The pace with which utilities need to change existing business processes and add new processes, e.g. to expand their services and connect with third-party market participants, keeps accelerating. The result is a greater number of processes and actors involved in their operational execution that need to be coordinated and orchestrated. As utilities turn their assets and infrastructure into platforms for energy solutions, undesirable operational (and ultimately financial) performance gaps induced by complexities become a consequence.
Processes are sequences of actions performed on digital or physical objects to achieve a defined outcome, and execution gaps are the symptoms of processes’ constraints impacting outcomes. These gaps are hidden in the hundreds and thousands of behavioral actions that each person and system performs on a daily basis. They can take the form of errors, inefficiencies, and delays – such as rework, non-value work, incorrect work sequences – as well as the improper allocation of human, material, or technical resources to the actions that need to be performed. Together, these gaps hold-back a utility’s ability to execute efficiently, resulting in lost revenue, missed opportunities, and higher costs.
The key to achieving sustained change and execution capacity is to measure how processes are performed, to know the right course of action to close gaps, and to act in a number of ways, both by automating real-time action and deploying the right people to remove gaps. This requires reconciling and visualizing processes across IT systems and understanding their dependencies with others, matrixed departmental structures, and third-party process participants. The variability of people’s work performance and the quality of automated process logic adds to the complexity.
At Celonis we have partnered with utility companies to prove that software-enabled business process mining, visualization, and measurement is a must-have capability to succeed in today’s energy markets. Utilities such as German E.ON, a large American utility holding company, Argentinian Edenor, French ENGIE, and Portuguese EDP, among others, turned to Celonis to intelligently mobilize change. These organizations empower everyone with a factual view of as-is process performances, including all execution gaps and how those variations ultimately impact business KPIs. Being able to view processes across systems, departments, and people not only drives fact-based diagnostic reviews but also turns process management and optimization into a daily data-driven execution management practice.
“Our team of Celonis business users have gone from ‘it’s impossible’
to ‘how is this possible?’ And the transition was fast.”
Head of IT Transformation, Process Intelligence and Automation,
Celonis Solution Approach: Execution Management
In a recent blog post, business professor and management expert Tom Davenport describes execution management as a new enterprise practice that combines principles of Lean and Six Sigma, Business Process Management, data analytics, process mining, and enterprise systems into a new phased approach:
- Reach into IT systems and applications and mine process from event data;
- Measure variations and know how each process is performing;
- Identify processes that are not performing at the desired level;
- Identify execution gaps that cause bottlenecks in processes;
- Simplify the process by taking actions necessary to close execution gaps;
- Automate actions: send alerts, assign/automate tasks, integrate IT systems;
- Deliver results in terms of key performance metrics.
Execution management is process and system agnostic, and so must the software that enables this emerging practice. Our enterprise-grade Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) provides the full spectrum of capabilities to reach into cloud and on-premise systems (e.g. SAP IS-U) and mainframes (standard and homegrown); mine end-to-end processes; measure, analyze, and understand them using intuitive persona-based user interfaces; and act quickly through simplification, signaling, and automation to sustain change on an execution basis.
Execution Management for Utilities
Working with utilities of various sizes and across the globe proves that every utility can benefit from execution management in one way or another (see Table 2).
A large American utility holding company is aggressively deploying Celonis across their operating company portfolio to improve customer satisfaction by creating visibility into customer onboarding and meter-to-cash operations which helps them better prioritize resources, achieve milestones, and deliver promised dates. The customer was able to simplify their procurement, maintenance, and field service operations increasing productivity and reducing cycle time and cost. They use Celonis to simplify interfaces for AR cash collections and AP teams by tracking invoices and payments, and removing blockers that impact cash flow and the balance sheet. The customer layered Celonis on top of their heterogeneous IT landscape made up of standard ERP and asset management systems as well as homegrown and mainframe applications.
EDP deploys Celonis to improve their customer experience. Within months, EDP was able to change their view on data and how they correlate data with outcomes to draw conclusions, turning into a truly data-driven utility. Celonis has become an integral tool for their customer care and management teams who use it not only for their day-to-day operational management but also for problem solving and monitoring of improvements, enabling better decision making.
This is our vision of execution management and how utilities can benefit from it. Over a series of blogs, we will dive deeper into use cases and how process-mining enabled solutions deliver faster and better results than existing process improvement approaches, specifically traditional analytics and business intelligence solutions.