2.5bn.

Analyst Phil Fersht, CEO and founder of HFS Research, said Celonis's move into operational applications was a "compelling process orchestration proposition in a challenging market crying out for this capability."

Process mining is an area that will get more attention as organisations' application estates grow, especially with the seemingly ad hoc addition of SaaS systems. It might be a way of getting a grip on that process complexity and could add efficiency through technologies such as robotic process automation. But it does not take the grunt work out of enterprise application projects altogether. Companies still need to get a grip on their data to benefit the P&L, no matter how fancy their tools are. ®

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