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Celonis & SAP: Revolution or Old Wine in New Bottles?

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Celonis & SAP: Revolution or Old Wine in New Bottles?Celonis & SAP: Revolution or Old Wine in New Bottles?

Celonis and SAP have launched multiple product updates at their conferences, and we recap these launches for you.

Celonis Updates @ Celosphere 2022

Celonis own product launch and marketing conference again was a blast. Celosphere 2022 featured great and inspiring speakers, headed by Oliver Kahn, the former world-class athlete and meanwhile CEO of FC Bayern München and it has developed into the #1 conference about “Process”, globally.

In addition to that, the conference offered also the chance to listen and personally connect to the experts in the field, at least when you made it on-site to the event location in Munich. Why to mention that? The Celosphere was a hybrid event with multiple thousand people visiting the Bavarian capital and another big group of interested experts calling in from all over the world.

After all the covid break there were some smaller hick-ups at the entrance and issues with the live-stream, but the most important information made it to the audience and there are two things that stuck out: Unsurprisingly, the Celonis marketing message has changed, and there has been a launch of new product features. So, let’s dive into it.

The EMS is Dead, Long Live Process Mining

In all the Celonis communication of the last years, the Execution Management System (EMS) was very dominating. This message is gone and Celonis is back to “Process Mining”.

The message that “EMS is dead” circulated as a rumor, already about two weeks before the Conference and there was speculation about the reason.

One reason might be that the Celonis platform strategy was never really taking off and their way of dealing with Partners is still hindering them to scale faster.

Another reason might also be that Process Mining itself, is today done in a very customized way. The one standard for an implementation or the one app that fits all customers is today still more a dream than reality.

Finally, a great company like Celonis is adjusting market messaging to have maximum impact. This means that while the idea of EMS was very innovative and also a great direction, Celonis might not have seen the market traction they would have hoped to see.

So where are we today? We are back to Operational Excellence, to Continuous Improvement and to the original flavor of Process Mining: “Long live Process Mining.”

This basically confirms that Process Mining is still an expert tooling for a smaller group of people and not yet a game changer for “every person”. The messaging is back to addressing mainly the “Process and Transformation Community”. And it’s a repositioning of Celonis closer to Operational Excellence and BPM tools, and at least a small step away from majorly competing in the low-code automation market.

Celonis Product News: Celonis Process Sphere™ and Celonis Business Miner™

There have been two major updates on the Celonis Product Offering. While all the EMS functionalities are still available, two features have been added.

The Celonis Process Sphere™

The Process Sphere is something a lot of experts have been waiting for, because it’s finally an explorer that works with the Celonis MEL (Multi Event Log) functionality and it’s basically the next step towards object-centric process mining. Beyond the video and the nice marketing message, there are opportunities, but also risks that come with this functionality.

- The opportunity to understand your processes even better.

The visualization of your processes will be more correct, using the MEL functionality and the Process Sphere, because every activity is calculated based on its mother document and we are getting one step closer to a real Process Digital Twin. (If you are interested to know more details or discuss about object-centric process mining, reach out to us.)

- The risk to get lost in implementation.

This advanced feature can lead to a higher focus on implementation instead of real process improvement, because we focus more on a perfect process visualization than on real value realization. Mitigating this risk will be crucial for the success of your mining initiative.

The Celonis Business Miner™

Celonis claims that the Business Miner is like “Google for your processes”. This essentially means that the information is coming towards the user and this makes the life for any process analyst way easier. Imagine you can type a question into your Process Mining system, and you are automatically guided to the right analysis and all the relevant information on one page. - Wow.

So, while this is a great marketing story, we need to look a bit deeper and understand how good this functionality is really working? Product launches very often show pre-mature, visionary products that still need to mature. This is definitely a great announcement, while it also will raise expectations and lead customers to challenge Celonis to deliver on this promise.

Actually, it’s easy to claim “being the Google of Process”, but how much effort is going into this functionality and how much return can be expected? Google is a platform with zero implementation effort, while Process Mining is still dependent on a heavy implementation workload.

Furthermore, the announcement includes a taste of process improvement recommendations, which essentially proposes process design modifications. This is also a great step forward, regarding the intelligence of Process Mining systems. Honesty demands to mention that SAP already has a similar kind of functionality in place, at least for their ERP scope.

SAP Build Launch @ TechEd

SAP was not really a first mover in the Automation and Process Mining space. While SAP mainly relied on partnering first, it seems that there are now some major investments happening into “Process” and the offering is all coming together on one unified technical platform: SAP BTP (Business Technology Platform). “SAP Build” was announced at SAP TechEd and is part of the mentioned BTP platform.

SAP Build is unifying the SAP no-code/low-code offering under one roof. While the relevant technical capabilities are sitting in the powerful SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), they are now unified through one UI/UX entry point (= SAP Build) and all users are now able to combine apps, workflows, robots, decisions and more capabilities to achieve the desired automation results.

This is not a big capability update, but rather a move towards a unified user experience for multiple existing capabilities.

Summary

We could be nagging and say that there was only new messaging and new visualizations in the displayed product updates, while there was only a small focus on groundbreaking innovation. In Germany we have a saying “alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen”, which basically means that the old wine was re-bottled and has a nice, new label.

But let’s be fair: Innovation sometimes is in the small steps, making technology applicable for a bigger scope and useable for a wider audience. Increasing integration and usability are key to improve time-to-value and the adoption of technology. And isn’t that exactly the target of no-code/low-code technologies?

And are our business users not interested to drink good old wine out of new design bottle?

Usability, simplicity and speed matter… and win the game.

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