Celonis investing heavily to build out process-mining platform

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Celonis, a Germany-based maker of process-mining tools, has announced several key acquisitions, capabilities, and partnerships involving its core platform. These include the launch of the Celonis Execution Graph, the acquisition of Lenses.io, a maker of streaming data tools, and a partnership with Canada’s Conexiom.

Gartner Research has characterized process mining as a core technology for building out the digital twin of an organization. These capabilities allow executives to peer inside business processes, identify inefficiencies, and design more efficient workflows by testing out a twin that doesn’t interfere with operations. These recent moves will make it easier to use graph data and streaming data to extend executable digital twins of an organization across process and even company boundaries.

Gartner has identified graph data technology as a core component of data fabrics required to build digital twins that tie together data and simulations across different enterprise applications. Celonis CEO Alexander Rilke told VentureBeat he finds it helpful to characterize their approach as an “X-Ray for your business.”

New capabilities coming to process-mining

Process mining has traditionally focused on one process at a time. The adoption of graph technology will make it easier to evaluate trade-offs in optimizing different processes simultaneously. The new Celonis Execution Graph uses graph data structures to tie together data from across business processes to see how they influence each other across systems and suppliers. Noteworthy is a new feature, Multi-Event Log, that spots inefficiencies that cross multiple processes.

IDC VP of Intelligent Process Automation Research, Maureen Fleming told Venture Beat via email, “As organizations successfully use process mining to identify inefficiencies in one process, they often have to investigate upstream processes to find the source of the inefficiency. The effort and time value of visualizing and analyzing the impact of interactions in one process to another through automation rather than manual efforts means the time spent in analysis shrinks and more targeted improvement efforts commence more rapidly.”

Celonis also acquired Lenses.io to simplify real-time data integration into process mining, analytics, and low-code application development. Lenses took a novel approach for transforming raw real-time streaming data into clear business events. For example, this could help combine weather patterns, raw material access, and social trends to identify when shipments might be late. Celonis hopes to combine this capability with the low-code business execution technology from Integromat, which it acquired a year ago.

Fleming said that event stream processing could increase precision and speed problem identification and opportunity detection. This promises to make process mining data more actionable and the results more controllable.

The third major announcement was a partnership with Conexiom, a leader in sales order automation services. The companies plan to collaborate on a touchless order-capture product to make it easier to create business processes that span multiple companies.

Getting a leg up in hyper-automation

Both RPA (robotic process automation) and process mining represent two popular and complementary approaches for automating and reengineering existing business processes in the larger hyper-automation market. RPA platforms help enterprises create bots that mimic the way humans type and click through various business apps. In contrast, process-mining tools analyze enterprise data logs to identify the most promising automation and reengineering opportunities.

RPA and process mining vendors are expanding into each other’s territory to become the gateway for hyper-automation initiatives that accelerate digital transformation. For example, Celonis previously acquired Integromat, which automates low-code development opportunities identified with process mining. Conversely, leading RPA vendors such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism also have moved into process mining and process discovery. Microsoft is also expanding into both RPA and process mining.

These will help Celonis secure a lead against other process-mining vendors and in the larger market for hyper-automation, which Gartner expects to reach $596 billion in 2022. These moves are part of Celonis’s long-term strategy for growing the market for process mining and execution beyond the hot market for RPA.

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