Episode 5

How to succeed in process mining with Jan Länge, Celonis

March 31, 2021
Mining Your Business

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Our special guest

Jan Länge

Jan Länge is a Customer Success Manager at Celonis.

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Jan Länge

Customer Success Manager

Episode Content

What is the key to a successful process mining initiative, and what are the pitfalls? To answer this question Patrick and Jakub are talking to Jan Länge, a Customer Success Manager at Celonis

Transcript

00:00
Patrick:
Welcome to the Mining Your Business podcast. A show all about process mining, data science, and advanced business analytics. I'm Patrick. And with me, as always, my colleague Jakub.

00:12
Jakub:
Hey, Patrick.

00:13
Patrick:
Today's episode is all about what a customer success manager does, why this position exists, and maybe even a bit of poker. Joining us today is Jan Länge from Celonis. Let's get right into it.

00:34
Jakub:
Patrick. I hope you're ready because today we will be interviewing our first non Processand guest. A customer success manager with whom I was very fortunate to work with on the project. And the name is Jan Länge. Jan, thank you for coming to the show. How are you doing?

00:53
Jan Länge:
Hi, guys. So, first of all, thank you for having me on your show. I'm doing very, very well. So thanks for the invitation. And I'm looking forward to talking to you about process mining.

01:04
Patrick:
Me too. Me too. So what do you say? Let's get right into it, shall we?

01:09
Jan Länge:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

01:11
Patrick:
First, obviously, our listeners, maybe would like to know who you are and kind of how you got to where you are. So can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

01:20
Jan Länge:
Yeah, absolutely. So to everyone tuning in, my name is Jan Länge, I'm a customer success manager here at Celonis, and I've been at the company for over a year now, which for a company that is only about nine years old, is a substantial amount of time, as you might imagine. With a company that's scaling up this fast, there are constantly new people coming in, so you do feel quite old if you've been there for a year. From a professional background, I started off in a strategy consulting where I've been where I've spent basically almost three years doing that beforehand, consulting mainly in the automotive industry, but other ones as well on. Yeah, strategy topics for large customers of fortune 500 companies.

02:10
Jakub:
Jan, when we were actually applying for the job in process mining, both me and Patrick, we had no idea what we were signing up for. So for us for me it was three years ago. For Patrick it was roughly a year and a half ago. We essentially signed up for a job that said process mining data science all sounded nice but we really knew nothing about it at the time. Was this also the case for you or you kind of knew about process mining thanks to your background and what's going on there and did you actually go for such a job on purpose?

02:46
Jan Länge:
Well, so for me it did not go as that at all. So I also didn't know much about process mining, but without knowing it, I was already involved in what I would call like part of the pain points and part of the problems. A strategy consultant very often we have to consult customers on. Yeah. Process optimization and improvement And I remember having to stay up till like four in the morning and glue up huge process paths on a huge wall and then do that all by hand. I actually have pictures of maybe I can find that later for you, how I glued that on the wall. And we spoke to the customers regarding that and it was it was a mess. And then once I started looking for exit opportunities and consulting, I had this friend who worked at Celonis and who did a referral he told me all about the company and about what they do. And it was like an immediate click for me when he explained it. It was like I always thought to myself, there should be like a more efficient way to visualize this and to, like, break down this complexity. And why are people like Gus's consultants doing that by hand? Kind of like finding the needle in the haystack and still costing roughly like an incredible amount of money to do that? Two and a half, $3,000 a day.

04:10
Patrick:
That's a lot of money for people.

04:12
Jan Länge:
Absolutely, and yeah, so that was the aha moment for me. So that's when I got in touch with the with Celonis and process mining. And I knew like yeah, this technology is here to stay and this is the future and I need to be part of it.

04:28
Jakub:
I mean, I don't, I don't know what's not efficient about paper and glue, but, you know, you guys know probably better. Jan, so you apply for a job at Celonis, you've got the position. So you are now your position says that you are a customer success manager. What do you actually do?

04:49
Jan Länge:
Well, so that's actually an excellent question. And I actually have to begin every customer engagement exactly answering that. So many people don't know what a customer success manager is in this industry. It's actually kind of like a set position. So you will be seeing these guys appear more and more and more. So what a customer success manager actually does In the short answer would be whatever it takes to make a customer successful.

05:19
Patrick:
Okay. Well, I'm glad you said short, because let's get into it. We have the job responsibilities from your own website here, and I would like to read them to you and you can just say if this is accurate or if this is categorically false. So number one on the list: work directly with a portfolio of customers to define success and help them drive significant value out of Celonis.

05:42
Jan Länge:
Absolutely true. Yeah, I do that every day.

05:45
Patrick:
Okay. Develop a deep understanding of customer needs, use cases and objectives in order to ensure that Celonis platform is properly leveraged to achieve them.

05:55
Jan Länge:
Yes. Without that, nothing will work.

05:57
Patrick:
Okay, great. Build and maintain strong relationships with all key customer stakeholders.

06:04
Jan Länge:
I would say that the biggest part of my job.

06:07
Jakub:
We will get to that later for sure.

06:08
Patrick:
Okay. Monitor and report on the overall well-being of customers tracking key health and usage indicators.

06:16
Jan Länge:
Yes. So that's basically how we're measured.

06:19
Patrick:
Oh okay, I see. Serve as a point of escalation for key customer issues and ensure swift resolution.
06:27
Jan Länge:
Yes, that's I would say the customers at least customers think that's the only part of our job or the biggest part of our job. And we help out in that a lot.

06:36
Jakub:
We do use you as our escalation points as well, so we're guilty.


06:42
Patrick:
Drive, customer advocacy through case studies and references.

06:47
Jan Länge:
Yeah, that's also very crucial for us. So I do that. I do that at least once or twice a week.

06:54
Jakub:
We've got three more.

06:58
Patrick:
Yeah, exactly. We have, ensure high customer satisfaction and retention.

07:03
Jan Länge:
That's true. That's that's the main goal for the whole thing. That's why we exist.

07:07
Patrick:
Right. And evangelize the capabilities of the salon as a platform, identifying opportunities for further growth with customers while working collaboratively with the account team to position upsells.

07:19
Jakub:
I would put an emphasis on the word - Evangelize.

07:23
Patrick:
Yes, that's a great word to use here.

07:25
Jakub:
Spreading faith. Really?

07:27
Patrick:
The faith of Celonis.

07:28
Jan Länge:
You would be surprised, but that's actually exactly what it is. So the last point, I would say absolutely. Yes, but I'm not doing that alone by myself. So there's obviously an entire team that bring that I can bring in. And to help me do that, And I do want to emphasize on the word evangelize, because I do think I think it is that way. So I would say, for instance, for technologies such process mining, the biggest competitor for Celonis is not actually like a different competitor, like a different entity. It's the it's the alternative of doing nothing. And that's what most customers are used to. So it is literally evangelizing. I sometimes do feel like a Jehovah Witness that goes door to door, spreading the word of data driven insights. And most people literally have to believe before they engage.

08:26
Patrick:
I will attest to this, that it is for a lot of people, a lot of customers that we work with a different way of thinking so I think this kind of evangelize is very apt for them for talking about this.

08:39
Jakub:
Absolutely.

08:41
Patrick:
And last on the list, last but not least, work with the services teams to facilitate the onboarding of new customers.

08:47
Jan Länge:
Yeah, that's that's basically how me and Jakub met, haha.

08:54
Jakub:
If we dissect this into, let's say, a day to day activities. So could you actually tell us I mean, these sentences sound very well and very profound, but could you dissect for us your week, how does it look like for you if you make somehow an average of everything you do. So what is your job?

09:15
Jan Länge:
Yeah. Okay. So to get to be a bit more concrete so you can imagine what I do, I think it wouldn't do it any justice to just tell you how a week looks like, because every week for me is different. And the reason being that my tasks in that week evolve based on the customer needs and where the customer stands at their point of the customer journey. So like sometimes it can be helping solve a service desk ticket. Sometimes it's about facilitating exchanges with a product organization. Sometimes it's drafting a document or a presentation for their management. So literally, like it's different every day. But what I can do for you, if you're interested in this, so you how I see the key aspects of my job and how would that translate into the things that I need to do on any given month or year?

10:11
Jakub:
Please go ahead.

10:13
Jan Länge:
All right. So let me see. So I would I would actually segment this into the two parts. So I would say we have an internal versus an external part of my role from where I am sitting. So always from my perspective. So, for instance, externally would then mean between me and the customer. Right. So my external responsibilities are to ensure that the customer has the right set up to grow the process mining initiative at their firm. So basically, it all begins with securing executive sponsorship so that we speak to the person who bought the product and that we align with that person on strategy, goals, KPIs, objectives that they want to solve so that we know that whatever we are deploying, and then later trying to optimize actually feeds back into what that executive or that person who bought the product actually wanted to see. Next up would be, for instance, ensuring that the customer has the right, let's say a structure to leverage that capability. So I would begin with, for instance, a governance structure. It's actually solved by simple questions. So who do we report to? Who's involved and how do we do things? So that would be the governance structure. Sometimes they have a vague idea of how that should be set up. If they don't, it's my job to probe deeper, make sure that they know what that means. And if they don't have the right set up that we review it and then we set it up. I also help out creating operating models, so ensuring that they know how to actually use the software. And here's a caveat that I would like to say. So part of that is not just like knowing how to use the software and, you know, drive the mouse and where to click and so on, but actually how to do process improvement. If I can give you an example of that, that would be imagine you find something in your process that needs to be optimized, right? So you find something that's not doing so well. You want to optimize that. Imagine at something like Maverick buying. I don't know if you're your audience, is familiar with the problem.

12:22
Jakub:
We did try to explain it in the last episode, so I hope they do, haha.

12:27
Jan Länge:
Alright, perfect. But so imagine. So there's many things in Celonis that you could or in process mining that you could maybe automate or solve with the click of a button. Well, there are some things, for instance, Maverick buyin, you just can't solve with the click of a button, but someone has to go back into the organization and review how they do purchasing and maybe write a new purchasing policy. Right. So that's a process optimization that's outside of the, of the data driven insights you generate with Celonis. So you need to make sure that whoever found this inefficiency directs that knowledge to someone who can actually change that for the better within the organization. And that's, for instance, something customers don't anticipate, because for them, they just buy software. So I help them set up like an operating model so we know exactly how to deliver those insights into the organization where they are needed so we can transform that for impactful change. I also help out setting up everything like that's beyond what you guys do. So what I like to tell my customers is what's life going to look like after the technical implementation so when you guys disappear. So who manages this and who does things? And they usually say yes to users, okay, but who tells the users what they need to do so and who enables the users? So usually we need like a very coherent enablement plan that's kind of like mapped out the user journey within the process. So thinking of users, I've never heard of this. How do I get involved in this or who reaches out to me? Do I do the online trainings first and then what happens next? Do I have kind of like, let's say Digital Sherpa that takes me through the entire process and teaches me how my dashboards look like? Usually we use you guys for that. Then who helps me if I have an issue later on this? Is there like a portal where I can ask questions? Who do I give feedback, if I have feedback? So ensuring that this enablement is all there, I help them set up, for instance, communication plans. So basically defining how often do we speak to our user groups and what cadence via what, let's say medium. So do we have like a standing call where people can ask questions, do we have workshops with them, is there like a monthly email we send out? So how do we engage with the community? So I help them set up a plan for that. And then lastly, the two. I know I've been speaking for a long time now, but.

15:06
Jakub:
No problem.

15:08
Jan Länge:
Helped them plan out the initial rollouts. So usually a customer buys that, say, two, three, four processes and they need to define how they're going to roll that out. Are they going to roll out all four simultaneously or in a sequence? And if in a sequence, then which sequence? So I help them detail that out. And then lastly, I help them also out in planning out their expansion. This is actually the last point where I want to say that it gets a bit more in detail because customers usually purchase our software to improve one process that they have in mind right and we tell them it's easy, for instance, if you're in finance to expand to other finance processes, but our tool is actually process and industry agnostic. So that means if you want to imagine you're the finance, if I tell if I ask you, Hey, wouldn't it be great if we could optimize your production? Are you still the right person to speak to? And probably not in this case. So how can we involve people or the right people to showcase our capabilities to see if that would be of value to their divisions and then, yeah, expand into them.

16:20
Patrick:
So I have two things to say. One, I'm stealing digital Sherpa, by the way. That's great. And the second you said that the customer thinks they're just buying software, but then you're talking about all how all these things kind of go with it. Are a lot of the customers aware that just, you know, how much transformation that actually needs to go into this in order to have a successful process mining initiative?

16:49
Jan Länge:
So some. Yes, and some don't. So there's like super professionalized organizations where we arrive and they say, hey, our IT department has 200 tools just like you. And they've done this 100 times before, and we know how to deal with this. We got it. Those are actually the, let's say, the easy customers to deal with because they're kind of like a self-cleaning oven, right? They just they know they know what to do. They require little of my input, and I'm just there. It's kind of like a sparring partner or a connection to the firm. But then there's customers that which is way more and way more common. We're like some CTO, CIO or CFO, bought this, and then they dropped it on someone's lap, usually a very, very technically savvy person, but someone that has never run a project like this, ever. And they have no clue how to run an initiative like this. They're helpful for our advice, but just for the sake of completion, Before that, I told you, like, I have the internal versus external role. There's also the internal Celonis part of my role that that comes in as well. For customers, for instance, that don't require as much attention. This is where we would focus on my internally facing role at Celonis, which is why basically why Celonis hired me, which is kind of a two edged role. So like I secure internal resources for customers at Celonis, as you know, a growing, growing startup, a growing unicorn, actually, Celonis requires us to see a lot of capacity constraints. So you always continue fighting for internal resources. And it's my job to advocate for my customers internally. I facilitate best practice exchanges across different customers so they can speak to each other and help each other out in our community. I enable exchanges with our product division. I help solve tickets but especially what my boss is most that's a keen on is I ensure in the end of the day the renewal of the license so that money continues flowing in. I drive upsell opportunities, so expand and I also promote customer success. So if you ever see, like a lot of customers, the first touchpoint with Celonis is that they hear that other customers are doing well. But for that to happen, someone has to first A do well and B speak about how they're doing well. That's also part of my role.

19:19
Jakub:
I think you I think you touched a very interesting topic here. So you said that you are measured by your boss, by your management, by the customer retention and some upsells. Also when I first met you, I asked you this specific question and I would like to hear it again from you. Is there a difference or do you see yourself as different from a simple salesperson who's selling the software compared to what you are actually doing?

19:47
Jan Länge:
Yes, absolutely. I would say my role is completely different. To some extent, yeah, it's completely different, I'd say. But so there is some overlap. But I think the angle from which we view it is different. So for a salesperson, it's more about identifying what the customer has as pain points initially and sell them the appropriate tools to fix it. Right. But their part of the journey is actually just creating awareness of how our solution can fix their problems and ensuring that they believe in it. And they sign off, right? And now they hand that over to me, and I need to make sure that we deliver on that promise so it's not just calling in and trying to sell them more stuff. I'm actually here for the long term part of the relationship. So making sure that the customer pushes the software through the process and makes a success out of this.

20:56
Jakub:
I actually see a big parallel between what you do and between what us and our company do as a data scientist. So since we are the startup you are talking about, we are still about 30 employees here. 30 colleagues. So our job as a data scientist is do the implementation, which would translate in your world, to ensure the customer success. But then on the other side, if we do our job well and we, the customer likes us and we can offer him more in the future, that's our upsell. So eventually we can come out also slightly salesy out of the equation, but for the good of our company. So essentially we could say that we are kind of salesperson too, but at the end of the day, everyone who's doing any job is to a certain extent a sales guy, right?

21:46
Jan Länge:
Absolutely. I mean, and the beauty of, for instance, your job and my job is that it's very honest and it's very honest in one way, customers only do repeat business with you if you delivered something of value to them and they enjoyed and liked working. It all boils down to that. And if we do like if we provide a bad customer experience then the customer just goes to the competition or cancels the initiative, and then there's no money to be gained, so there's no room for fooling customers, it's very, very honest.

22:19
Jakub:
Speaking of customers, what do customers actually consider to be a success when you come into their company? And you do this all process mining? When is that moment when the customer says, all right, so this is going well, I have something more than just a nice BI tool but actually, I consider this to be a success.

22:40
Jan Länge:
Yes. So I would say it. So when we speak about the customer we sometimes we think about a logo, right? A huge company, I don't know, telecom or something like that. We forget that that's comprised out of like thousands of thousands of people working within it. So there's different phases of the customer. So it really depends on the goal that the customer had going in and what their expectation was. So, for instance, a CFO is a customer for us that bought it. And for him, seeing a return on investment is great. So if you pay, I don't know, imagine you would buy, say, an example doesn't reflect on our prices, but imagine you would buy 300 K software and you can generate 300 million in returns. Is that a success for you? Yes, I would say so. What I mean saying that in a simple way. Yes. If you're saying for instance, if your goal is to kind of like visualize your process or understand how your end to end processes, that maybe success to you means a number of processes connected. If you want to change the way that that your people work in different let's say, source systems that they spend too much time on that maybe the right measure would be adoption. How many people are actually using that or user satisfaction we measure how are the people that use this report? Are you happy with this or are you happier than what you were before? That would be that a measure of success and that would differ from the person that I speak to. So that would be like top down looking, right? If you look at bottom up a customer could also be what we call a champion internally, be the person running the initiative. So for them, a success could be I secured all the resources and I have the data connection set up and stable, and I can see the things that I wanted to see in the platform and I IT department for them that's a huge success. I've connected the thing, the thing works. We're done here and for a business user it might be this actually answers the questions that I have every day. So it really depends on how you slice and dice it.

24:57
Patrick:
Okay. And how do you define success?

25:02
Jan Länge:
Whoever within the organization has the strongest pool and speaks the loudest and is willing to speak to me, whatever their definition of success is, that's what we go with Okay. That goes back to the evangelizing.

25:17
Jakub:
If we go about the definition of success, I really like what you just said about different levels of hierarchy in your customers and also in your own organization. Obviously, everybody has different goals, different agenda, different tasks to take care of. If you have such a project of process mining, how do you actually go on to making sure that all the parties, not only the implementation parties, but especially the customer parties are aligned so that we don't have two parties, let's say the higher management and then the business who's actually using the tool who are basically going head to head against each other and fighting for what and how should the tool be used and what it should be used for. And eventually even like taking out the the value out of it. So how do you define these goals at the beginning of the project?

26:16
Jan Länge:
So that's an excellent question. And there's no cookie cutter answer to that. I would say this is where we do the business balancing act, right, where you try to speak to every customer like every internal customer within that customer. And then you try to convey everyone else the information that was relayed to you by someone else. It's a very, very tedious task. It takes way longer than you imagine. But in the end, I think it's the single most important piece of the puzzle. So the good thing here is, the higher you are up the ladder, the more important you are in an organization. Usually the less you care about how this is actually being used. And the more you only care about the end result. So what I like to do, at least this I try to get from the top people some guidance or let's say what I would call like I would like a frame, right, like a frame at which they would like to see results, like a framework, basically. And then within that frame that they defined, we have flexibility to move. And then that flexibility I would like to keep and pass on to the business divisions. And they can use that and transform that into what that means for them and to them what that means for them. And then when they do that at the medium level, we would then relay that on how would that look like in dashboards and in analysis for the actual user. That's the one way like top down. But then bottom up, you also need to have some feedback loops because we do get it wrong sometimes, and that's when users have to you have to generate these channels within that organization structure the create, for users to get feedback and say, hey, so this is not going well, this should be different so that we can review that at the bottom level and then at the yeah, medium level and we can like distill that information and relay that maybe to top management. So that's why we also need direct access to all parts of the spectrum and we need to have a cadence that we speak to business users, the people running the initiative in the middle, but also the top tier executive doesn't have a lot of time, but at least I don't know, 15, 20 minutes once a quarter would be fine, I think.


28:46
Patrick:
Yes. So are there ever cases of where top and bottom are not as aligned as they should be? And how do you go about resolving this misalignment?

28:59
Jan Länge:
So yes, that's usually the default state because the thing is in an ideal world, those two things sound like the same and it's very easy to connect them. But there's a lot of so there's a lot of goals that go hand in hand and match, but there's also a lot of conflicting interests here. Right. And here's the sad truth about it is that one person at Celonis is a customer success manager that's foreign to that organization will not solve that for that organization. So that misalignment will have to be fixed to some degree internally. What we can do is point that out and bring that to the attention of the relevant parties. And if possible, we can facilitate that via a meeting. So, for instance, what I offer my customers is especially the ones running the initiatives, is that when we speak to an executive that I can be part of that call and I can maybe relay some of the information or just some of the things that you probably cannot do that if you are like an internal person, so I can be kind of like the middle man, exactly that Outside-in view and I'm the middleman here. But in the end, if they are not committed to solving it themselves, then we won't solve that for them. It's impossible.

30:27
Jakub:
Now, I have to agree with you that this is something that especially by the end of the implementation. So again, from the data scientist perspective, this is something I'm struggling with quite often and that is making them know that we do the implementation. We help them learn how to use it, but eventually the adoption and the usage of the tool has to be from within their organization. We cannot keep forcing them into, you know, pushing them into using that. So that's something, as you say, it's such truth, but it is what it is.

31:01
Jan Länge:
Yeah. And to me, for instance, especially in your position, the problem with having your digital Sherpa is that if someone always carries everything for you, you're only along for the ride till I get feedback or like, take that Instagram picture, right? But if the Sherpa relates to you that, hey, once we're down here, the second mountain, you climb yourself, that changes the game, right? So maybe you should take notes along the way or maybe carry a few bucks and pants, so that you can accustom acclimate yourself for the next climb.

31:36
Jakub:
Yeah, speaking of which, so you are in this position very often. So where are you ever a part of some heated discussion or some escalation when something like this adoption didn't work and you had to deal with getting it over the top?

31:56
Jan Länge:
What do you mean by over the top?

31:59
Jakub:
So in making sure that the adoption goes well, there will be you will sometimes get into the position when the it doesn't go well, the adoption. And then there are some escalations. It goes from top to down and from down to top. Are you sometimes part of this and how do you deal with such situation when there is tension in the companies and when management says that you are spending a lot of money and we don't see results and the business says, yeah, but we actually have results with it. And then you have this this clash of opinions and you are in the middle of it. Have you ever experienced something like that? And could you tell us how does it feel and what do you actually do?

32:39
Jan Länge:
Yes, it doesn't feel great, starting off, but right off the bat, it doesn't feel great. I notice very often this is a communications issue. And so just to reflect on the bottom up that you mentioned, so this is something that a lot of business users don't think of too much, but it's like just generating value helps you and your job, but doesn't necessarily mean that your boss sees that, right? So you need to report that value and you need to do that frequently. And you be surprised how often people forget that. So I've seen cases where we've generated incredible results, but they were just never related to management and management just assumed that this was like not going well. And it was about creating that channel. Right? So it will be on aligning again unlike what finding the yeah, the underlying issue, the root cause for all these problems, sometimes it's the other way around that we get top down goals pushed down and they end up being let's say, allocated to a division that can't do anything with them because they just lack the power to do so or they lack the capability to do so. Those situations are way more difficult to deal with because the people that are then in charge of executing and they don't have the resources are not the people also doing the decisions in the end. And that's then you have to go through a very painful process of going into meetings with, with, with both parties. There's usually like some finger-pointing going on and yeah, it's not always are we able to secure a very happy resolution. But yeah, I think the way that I deal with that is I try to be transparent and I try to go on an open dialog and I try to use myself as a resource for them that I can maybe relay some information, rephrase some things and focus on the communication aspect of this, because the decision making power ultimately lies within the company of the customer.

35:01
Jakub:
Just like in another relationship communication is the key.

35:07
Jan Länge:
It sounds cheesy, but it's true. It's true. It's true. It's true.

35:10
Jakub:
Right? Jan, is there something that we as data scientists can do better to support you in such situation or project so that we work we work together in a project that's also how we met. And because of that, I think you can be very, very blunt with me. I can take it, don't worry. And if you could just tell us both to me and Patrick what can we do first to make your job easier, but also to because we are pulling the same rope together, we also want the adoption to go well as for us, that's also obviously business. What can we then do better to provide for the customer and to to make sure that it goes well.

35:52
Jan Länge:
So I think the first part of that is alignment. So the more you keep me in the loop and involved on the issues that we have, the more I can help. I can help fix them. Right. The second one would then be also the level at which you communicate. So what I mean by that is that your job is very technical in nature and technical in the sense of the, you know, the software part of that, but also very technical in the sense of like the coded knowledge that you gain from that business unit at which you're deploying at. So, you know, a lot of the acronyms in, I don't know, accounts payable and like the goals and so on. And maybe if you do a lot of like production use cases, you understand a lot of like how production assembly line works. That doesn't necessarily mean that I understand it. So if you can if I if I can make if I may say so if you can dumb it down a notch so I can decode what that means and you keep me involved in this communication, I can help you identify who are the parties that we should be speaking to to solve your issue or the issues that you are facing and maybe facilitate in that as well, or pull internal resources at Celonis. So towards me as a customer success manager, the best thing you can do is involve me and communicate in a way that I can help you. That's the first one and another thing that I think data scientists in general can do way better, especially in the technical implementation part. And let me give you a quick caveat here. That's not your case, Jakub, but I see that with many other people. I have to say. But it's focusing on the user experience as well, because very often we're very detailed on what has been scoped and what do we have to put into paper and produce. I mean, not the paper, but the dashboards, but we need to put into dashboards and then we say, okay, so that was in scope. This is what we delivered. Here's the list of documentation, you're done. But then actually enabling the business users who will be using this not only getting their feedback on do you see the right things, but actually teaching them, okay, this is where you click. This view helps you with that. This helps you with this. So the more you bring this, let's say, technical knowledge to an understanding to a business user, the better feedback you will receive from them. To generate more value to them and the easier the transition from building the dashboards to actually like delivering it will be. So focus on the enablement piece.

38:39
Jakub:
Good point. Good point.

38:40
Patrick:
Fair. I find that there's always a little bit of a disconnect when building dashboards and showing them to customers for the first time and then them not knowing exactly what they're looking at. Based on the tables and data and stuff that they've provided. So there is a bit of a disconnect and I do see that it does need a little bit of explaining and a little bit of digital sherpering to get them there.

39:04
Jan Länge:
Can I give you a like I've seen it work for another customer in a very cool manner because we're used to having like the frontal presentation where someone goes to the dashboards and explains everything and clicks everywhere. But what I've also seen work is after that in a different session they pick up someone random and say, Hey, we're going to give you control. You guide us through what you see and click what's what is intuitive for you and how do you interpret that? And then we decode that. I like to say I like to do that with some customers and I like to push for that as well. I call it the IKEA approach because I think if you both sit together and you both assembly the furniture together, there's like more emotional buy in.

39:51
Patrick:
This should be a comic on your website, you know, with the guy scratching his head, you know, calling IKEA. That should be calling Celonis and stuff like that. That's great.


40:02
Jakub:
Hello, IKEA. I'm missing a screw. Can you please send me a new screw? It's a 1 4 7 8.

40:07
Jan Länge:
Yeah, exactly. But the only way you know that like a screw is missing or, like, how hard it is to assemble it is if you're like, part of it, right? So give the user the mouse.

40:17
Patrick:
Yeah. What we like to do sometimes in the workshop is just a throw up a slide with three like quiz questions like, hey, find this filter on this and go to this dashboard. What do you see? And then they just go and do their thing, and then they report back and everybody says, Oh, I see this number. And then when somebody says a completely different number, we obviously look into what they did and where they went wrong and just kind of see, oh, you know, interactive going along with the meeting.

40:42
Jan Länge:
And the good thing here, I think that's an excellent way to do it as well. But so I think we need to come up as we progress and we and we shift to working digitally. We need to create new ways to keep our audience engaged and ensure that they actually are paying attention because we're in a world where we're used to so many distractions. And back then pre-pandemic, I could lock everyone in the room and like if you're looking at your phone or doing something different, like people notice, I don't need to shame you, people shame you, people know. But if you're in a virtual meeting, it's very easy to, like, doze off and still look at the camera, but open up your emails, check your phone, something of that nature and that happens way more often than we care to admit. And that way we need to like create. I think the more digital we work, the more we need to create like these assurance loops that this information has actually gotten to them and has been processed. And so I think an explorative approach is good, like put them on the spot.

41:50
Jakub:
This is wisdom.

41:52
Patrick:
It's it's difficult to make presentations interactive. I mean, even in the one not like in-person presentations are also hard to make interactive. I think it's way harder to do them digitally.

42:05
Jan Länge:
Yes, agreed. Part of everyone's struggle at the moment.

42:10
Patrick:
Yeah, of course. Of course.

42:12
Jakub:
Jan, we are slowly, slowly running out of time with our show here. I would also like to ask you if you could give us some Real-Life Example again, you don't really need to mention any names as we know, that's not the goal of the podcast. But if you could, as a Real-Life Example of what went well and on the other side, what went wrong in your projects and what could be some lessons learned in these occurrences and what did you make out of it eventually.

42:44
Jan Länge:
Absolutely. So an example of a customer where things went really, really well, I would say the customer had bought the software that we had a very strong executive support, so our sales team did an excellent job at not only selling but actually converting, evangelizing. We use that one evangelizing the executives. So he would really give us the support that we need and because of that, because we really evangelize that guy, we were able to get all necessary resources, support, FTE, everything that we needed, and they started off thinking big. So the big, the bigger you think, the more resources you give anything in life basically, the better you nurture that, let's say, plant to grow, right? So what they what they've done is they created an entire new organization that would be running process mining a center of excellence. They made sure that they had business people in it and IT resources and that they had enough of those dealing with everything. They predefined the problem that they wanted to solve. Of course, that's only the initial stepping point that already sets you up for success. So they said we want to see A, B, C, and we are going to start in process X and then move to Y and then Z and because we had that sequence already predefined, they already had aligned with the business unit for the first process and with their process owner, and it was a breeze because everyone was aligned. Goals were were predefined. We knew exactly what will be solving for. Users were communicated to early. And those are the customers that like generate incredible value with our product in a relatively short time. So those guys succeed because they pour resources into it.

44:46
Jakub:
Right. Awesome.

44:48
Jan Länge:
So that's an example of a customer that does well.

44:50
Jakub:
And the on the other side the disastrous customer.

44:54
Jan Länge:
So here I have to lean on the cautionary path. I don't want to show fingers, point fingers, but this guy yeah, that guy. No kidding. But so the worst customer, the worst customers are the customers that never begin in the first place where you sell them software. And basically they make up excuses for why they should not be working on the projects immediately. A typical excuses, oh, we're migrating data to another instance, to another platform. And when when that's done, we will connect Celonis to that. So we have to wait for that first part to be done so we can do the second part. Okay. How long will that take? Yeah, so three or four months. And then it takes a year. So that happens sometimes in large organizations. And then maybe the person who was assigned for the project left the company. The execs switch switched roles and whatever, and then suddenly you're left with like a piece of software that no one knows what really to do with, how it goes into the structure that they discussed a year ago, and there's no one with a clear ownership. So you have to because in my in my role, I still have to ensure success of that customer. My role becomes like fishing for someone to take on this new responsibility. So that's a customer that sets itself for failure.

46:32
Jakub:
So you just stand there in the company the whole time, like giving out fliers, please use process mining?

46:39
Jan Länge:
So you would be surprised. But I actually have taken a flight to a different country to meet with whoever was willing to meet with me to speak about this at a customer's, to find if we can identify who potentially could take this over. Oh, so what I'm trying to say here is it is evangelizing, haha kidding, but that that was just an example. It's a very fringe example. It doesn't really have to translate into full truth there are at least different ways, this is how I perceived it at least. But let's say a more clear example, a more practical example of something that I've seen as well is for instance, that they did they did not anticipate certain IT requirements from the beginning or for instance, they didn't get approval from the Worker's Council if they wanted to use employee data in the system. So then all of a sudden, this roadblock means a delay of six months or three months or two months or however long it takes them to discuss it internally. That's something that's not your fault and it's something that's not my fault. We're kind of just waiting in the start like in the start line, but we never took the shot, right? So that already like is a huge inhibitor to start, which of course will inhibit the time to value. The next one would be to not have a clear business need for the process that you connect. So it becomes very, very explorative. So, okay, we connect the process, we create dashboards to give it to people. And then so what what's the so what of it? So what do you generate out of that? And those are the ones that struggle later to justify the return on their investment because it's difficult to frame that in a business value or in technical value. So those are the ones that set themselves up for failure, and then there's also examples where you for instance, we tend to do with software, what we always do with software. We dump it on the I.T. department but their goals are usually not, let's say, business goals. So there's a misalignment of goals, and that works for some software that works for office 365 perfectly. But that doesn't necessarily reflect for a software like ours that has to be used by business users in order to generate value. So there's a misalignment on that. It becomes more difficult for sure.

49:20
Patrick:
Speaking from experience some I.T users are not very keen on doing some extra work for things that they're not going to be using themselves and they don't see the points. And that can be a bit of a rift sometimes in the project.

49:33
Jan Länge:
Yeah, and I think also I think for instance, with every with every new technology that you introduce at any firm, at any company, you do also have to give it give in a little invest and invest in terms not only in financial to bind the stuff, but also in terms of flexibility within the firm. So for instance, what I see very often happening in I.T. departments is they buy it, they buy the software, and then they have like like a transfer internal transfer pricing model where they would say, hey, I bought it for them. I'll give you a figure of example. 100,000. And if you want a 20% piece of the user is allocated to that, then you need to pay 20% for that. Right? So that makes it very easy for I.T. to cover its costs. If they can get it to someone but if you do not create an incentive for a business division to actually take that, you said yourself up for failure because these guys, they have to then justify the deployment of the software to the cost of that. And then sometimes for them they're like, Yeah, we're busy doing other stuff anyway. Maybe we don't take that. So then you have an I.T department sitting with the software in their hands and they just don't have any takers right? So for those guys, maybe a little bit of flexibility in terms of the total pricing and internal transfer pricing model, what would be ideal and those are the customers or organizations when I speak to them that I very strongly recommend focusing on creating a new transfer pricing model if possible and if need be, I help them create one.

51:15
Jakub:
Great. You did make our job very easy, since we didn't really have to ask everything, and you just said the right words. At the end, I think Patrick has one more question for you, right?

51:29
Patrick:
Yes. Yes. I have been told that if I do not ask you this, there will be consequences. So I heard that you have a history in professional poker.

51:40
Jan Länge:
Yes, absolutely.

51:41
Patrick:
I kind of wanted to know, how do you get into it and how does, if at all, does that help you with your job at the moment?

51:49
Jan Länge:
Okay, so, it's a very unconventional career path to take. I started playing professional poker when I was 18 years old, and at the time, I had dropped out of high school to do so. And then later on, I finished my high school degree and went to college and everything. But how did I get into it? I actually started playing at the kitchen table with friends and got better and better and better at it, and then eventually started playing smaller tournaments, which turned into bigger ones. And then actually the big break was when someone approached me and offered me a sponsoring deal, so I was scouted the old fashioned way. So the Cinderella story that picked up the girls, and that's how that started, it's a very fringe kind of career. It's very financially rewarding, but it's also very strenuous. So the travel gets it's very, very exhaustive. So you every two or three days to travel to a different location, to play a tournament you constantly are on the grind. You play for 8 or 9 hours a day, you have a break. If you get eliminated from a tournament, then you actually get to see the city where you're in. And there's a lot of like financial pressure because especially if you're dealing with the big leagues, you're playing with a lot of money. Sometimes you're sitting there and then you're playing, I don't know what sort of $1,000,000 or something like that. So even though it's not your money because you probably are sponsored, like it's my case, then it's still daunting because sometimes you're betting like the amount of like one or two houses like on a hand of cards. So it's a very surreal experience. And I would I would say that it does help me a lot with my job because so I got professional training during that time on let's say cold reading, physical programing, math and statistics and everything in that nature, right? So it helps me a lot to decode people, to know when people are being truthful or not truthful. So that helps me a lot. It tells me a lot in terms of negotiation. So I have to negotiate very often with people. And I think in the end, if I would boil poker down to one thing, it would be you find risk adjusted returns. But I always try to like reduce risk first and then maximize the return within that risk bracket. And I think that view, that analytical view of things help very well in what I do on a daily the daily business here at Celonis.

54:37
Jakub:
It's awesome.

54:38
Patrick:
That's great.

54:39
Jakub:
Jan, this was golden. I really, really appreciate you coming here and talking about all this stuff, not only about poker, obviously, but also about process mining and your role because we are really, really already done with the time. I will have to say thank you once again and for our listeners, thank you for listening to the episode today. I hope it brought you the value that we are trying to give you through our podcast. And if you have any questions, just reach out to us on miningyourbusinesspodcast@google.com and will be looking forward to the next episode. Patrick and Jan, thank you very much and cya.

55:20
Jan Länge:
Thank you, guys. Bye bye.

55:21
Patrick:
Thank you. Bye.

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Jakub Dvořák

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