Václav Šlapka has been with Škoda Auto ever since 2015. He was a Purchasing Specialist and currently he is spearheading the Process Mining initiative with innovative adoption approach - gamification.
Gamification of Process Mining Adoption in Škoda Auto with Václav Šlapka and Martin Kobosil
Our special guest
Our special guest
Martin Kobosil has experience in projects such as Digitization of IT Processes for Automotive and Data Mining & Project Management for Purchasing.
Data Analysis Coordinator
Senior Project Manager
Put your seatbelts on, because every process mining initiative is a bumpy ride! In Škoda Auto, largest Czech car manufacturer, Václav Šlapka and Martin Kobosil came up with a solution. They gamified the process mining initiative to scale their adoption. Listen to their story and success they've had with this unusual approach!
Minding Your Business podcast is back with another episode about process mining, data science and advanced business analytics. Now, Jakub, why might you be looking forward to this episode?
Well, one of the things is that it's a Czech company, and guess where I'm from?
Oh, I could hardly tell. So Václav Šlapka and Martin Kobosil join us on the podcast to talk about adoption and gamification of process mining at Škoda. Let's get into it.
Dobré ráno. I'm not sure whether you've ever notice based on my English pronunciation, but I'm not English. I'm actually from Czech Republic. Such are today's guests Václav Šlapka and Martin Kobosil from Škoda Auto, the largest Czech car manufacturer. Let me tell you right away that working on a Czech customer was very strange for me. Imagine that all of your business vocabulary is one language, in my case, English. And then you were asked to do a presentation in a language where you have no idea how things are called. How would you translate like process mining or invoices or conformance checking or even a happy path in Czech? It's just ridiculous. And I mean, I don't think I've ever been as nervous as I was with the Škoda Project when it came to actual workshop in my native language. And maybe a question for you, Patrick. Do you ever have these problems with English and German in terms of the business and technical talks? Do you feel like you are more confident in one than the other?
Oh, yeah, it's horrific. I will start a sentence in German and end it in English.
Oh, wow. Yeah. For me, it's like if you were reading these children's books where you start the sentence in one language and then you have like a picture of something and you say that in the other language, like, this is how I feel when talking about process mining in Czech anyhow, unlike with our other episodes and guests, when we had a duo, we have decided for this episode, even though we have two guests, to have them one by one, and therefore we will first hear from the project owner and the data analytics coordinator Václav Šlapka, and then from the project manager of the project, Martin Kobosil. So, Václav, welcome to the Mining Your Business podcast, we are excited to have you here.
I thank you very much for the invitation. I'm really excited actually, as well to participate in such a podcast. Actually, I'm a really big fan. I'm really a big fan of Jakubs one of the Czechs podcasts. And also first experience for me, thanks for the invitation. I hope I will not screw it up.
I'm sure you won't Václav, because knowing you from the project you always steer the discussion very well. And that's one of the reasons why we are so excited to have you here is that we just really want you to go all full process mining for us today. That said, could you maybe tell us a bit more about what was your exact role in the project and how did you get in touch with process finding the first time?
You know, it's quite a long history. During the project, before or at the point where we started talking at Škoda, I was in a completely different position than I am in right now. You could say basically the department I'm leading right now was created thanks to the process mining technology and using Celonis in Škoda general procurement because when we started to talk about the process mining, I was an assistant of a head of general procurement. That time it was a position for everything. I've taken over this competence with me to the new department. Thanks to the Innovation Department in Škoda, we were introduced to Celonis and process mining because this worked quite well in Škoda innovation management department. Innovation is driving Škoda. So yeah, they told us, here is something cool which could help you because you are really based on the processes. Yeah, that's how we started. We contacted Celonis, we did a few workshops in Škoda, then there was quite a long time for approval process. The listeners who are from big corporations, I'm pretty sure that they are aware of that. Everything needs to be approved from a lot of people. So once we did, it was just the start of Corona and everyone was sitting on the cash that time. So it was quite hard to get approval. Such a fancy thing from the point of the approvers.
So having this experience, Václav, is there something that you would maybe give as a recommendation to maybe people who are in these roles in other organizations that would love to jump on the train, get the process mining going, but this this pushback from approval processes and just from general slowness of the organization, they just can't get it done. Is there something that you would maybe give them as a recommendation being in this position yourself?
When you summarize, it took us maybe one year of the approval process, some part of Škoda and most part on the group level. The recommendation from my point of view is just to hold on, just because it's really worth it. You know, for me personally, when I was seeing all the processes, all the approval process that everyone needs to put thumbs up for it, then it was motivation for me because that's the potential for process mining then. You could analyze that too and find out what's so slow and make it faster. So that was also the motivation for me to go further and hold on.
So in your opinion, what was the main thing holding it back for that whole year? What was the thing where it was stuck?
How do you mean it? What was the thing?
Well, if you say you needed approval for a year. What was the predicament of getting this going?
You know, at that time we didn't have any kind of onboarding of Celonis in our group so that was the major issue. There were always needs to be agreement or a partnership done between such a company. So at that time we didn't have anything like that and to be really honest, the price was not also helping, but that wasn't the biggest issue. I can imagine that now it would be even harder. The days after the pandemic and such issues on the market which is not really predictable or not even or maybe less predictable than it was in 2019. So it was really tough. But I would say right now it would be even tougher.
Maybe a next question would be, so you knew that you wanted to analyse processes, you knew you wanted to do the process mining approach and take the technology that provides you with this. How did you choose about the process you would start with? Because interestingly, I'm just working with an organization where they chose, I would say, very difficult process to start with and they are having a lot of troubles there. I know that you actually started the procurement. Was there someone telling you you're going to start with something easy or was there some actual preference to start with procurement because you knew that this is the pain point for you?
That's a really good question. And the main reason why we have selected purchase to pay process was that we were owners of the process and usually as it starts, you are at the beginning, you want to do something just for yourself. That was the reason why we why we started on purchase to pay. That was point number one. And the second point was that Celonis was already quite king in the process and to the ordering part of the purchase to pay process. And also the invoices are based on SAP, Celonis has a lot of experience with that, it wasn't necessary to explain every single column in the of the data to them, just hand over the historical data for the proof of concept and in four days that was it. And so we got it. So that was also one of the reasons why I have selected purchase to pay process. But to be really honest, we just wanted to have something for us.
Was there something specific that you were trying to see in the process? Because there are different approaches you can take with process mining. You can go into like, you know, get the clear picture, get the view into end to end process. But you can also go in a way that you are actually trying to solve a very specific problem that you are aware of. Which project did you undertake at Škoda?
One of the approaches for the project was bottom up. We were wanted to focus on really details to go in deep, deep inside of our process, deep inside the data, but on the other hand, we had great support from the management so we also wanted to have this helicopter view on the process. From my point of view the helicopter view is much better for such overview because, you know, you are aware that there are deviations in the process, but you don't know where exactly And that this is where we are heading. This is where we are heading, this is where our expectations lie.
I know that when we first started actually working together, you already had some defined cases, defined use cases with some value proposition in them. How did you even go about, you know, deciding on what you want to measure? And is this something, was there some exercise before that going into it? Because I know that you just said that you want to get this helicopter view, but you also went into some very specifics that you were trying to optimize. And I assume that this was like from the let's say that you had some goals as an organization or that procurement that you tried to reach them and then just inserted the process mining technology into this overall structure.
There was actually a lot of effort behind it. Before we got in touch, there was many, many workshops behind where we were trying to find the potential using process mining. I think we went through quite a development process because at the very beginning, we decided, OK, our processes are perfect. There is no issue and doubt. And OK, let's try what this is going to bring us once we see it. Then we were like the meme with surprised pikachu, you are sitting there and OK, that cannot be true, and the realization phase was really interesting because you could see the motivation of everyone. You could see that we are seeing the potential. We are seeing the deviations that the process is not very good as we expected. And now there are plenty of room for improvement and this phase was, from my point of view, a one of the most interesting one. And there we organized several workshops with Celonis, also with colleagues from internal consulting companies, which helped us to mine the potential even more and that was the whole preparation phase. Actually, it was really necessary to do so because as the process of approval such a project in Škoda is based on that you firstly need to identify everything and then you can go ask for money. So that was the goal to mine everything, which is inside just based on the historical data. So that was quite a nice process of personal development of everyone involved.
I'm assuming so. I always find it so interesting that when people come in looking at process mining for the first time, they always have an idea of what is super inefficient in their process and what works super well. But oftentimes they look at the solution and they look at the process graph and all of a sudden those things are switched. All the things they thought were going really well are actually not going that well. And all the things that they thought were a problem are just a tiny little bit of a problem. Was that something that your team went through? Did you have your inklings confirmed? Did you confirm your suspicions that some things were going badly?
That the example you said Patrick was exactly what happened to us. There were really parts of the process, where we were sure that, OK, this is happening. For example, kne there is a threshold, there are set up the thresholds inside the procurement process in Škoda, so the low value orders, as you call them, they are going out automatically. So we were aware that some of our requests are doing what weŗe calling salami tactics, they are splitting the requests into small ones, so it would be going faster. We were aware that's happening but that was just the piece of the iceberg. We did find out that there is much more below of which we were not aware of at all. So exactly what you said that happened to us too.
One of the most entertaining things for me was actually and you mentioned it, Václav, yourself. And that was the overall motivation and excitement of the users. How did you do that? How the hell did you do this?
Actually, I've asked this question to myself many times. I'm not really sure. I would say maybe it was just a coincidence that the right people were in the right time, in the right place and one of the reasons I would say the core one or start the whole project was really bottom up, that somebody from the employee side find it that there is something like process mining and said, OK, that's cool, it's cool, let's try it. It's something which could be beneficial not for only me as, as an employee but also for the management. And so we were pushing that from the very beginning until the end from the bottom, you know, it's completely different approach from the top down, which is usual, in such a corporations like Škoda and Volkswagen.
Now maybe a next question that's going to be a little switch of gears here. So what also interests me, we interestingly we recorded the episode with Martin before we did the one with you, although you will be the first in the recording. Regardless, we will talk with Martin about the overall project management and how it went. What I want to actually ask you is how is Celonis currently being consumed by the customers, which in this case are the business users, the employees and how are you incorporating it into your daily routines?
That's something we are proud of. I believe Martin already shared information about the Celonis game, as we are calling it. So I will not go to the details because I believe he did. But actually, once we were implementing Celonis in 2021 and we were ready in October after three or four months with Processand and everything was ready, everything was set up so we could go live. I was really afraid of that because I have that experience from the group that when you implement such a cool tool, everyone is so inside their operative job, so much inside of their daily business they will not have time and they will not have the motivation to get something new. So usually and I have experience from the past that you implement really cool tool but nobody's using it. I was really afraid of it because, you know, we spent a lot of time and invested a lot of energy to implement such a tool, but I was also afraid that we will spend the money on the licenses and nobody will be using it. I wanted to make sure that we will introduce it in different way and we were thinking about it, I would say for three, four weeks. And then the result was the Celonis game there was actually huge support from from Celonis itself in that, and I believe once we introduced them to what we're planning to do, they said, hey, that's cool, can we use it with other customers too? And actually I'm really proud that we came up with this Celonis game. I would say that it is one of the main drivers. What I would say in addition, there is always but, right, with everything. There is always "but" in life, I think that in one of your episodes, you said that the data are created by users, they are created by people, and at the end it's always ends up with the people. So you can have a really amazing data in Process Mining tool like Celonis, but when you don't have the people, the executors at the end, then it also doesn't bring you much. So for this after six months of using it, I believe there is the establishment of users is really good and right now we got to think about the execution part with our users and that's also going to be part of the game too.
So what you also are doing, you started with implementation and procurement and soon thereafter another department actually jumped on, it was your accounting team. What I'm probably going to ask you is, how do you now manage the overall usage and one of the future episodes that we will be releasing is going to be about center of excellence. How are you going to manage this sudden influx of people, new users and also generally the whole environment? Because obviously it's a lot of work. There are different processes. What are the plans with that now?
Yeah, the center of excellence you mentioned is the key factor there. From my point of view, it's really necessary when you have more, I would say, departments or more processes involved, there must be someone centralized who is going to steer that. In our team, Martin is the responsible for it. We are calling it procurement force team, a fancy name for Center of Excellence, but that's the platform, that's the platform we have established for everyone, not only from our department, but from any other department to come and say, Hey, I have an idea of optimizing this or changing this in your systems, what you are using. And their goal, the goal of the platform, goal of the procurement for us theme and goal of the Martin and other colleagues in the team is to validate that idea, to make sure that, OK, this is going to bring something that is going to save some time or bring us some money. So the Center of Excellence, as it's called in general, that's the key, and without it, I would believe that we would not be able to connect processes in general procurement and in accounting, even though it's one process purchase to pay but completely different databases and that will be hard to connect without it.
Absolutely. I was wondering, now with this center of excellence and the seeming success of your users really using the tool, I was wondering, how does the management or the upper levels feel about the introduction of this tool? Have they learned something from it as well? And do they see plans of using it further and not just in the procurement part, but also in other aspects in other departments?
Now, thanks for that question. Thanks for that question, really, because that was the second thing I was afraid of. My colleagues, the coordinators and the managers inside the general procurement, you know, they are really responsible people. I was not sure how they are going to react of process mining. When they are going to see the reality of what's happening because they are basically respond for optimizing things like that. So we have established our team regular meeting. We are calling that digital fitness. Like you go to the fitness for your body, then you go for fitness for your data analytic skills. And we did that for them too. Actually they have their own coordinates league, so they are participating in the Celonis Game too. There is always a winner every month, which can go for lunch with the head of the department. It's just for fun though. You could see that there are several ones which are really into it and they see big potential and there are the ones which still need some time. So this is also difficult because these managers have, you know, full calendar and they don't really have a time for doing the data analytics. That's also one of the point of the digital fitness because we don't expect the users, we don't expect the managers and the buyers to do a really deep dives inside the data, to use Celonis for long time during their day, we have the platform for it. I'm really glad that the managers in general procurement in Škoda are really into. I have a feeling that they see the potential and right now they are working on execution.
Václav, what would be your, if you could define the next steps for Škoda yourself, where would you go now? In terms of Celonis, what would you want to do? If money was no problem.
That's a really good part of the question then. If money would not be the problem and I would be the only one responsible for such a decision, then I think that, you know my opinion about the data, I think it's one of our last competitive advantages, which is not mind in 100% because in automotive industry, you know, the industry is quite classical. Oh, the competitors, we know each other to the bone, everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows the technology, even the new players, for example, like Tesla, we already know everything what they have in car, how they are building it and what is inside. So it's really open, it's really transparent. So there it will be really hard to find competitive advantage, but with the data, with the processes inside, from my point of view, every single process, not the procurement one, but also in finance department, also in I.T, also in production, every one, everything ends with the price of the car, which is for the production. So what is going to cost us to produce one car? Every single process ends in this price. Once we will be able to optimize all of the processes, we will be able to reduce the costs on the production side. So that means we will make more money because of course, we do not want to offer the cars cheaper in the market. So just an open sentence, because who would do that, but that's the point. That's where I think where Processand and data mining can help us. This is one of the last competitive advantages we have.
Very interesting thinking of how to like introduce your bottlenecks in data into the final price of the product. Really, really cool. Václav, I would just like to say thank you again for accepting the invitation has been a real pleasure. We will now jump onto the second part of the interview with Martin. But before we let you go, Václav, I also wanted to congratulate you on your new addition to the family.
Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot. I would say thanks a lot, firstly for the congratulations. You know, it's really a nice feeling to be a father for the second time and also thank you for the invitation. It's a pleasure. I'm really looking forward and I'm really honest. I'm looking forward to hearing the episode in my car, because I usually listen that when I'm driving somewhere and I'm really looking forward for the reactions of my family to it. So thanks for the invitation, again. It was it was a pleasura, Jakub. Patrick, it was a pleasure to meet you. I'm looking forward.
Well, Václav, I can tell you right away that you will hate your voice because people always do hate their own voices, but it is what it is. You got to cope with that.
Thanks a lot, take care.
All right. Thank you. Then let's go into the second round with Martin Kobosil, bye bye. As we said already at the very beginning, we have not one but two guests today in our show, and we thought it would be an entertaining change of pace for you, dear listeners, to do the recording separately this time. So not having the guests speaking at the same time, but, you know, do one by one, interestingly, we have first done the recording with Martin Kobosil, although in the episode you do hear it as a second one. So hopefully we did a good job and there won't be many overlaps in our discussion. Martin, welcome to our show.
Hello, everybody, and thank you for the invitation to me to a podcast. You bring a lot of inspiration to the data mining community and I'm honored to be part of it.
Oh, that's very, very nice to hear, Martin. Thank you. Thank you very much. I already mentioned it when talking with Václav, but what I find crazy about working with a Czech customer is how small Czech Republic actually is. And when we started working on the project together, you and I, Martin, we quickly realized that we both play basketball. And soon thereafter, we also realized that not only we play basketball, but we also played in the same league here in Prague against each other. And yeah, and then for our audience, we you know, we kicked Martin's Team's butts twice this season, unfortunately. We also won the league and we advanced to the higher competition. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend any of those games because, you know, I had some business meetings and everything that I just couldn't make it. I'm not going to probably ask Martin to further comment on this because I know how humiliating this is for him, haha. So let's just jump right into our field of Expertise. Martin, basketball aside, unless of course, you really want to comment on that. How did you end up working on a process mining project?
A good story about this world being small, but regarding this data mining project, I am the project manager at Škoda Auto, General Purchasing, and I was hired as an external support to implement the Celonis software in the purchasing department at Škoda Auto. Generally it's a relatively unique position in general purchasing because in the whole group there is no external staff to work into purchasing. The purchasing process cannot be outsourced by any company. But I don't deal with any business vendors, my job is only to focus to optimization projects, especially to data mining in the procurement department.
So is process mining just like one of the projects that you work on or is it something that you solely focus on in all of your agenda?
Yeah, I have for many projects about ten to care and I have three more project managers to divide this project into them. But definitely data mining with Celonis was my favorite one.
This very very good to hear. So let's talk a bit about your role in the project. So what were your tasks in this data mining or process mining project? And what are your daily to do's there?
Yeah, I can start from the very beginning. The project was so unique at Škoda Auto for two reasons. The first reason was definitely the speed of the realisation, because you know, Škoda Auto is the largest industrial cooperation in our country. Everything here takes an awful long time, but the implementation of Celonis took three months only over the summer. This was absolutely unprecedented. And I don't think I ever experienced such a fast implementation of the project here any more. This is mainly due to Processand, because you guys implement this because Processand implemented the software for Škoda Auto and the implementation was divided into two parts. The first part was the preparation and installation of the extractor server and data extraction. And it was in compliance of our IT guys. After this part the Miro come and it talks about another amount to create the basic cockpit and first use cases. We cooperate together and at the end of the summer after three months, we hand over the application introductory stage to the users. Then we had another two months of fine tuning the use cases and for signals we have two key users, and then we hand over the application to the full operation for all users. And the second reason why I think this project is so unique to Škoda Auto is the enthusiasm from both sides, from the side of the Škoda Auto and also from Celonis and Processand which supports us very much. I think this level of enthusiasm is due to the fact that the whole project was originated from the bottom to top. You understand? Employees come with the idea to use Celonis, to use data mining. And it was not the strategic decision from the company headquarters and all key users to join to the project voluntary and there was a good mood all the time.
Yeah, I might have to put some things in the context here. I'm really happy that you're saying that the implementation was fast and everything, but I do remember when we first got in touch, was like eight months before the project even started. And already at that point of time, there was already a year and a half discussion on let's do process mining in Škoda. So there was quite a push back. It still took a long time to get from OK, let's do it until we can actually start doing it. But then I have to say I was also pleasantly surprised with how well it went. So also, big thumbs up for you guys.
So Martin, were you involved in this process mining or getting this process mining project. Were you responsible for this right from the start? Like were you there to initiate this like one and a half years ago, what however many months ago that Jakub was saying? And were you experienced with process mining before that or how did you get in contact with process mining in the first place?
Yeah, great question. I was hired to do this project, so the discussion about this project started one and a half year before, and this is a typical Škoda process. Then it comes from the left to the right through from the groove to the bottom. But when we start is go very fast. So I come about six months before the implementation start and it was my first experience with this data mining, I just worked with databases, and something like this and I never could have imagined how simple and easy data mining can look like.
Martin, big chunk of your work what I felt like was not only getting in sync with the tool, but also and most for and foremost was to get involvement of the business users. And I also think that you did a hell of a job there. But how was the initial reception of the tool when you first gave it out to users?
Understand. From this content implementation was easy, but adopting the tool was a new challenge. Our expectation was we wanted to maintain the same level of enthusiasm which we found during the implementation so we offered our employees of Škoda Auto the adoption of the projects will be in the form of gamification and based on the voluntariness. So we introduced the tool to everyone, like we have a great tool that now, please come to our training and we can talk about it. Yeah, this training work like a touchpoint for us with our buyers where we evolve, where we are available for our employees and we show them what Celonis is capable of. The typical obstacles was that our cooperation buyers were afraid to click into the system. So as not to break something and so on, they thought that when they receive a signal from Celonis, they thought they did something wrong or something like this. So the biggest hurdle was to getting our buyers to understand that this is not a repressive tool, but it's something that definitely can help them in their everyday job. I think in this content, Celonis is also unique because it offers an amazing data mining tool, but in very simple application that everyone will learn how to manage it, how to control it. We never wanted our employees to do some sophisticated deep dive analyzes, but with only the few clicks in Celonis you can search the right purchasing process, go through it all, do some analysis with the suppliers with the request and department etc. So we want to set this mindset to our buyers and are for them in our every week training.
I really like the distinction that you made between the repressiveness of the tool and like the excitement and the pure fact that you should go there, get your answers, get your questions answered. And I think establishing this from the very beginning of the project can make all the difference that you're not controlling them, you're not trying to, you know, repress them, but you're actually trying to help them. You already mentioned, couple of very interesting things like the gamification. I really want to deep dive into that. Before I do that, however, did the users eventually like did you see that they you know, they started with this, let's say, a little of fear or a little I don't want to say resentment, but they were like cautious. And did you eventually see the adoption going up? And they were like, OK, now I really want just work on this specific problem only in Celonis and I don't want to go in the old way.
I could start with adoption. Adoption start with something like a big bang, because I flew to the entire department with flyers going like, hey, come play the Celonis game, it is going to be very fun. So we present it as a is a big deal, as a big thing, as something new. I literally talk about the transformation of the purchasing department into data driven department. So every time it was based on the volunteers, everyone could come into our training, they would be given the access to the application and they can start playing the game and win the beautiful price. So I think the expectation was it's something new, I want to check it out and to be presented like a fan.
What do you use the tool now for? So there are some use cases and so on and are the users are now using it to support them on their daily work?
Good question, because when we calculate the business case, the business case was based on the use cases. The use cases show some problems, some strategy and working on them. I think that today Celonis is mostly used for every day analysis of the vendors, every day analysis of the process, because really simply you can go through, for example, small orders that could go under your radar to your commodity and something like this. So we have implemented many use cases which we count as business cases, based on this use cases. I think Celonis is mainly used for everyday analysis, the small analysis to catch the context of my commodity on something like this. So it's perfect that we can manage it through the 60 buyers in our department.
I had a question regarding the adoption. So what we usually hear or what we hear a lot of the time is that business users need the allotted time given to them. So they need time to be able to learn the tool, they need time to then also go into the operative and actually use the tool and kind of clear some of the schedule of all the things they're already doing to be able to use this tool. Now, was there the same type of feedback that you got and how did you deal with them?
So this is the first part - adoption. We presented it with gamification. I can describe it.
Please do, I am looking forward to it.
The rules were to definite it at the beginning. The motivation was the beautiful price. So buyers were able to earn some points for their Celonis activity, there were also three basic categories for which they went to get the points. The first activity was when they come to our training, they just come, they just participate in the training and they can earn some first points. They also get more points on this training when they presented their own success story. So we want that the buyer present their own success story on Celonis with some nice examples and I also give them some various task from the Celonis, for example, hey, how many POs we have in this quarter and are they also able to get some extra points on these trainings. The second activity for which points could be obtained was the use of the application. There are some settings and I can manage how often they opened Celonis, how they logged in Celonis, and if they logged in every week, they receive some extra points for logging, also for using the signals or etc. And third activity for which the most points could be obtained were their own suggestions for improving the environment for Celonis at Škoda Auto, also for new use cases, etc. So we try to motivate them from the very beginning to think about how the application can be used in their common practice. Also, as the buyers collected their points, they move into the different areas and have some fancy names like brawler, cadet, warrior, conqueror, etc. It was fun and I think we go very smoothly through this adoption part of the acquisition.
Sounds like World of Warcraft to me. Martin, what level are you now?
I am definitely a conqueror.
Haha, conqueror of Celonis. I got to say that I really, really like this idea of gamification and it was actually the first time I saw it at any customer implementing it and I already stole this idea and I'm trying or testing it out with another customer of mine. So thank you for that, Martin. I'll let you know how we went. So just to recap, so this gamification, the main goal was to ease the people into the tool. Right?
So you basically were saying that they were collecting points for their activity and you tried to get them points for basically anything related to Celonis, right? Did you also like notice then that, as you said you had 60 buyers, and I assume that you have way less licenses to use. Was there also one of the underlying ultimate goals to like distinguish who would be the super user and who would just stay out of the tool? And did you also observe that some people got more motivated than others?
First of all, I am very happy that all the licenses were distributed less than a month from the start, from the presentation. So then after that, we start to solve the issues when another new buyers wants to use the Celonis, for example, there are some teams like coordinator teams in our department which want all the buyers to start using that you can coordinate to work through Celonis and something like this. So as our head of the purchasing said, Celonis is not for all. So there is a process when based on the login strategy, when you are, for example, three weeks not logging into Celonis, you can lose your license and another person would get it instead of you.
So question, why gamify this in the first place? Can we just have a simple roadmap where you stick the users into trainings, mandatory trainings, and then you stick them on the tool. Why gamify in the first place?
Two things. So first, we want to maintain the same level of enthusiasm because we really enjoy the implementation phase and we want to edit and distribute it to our buyers. So I think that this gamification was fun, it was something new and we presented the tool like it's something for fun, something that can help you. It's not the common tool which lay on your computer and nobody use it.
Did you do something like this already beforehand or is this your first time gamifying this type of rollout?
It was our first time to try to use the gamification in the adoption phase of the project, but I discussed it with some colleagues from the Celonis, which inspire me about these definitions. So in the very beginning we get some points we want to reach. And I think we reach them very well.
Now looking back, would you do the gamification differently? Would there be some aspects that you would change or think about like looking back, would you change a few things?
Oh, I understand. But I think the this gamification is one of the highlight of the whole project. So maybe there could be some small changes, but I like the idea and I am happy that I can experience this strategy.
Maybe last question regarding the gamification before we move on to the next topic. How did the user, how was the user reception of this idea? How did they enjoy that?
Yeah, they really enjoyed it. So I think you get the good point. And they have some internal fights for the prizes and because I presented it on the internal meetings and presented the results and highlighted the best one and also the highlight the last one and you must hurry up because the prices are missing. So yeah, it was fine.
What was the price you keep mentioning? I want to win something, Martin.
Yeah, the first price was a thermal bottle for tea and it was branded in Monte-Carlo. It was all Škoda prices. The second price was a yoga mat. Yoga mat also good for our employees that they can get some practice. The third price was headphones, headphones with a mic, and the last price votes for the winner. There was something like a green cap which was connected with the title conqueror that was like a crown for the winner.
It sounds like a lot of fun and then like the ultimate winner just gets to go to Tour de France, which, you know, Škoda is a sponsor of, that I would think I would like to participate in this game. Anyhow, Martin, another topic which comes to my mind is what happens after the user adoption and after the initial phase of the project and we will soon have a guest who will talk a lot on this center of excellence, basically establishing the system around it. So we will not go into too much into the depth here, but I wanted to ask you like how do you and Škoda handle this transition from, let's say, the support of consultants of us, of Processand to like a self-help and being capable of handling things mostly on yourself? Because I think this is also a crucial part of every project.
Our situation in general procurement at Škoda Auto is specific in that we have excellent data analysts in our team. Also, we have a huge support from our management. So gradually after the work of Processand, after Processand's implementation ended, we were already able to take over the entire operation into our hands. And our data analyst now is able to response to our customers or our employee suggestions, and he can adjust the data for Celonis at Škoda environment on their own, but nevertheless, we remain in contact with the company Processand after the implementation. We set up a retainer model here that here is one of the Processand guys every week for one day, and they can solve the backlog of the requirements together. But it's something like maintenance. We don't build much new use cases, but we want to maintain the current application, so there is a backlog of requirements for them every week.
What I also noticed at some point that you were writing quite an extensive documentation and although I hate writing documentation, I can totally see the upsides of having that. What did you document there? What did you write?
Yeah, that's also what I discussed from the very beginning. Škoda Auto is the largest industrial corporate here, and all projects need a lot of documentation. But we go for these documentation with the support of Processand and then there was no problem, just need to write it down and it start from the from the definition of the use cases. How much money we expected that this solution will bring. And also there are some capitals regarding the support regarding the server extractor, etc. Yeah, it's just bureaucracy.
Martin, maybe also do you recall of something that didn't go according to plan that was maybe not a success and the just you would probably done differently this time in the project?
What would I do differently? Hmm, generally Celonis capabilities exceed my expectation by thousand percent. So I had no idea before how easy and effective can data mining look like. There are number of things that we could have done differently, but on the other hand, it was great, beautiful learning process from the very beginning. So maybe the only thing I would do differently is have much higher expectation from the whole software in the very beginning. If you really need to kick your business, use data mining like Celonis and discover your process because after that there is only one way and that way is up.
Oh boy, I'm glad that you didn't have those expectations because I can tell you already that these new features are very hard to implement. So maybe then your experience with our consulting would be a little different than it was now. So, Martin, maybe last question before we let you go, where would you like to be heading now? So you have established, I would say, very strong base in procurement. There's also an initiative in your accounts payable in your in your organization. Where do you want to take your team next?
My ambitions are high. Definitely, I want to transfer this purchasing department into the data driven procurement. We started with Celonis and it was an amazing experience, but the next steps will be to change these establish this P2P process, which have now and it would be very painful way because if you want to change purchases, it's quite difficult. Thanks to Celonis now we can do a lot of things now proactively, because before this department works like non-proactively, where we just sit on our chairs and waiting what will come from our requester. Now we have a tool with which we can do many things proactively but the process is not established for this, because we also need the partner from the request department and we cannot start based only on our own data analysis. So changing the P2P is going to be the hardest next step for us.
Very well said. I'm excited to have the opportunity to participate on the project. I also want to thank you for coming here and joining us in this episode to actually be able to tell the story to other listeners who might find some inspiration in this, especially with the part that you handled the adoption, which again, for me, that was also a huge learning curve. And as I said, I'm using it now myself. Big props to you, Martin, and thank you for that.
Thank you. And I'm honoured to be part of your podcast. Thank you, guys.
All right. So thank you for coming. Martin, for you, dear listeners, thank you for joining and tuning into Mining Your Business podcast. We are very happy to have you, if you have any questions, just write us on LinkedIn. We are always there, always active, always posting some super fun super duper posts on you know, when our page. We are also very active commenting there, so just reach out. We are always happy to hear from you. If you want, you can also drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and tune in with the next episode. Thank you for listening. Patrick Martin, thank you for joining today and have a nice day. Bye bye.
Thank you. Bye.
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