Celonis aims to deepen and democratize process mining

Celonis unveiled Process Sphere, enabling companies to create maps across functional areas, and Business Miner, which moves process analysis from data analysts to business users.

Celonis launched two new applications, Process Sphere and Business Miner, aimed at growing and democratizing the use of process mining in organizations.

Process Sphere is an expanded version of Celonis' process mining software that enables organizations to create more complete maps of business processes. Business Miner is an application aimed at business users to help them find and fix broken processes.

Product Sphere and Business Miner are components of the Celonis Execution Management System, a platform built on a process mining engine that analyzes business processes to discover inefficiencies and breakpoints, and provides AI-based automated actions to the process mining analysis.

Both applications were introduced at the recent Celosphere 2022, a conference for Celonis customers and partners in Munich. Process Sphere is now available in beta for select customers, and Business Miner is now in limited availability, with pricing to be determined for both when the products become generally available.

Process Sphere and Business Miner capabilities could drive more adoption of process mining in organizations, according to analysts.

Mapping business processes

Process mining software enables organizations to analyze how business processes work; how often they're used and who is using them; and where business processes are inefficient, broken or duplicated.

The idea behind the new Process Sphere stems from a goal to reinvent the foundation of Celonis process mining, said Alexander Rinke, Celonis co-CEO.

This image shows the Celonis Process Sphere.
Celonis Process Sphere enables users to create dynamic, interactive maps of cross-departmental business processes.

Celonis describes process mining as an X-ray of a business process, while Process Sphere is like an MRI that can create interactive maps of processes that highlight interdependent process flows and dependencies, according to Rinke.

"One of the key limitations of process mining today is that it's built for individual business processes, like for the flow of an order or invoice," Rinke said. "You look at the processes one problem at a time, but processes don't work in isolation -- they interact with each other."

Process Sphere is designed for process data analysts who are best equipped to interpret the maps. Business Miner is aimed at making process mining more accessible to business users, according to Rinke.

"Business Miner is about taking this power, putting it under the hood and unleashing it to everyone in the company," he said.

Process mining depends on three elements: connecting the process data to data engineers, analyzing the data to understand the processes, and bringing that analysis to the business process owner who can adjust or improve the process.

"We want to make sure that more people can do this, so we introduced the Business Miner to do all of those functions without any technical knowledge," Rinke said.

Business Miner uses a question-and-answer-based UI that guides users through the process mining functions. Once some insights have been identified, users can work together in a collaborative workspace to resolve issues.

Getting process mining out of silos

The consumer goods giant Mars intends to use Process Sphere and Business Miner to accelerate the value it can get from process improvements, said Adeel Fudda, vice president of intelligence, automation and emerging technologies at Mars, during a conference session.

Mars is a widespread organization, with several business units such as pet food and veterinary services in addition to its familiar candy division.

Business Miner is like a self-driving car -- you don't have to train people how to drive a car or navigate highways. You can get in the car and it takes you exactly where you need to be, to take the actions that you need to do.
Adeel FuddaVice president of intelligence, automation and emerging technologies, Mars

A Celonis user since 2016, Mars has been able to identify value that was hidden in processes and add it back into profit and loss statements, Fudda said. It has also been able to optimize supply chain processes to help lower greenhouse gas emissions to meet sustainability goals.

Process Sphere and Business Miner will enable Mars to accelerate and expand the improvements that have been made in processes to span functional areas, he said.

"Most organizations have optimized their function, but they haven't unlocked the big value that's trapped in between the functions, which is the end-to-end process," Fudda said.

Process Sphere connects the processes that span various siloed functions in a way that allows the company to understand the entire end-to-end process journey, he said. Once the pain points have been identified and it's better understood where value is trapped, Business Miner will make it easier to bring these insights to the process owners to make improvements.

"Business Miner is like a self-driving car -- you don't have to train people how to drive a car or navigate highways," Fudda said. "You can get in the car and it takes you exactly where you need to be, to take the actions that you need to do."

Process mining market growing

The market for process mining software has been growing in the past few years, but is still limited, according to analysts. The new Celonis applications could drive more process mining adoption, they said, particularly as organizations are dealing with process issues such as supply chain disruptions or digital transformation initiatives that require in-depth knowledge of processes to be successful.

The complexity of process mining platforms such as the one from Celonis was holding back some adoption, while at the same time, the application of the technology was limited to looking at data within organizational silos, according to Reetika Fleming, research leader at HFS Research.

Organizations now need more cross-organizational process mining and collaboration functionality, and Process Sphere "hits that on the head," she said.

"This is a way to think broader and bigger, and the visualization piece [interactive, interconnected process maps] is the most compelling part," Fleming said.

While Process Sphere is best suited for process analysts and data engineers, Fleming said Business Miner is likely to appeal to business users and could help the vendor gain a new foothold. The curated question-and-answer-based UI provides starting points for users to understand possible issues with processes and bring up data they might not have been able to see previously.

This image shows the Celonis Business Miner application.
Business Miner is aimed at business users to find and fix broken processes.

"The Business Miner UI helps nontechnical business users feel more comfortable in getting value out of the process insights," she said. "The process owners can look at the insights and think about what they can do next."

Maureen Fleming, vice president of intelligent process automation at IDC, echoed Reetika Fleming's points and added that both new applications should help Celonis maintain a leading place in process mining, particularly as more vendors move into the market.

"The engineering of the underlying data infrastructure gives them a significant advantage moving into 2023," Maureen Fleming said.

However, process mining is still an emerging technology, and while several enterprises have benefited from adopting the technology, it isn't broadly understood, she said. This is a challenge that Celonis and all vendors across the market face.

Process mining is still in the early days of adoption, Reetika Fleming agreed. While Celonis is pushing the functional boundaries with Process Sphere and Business Miner, many enterprises are just getting started with it.

"One retail bank customer told me they were [at Celosphere] to learn from the pioneers, but hadn't started to do anything yet," she said. "But there's a little bit of everything from Celonis for wherever you are in the journey."

Jim O'Donnell is a TechTarget senior news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for TechTarget Editorial.

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