The Value Proposition

Automation-first doesn’t work, but value-first does, explains Dr Marcell Vollmer

One question comes up fairly often, when executives discuss their business transformation: “What is the key to success for a digital transformation strategy?” When I discussed this with senior leaders to start with, defining a vision on why a transformation is a great starting point, it’s mandatory to have a clear perspective on why a transformation is needed. It might vary from optimising costs to driving new innovations. People need to understand why a company is starting with a change. The core elements are a trilogy of processes, structure and technology.

A customer, user centric process is the key to success. Companies like Google, Amazon or Uber are great examples on having processes defined to make it easy for a user to engage. The organisational structure needs to be aligned to the processes defined to serve the needs of the customers and have a close alignment between the business units. Finally the right systems have to be in place for a frictionless experience to generate business value.

“Process improvements — or better yet, process excellence — is at the heart of achieving value-driven business outcomes. Smooth, efficient processes, underpin every experience a business delivers”

How to drive a digital transformation successfully?

When it comes to delivering business value — from on-time delivery of goods or availability of services to revenue growth or the elusive customer experience — a holistic approach for a transformation has shown best results.

Process improvements — or better yet, process excellence — is at the heart of achieving value-driven business outcomes. Smooth, efficient processes, whether manual, automated, or both, underpin every experience a business delivers.

To reach process excellence, you need to focus on the outcomes first. Then put the right structure in place and invest wisely in the tools that will help you identify, remediate and remove the pain points obstructing the smooth running of your enterprise.

How can Process Mining deliver value?

Process Mining leverages both system-based business data from all available systems (mainly Enterprise Resource Planning – ERP – systems) with time-stamped event logs and user interaction data to deliver a real picture of what processes actually look like. We’re talking every step in any given process combining business data and user data, all the actions people are taking in between those steps to make that process happen, including all tasks performed (task mining).

That living, breathing, moving snapshot enables enterprises to discover any kind of frictions in the processes and enables user (or systems generated, automated actions) to remove it. This is the process of discovering process frictions and enables to enhance existing processes. It doesn’t stop with a one time effort, continuous monitoring and enhancing your business outcomes generates lasting value.

What is the technology behind process mining?

The innovation leveraged starts with real-time process visibility (process mining) for all transactions. Celonis has created a market for Process Mining technology, but doesn’t stop at the level of visibility. The systematic process automation of non-automated process steps, the multi-event log capabilities combined with the task mining data are the foundation for outcome based business processes. New technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, including Machine Learning and Deep Learning are used to enhance consistently the business process outcomes according to its fast-learning capabilities. RPA – robotics process automation – is not explicitly mentioned as it is 
one part of the overall process automation. RPA is undeniably a part of increasing process efficiency and effectiveness, streamlining user interaction tasks in the right places, but it’s only one of the many tools at your disposal to achieve process excellence. The root cause using RPA is fairly often a not integrated, not streamlined or even broken process. To bridge the gap, RPA is a great tool, but not the solution for a sustainable digital transformation with frictionless processes.

Dr Marcell Vollmer
Chief Innovation Officer at

In his role as Chief Innovation Officer, Dr Marcell Vollmer focuses on supporting customers and partners to define and execute digital transformation strategies globally.