Manuel Meindl currently is Product Lead for Process Intelligence at SAP Signavio, where he is leveraging process intelligence capabilities. He previously was a Senior Process Mining Consultant at Celonis.
Manuel Meindl from Signavio is joining the Mining your business podcast today talking us through what Signavio is, and why Business Process Management (BPM) not just Process Mining is critical in understanding how your business runs.
Welcome, welcome, welcome back to the Mining Your Business podcast, a show all about process mining, data science, and advanced business analytics. I am Patrick and with me as always my colleague Jakub, hi there.
Today's episode is all about what is Signavio? What is process management? And how does it help companies transform their business? Joining us today is Manuel Meindl from Signavio, all that coming up next.
Welcome to our podcast. Patrick, today we have yet another guest, Manuel Meindl. And before we go and talk to him, I actually have a question for you, Patrick. What do you know about BPM Business Process Management?
From what I can remember from university, very little.
But you didn't really study at process mining university, did you?
I did not, no no no.
So I assume that in biology they don't really talk about business process management, did they now?
No, not really specifically. So that was a topic that was skipped.
OK. All right. Luckily for us, Patrick, we do have an expert for business process management here. Manuel Meindl, an employee of Signavio and also a former employee of Celonis. Manuel, hi, welcome to our podcast.
Hello, both. It's nice to be here. Thanks for the invitation. Really great to be on the podcast and talk to you both.
Of course. So we obviously wanted to get you on the show because we feel like you have a unique view into the world of process mining. So for the benefit of our listeners and also ourselves, can you give us a little bit of a breakdown of your history of process mining and process management and how you got into it and where you ended up now?
Yes, sure. Absolutely. So actually my journey with processes, if you would call it because business process management and process mining, it's both part of processes, kind of, started actually at university. At university we were also using BPMN to draw some processes and to learn this location. Right. And also then I was doing an internship at a company and the draw the process in PowerPoint sites where I drew a process to document the process. That was my start with the whole process topic. And then actually after being done with studies, I thought, well, it was really nice to draw the processes just in a PowerPoint. But I mean, it's good to learn from those processes and to have your target to be process. Well, I heard about a company really which is able to mine the process and to get the actual process to see what is going on in system automatically, instantly and super easy to plug in and to, to use that. And that was then Celonis at the time. And that's what brought me after university actually to Celonis. And there I spent some time in customer success management first so for about one and a half years, I was in customer success management helping clients to use the software and to grow with Celonis in the process finding area and then switch to the process mining consulting area of Celonis and then also help clients more on the more technical side to use Celonis, to implement Celonis and particularly to realize value with Celonis so that was one topic where I tried to gain some expertize on.
First of all, I think we are all quite happy that we don't have to use PowerPoint anymore to mine processes. Anyway, my question would be, so what background did you come from? Where you a technical guy from the very beginning or where are you actually more on the business side as you learn how to use these tools and help your customers?
Yes. So I actually was on the pure business side, so I studied economics at university bachelor's and master's. So no technical background at all. Just I mean, the process that the professor I had at the time, one of the professors, he was just keen on that. Every economics student needs to have a decent technical background and he wanted to bring that over. He was also a former employee of SAP. And maybe that's the background as well. And that's where I at least learn something about processes, but not about programing or SQL or anything. And that was also the beginning, I mean, the challenge of Celonis, right? As even as a CSM at that time, you, you, you went into the software, you changed the dashboard or you had a decent understanding of the transformations.I needed to learn that, especially then as a consultant.
When you were the customer success manager, was that always a field that you wanted to get into? OK, I'm doing part of the analysis now, but I actually want to get into the actual act of process mining, the more technical side of it. Was that something that you had an interest for or how did that happen?
That was actually the reason why I moved from one department to another within Celonis. So at the time, in the early days, customer success was because Celonis was small and they were more general. The success managers were also working in the software, analyzing the process, identifying patterns in the process, then working with the solution. As the teams grew bigger, the customer success managers focused more on the clients, which is a good strategy for the customer success managers to grow the client, to foster, to build up a strategy with them. It's just that I personally I wanted to go more into using the tool itself as well and digging into the process itself also with the client, but also with the tool.
My question would then be like, what project did you work on while in Celonis and slowly slowly we will be transferring into your current position with Signavio, but I'm wondering like what kind of implementations very working on and what was your exact role while being then more on the technical side of the projects? Are you still more focused on value creation for your customers or where you really the engineer who was setting up the connections and digging in the data?
As a customer success manager, I was just responsible for a decent amount of customers there and then switching to consulting. I first took over this one topic of value realization and value creation, also with the workshops included within projects or outside of projects, of course, post implementation projects. So just this focus on this one topic, a lot of customers and workshop by workshop I was helping the clients. And then gradually moving into this more generic consulting role where still I had this focus on what the project management and value realization are. I would say I was I was the one who was able to roll out a standard process. So a standard P2P process with a template start the extractions and build up the dashboard. If it was about creating new events, defining something from scratch or implementing a process where no template is available, I guess my colleagues were and are better in that, by far.
That's fair enough, I would say. Well, then I'm kind of thinking is so you were working on these process mining projects and you then switched to Signavio and that's where it's getting interesting for us because we do talk about process mining a lot. And basically we have devoted already I think 14 previous episodes to process mining only. And now we have this Signabio, which is or some people could consider it the direct competitor of Celonis and you switch sides to Signavio. So now to me this gets very interesting. Could you maybe explain us what Signavio is and what do you do there?
Yes, the first question is actually what is Signavio about, right? So if you haven't heard of Signavio, I mean, that's fair enough. It's a software company based in Berlin, actually. A software company founded in 2009 and primarily was focused on process management. So it had its origin in process management where you could model basically your processes over time. Signavio expanded globally, and has now offices around the world, Singapore London, also Australia, and a lot of other destinations. Not only it expanded globally, but also extended technology wise. From a pure process management company to also offering a process mining solutions and also offering a workflow solution. So expanding also actually gradually into this process mining area.
Right? So when you have this process modelling, is this similar to what you were doing in your internship when you were drawing it out by hand? Or what can I think about when you're saying process management?
I mean, its core is similar, yes. So you would still talk with people and you would still map ABC and the connection between the two. And maybe you have an X because you have a loop or something that you want to define as optional test. Right. Just with Signavio and with the solution, with the BPMN solution, you have a much more extensive toolset where you can connect resources, you can tag people, you can interact you have versions, you can you have the full-fledged on this very topic. So I mean, PowerPoint, you would do it and you couldn't tag people, you couldn't you couldn't have resources like links where you assign people or PDFs, which you assign. So the full complexity of the software and the full feature set up the software is there, about process modelling itself.
When I was preparing for this interview with you, when I was reading into Signavio and checking what it's capable of, I couldn't help myself. Seeing the main difference between Celonis and Signavio as that when you are using Celonis process mining technology you basically go to your clients, you dig in the data and you show the process as-is. While, and I can completely understand that the difference is getting smaller and smaller and blurry. But I had a thought. I was thinking that maybe Signavio is going the other way around. First basically you sketch the process as it should be or as you are planning it or intending it to develop, and then you are kind of pushing into that way. Is this correct or am I completely wrong?
I partly agree on that. So that's one use case that we see at Signavio, to have the transformation structured in that way. So to start with the modelling and the definition and mining the process and compare that to each other but there are other use cases where it's just pure process modelling comes into play when the data isn't even available for process mining or in a company, you will think of purchasing process as you would know from process mining. It's the process to pay process basically. Right. But you have a lot of different facets of this process. So you have different levels, where you would say you have just three steps in your process to pay process if you have a very high level, but you have really small tasks in your process, even changing the price can exist of ten or fifteen process steps. And having those different levels and also having different topics in purchasing like supplier selection, other sub-processes and processes closely connected to purchase to pay. That's another use case where Signavio comes into play and models the entire landscape of processes and purchasing and then mines the core process where the client would say, well, in this process, I want to have also the data view and I think something is going wrong. Oh this is the process I have the data and it's a significant strategic process for me. But you have the full facet of all the processes you can model and you can dig into the very central processes with data.
Can I imagine that these levels that you talk about in your process model, can I imagine them like levels of abstraction where some users will only recognize the purchase to pay process in their one level, and yet they have these steps and these activities that they do in this level. And further down you have a different level of abstraction where it's relevant to some other user group that has to do this for this specific process, or am I off the mark?
Exactly. So that's the case. So Level Zero would be the company on the page, as we call it. You have the company on one page and you see your purchase to pay process order to cash page. So the supporting processes and it's just one page, right? And purchase to pay is just one step of everything, right? That's the level zero company on a page process. And you can then go into purchasing and you see step by step all of the, all the subsequent levels of your purchasing process. And then with process mining, you could connect to each of the levels if you want to. You could connect your KPIs and you go to your company on a page and you have a company on a page and there is one purchasing item and you see the traffic like this green or red purchasing because you have the data from PI and in order to cash, there's probably no data from PI. You'll have just your order to cash process, but you have your process models.
Ok, that, that makes a lot of sense. Ok, so what is the competitive advantage of using the BI tool this way or setting up your BI tool this way in comparisons to other BI tools or process mining technology such as Celonis.
I would say it always depends on the use case, definitely. So if you want to mine your one process and you want to optimize your process and the words optimize operational excellence, optimize this process as is process, I would say process mining PI as we as we call it, process intelligence, process mining is the go to tool. And you would say, well, I know my process and I just know my problems. I want to measure the magnitude of my problem and optimize that. Process mining is king, right? But if you want to transform your business across various processes and you would say, I want to go from one SAP solution to another one from the ECC to S4. If you want to transform from one level to another and not optimize within one level, you also have this advantage of process modelling there because you have a lot of different processes. You have your to-be process in your to-be target system and you can conformance check so you don't only have PI, you don't only have process modelling, you have the bridge and you can compare the two worlds.
Now we are getting my attention actually, this is interesting. I'm thinking how do you approach such a project because by what you are saying it seems like the topics that you are covering and let's say even systems and everything, it's huge, while when you are talking only about one process, you usually involve certain kind of people, certain themes, certain business themes. And now if you are talking about this business or process modelling, the scope is just much, much more bigger. How does a typical approach with such a project even look like? How do you go about it?
So it again depends here, but it depends on how you want, to let's say you want to migrate from one world of SAP to another world of SAP. If you want to really take what is there in your legacy system, and just improve your processes within your new system. Or you want to scrap everything that you have and you want to start new in a new world in a greenfield approach. So it depends on the scenario which one you want to take. But let's assume you want to take the brownfield approach so you have something in your legacy system, in your SAP system, and you think, well, my processes are good some of them are good, some of them are bad. I still want to take my purchase to pay process, but I want to get rid of a lot of different variants because over time we have some said transactions tables which we implemented some problems which we just created over time. Right? And that's when you can on the one hand then go into your to be process in your as forward, you can model that because you have your template from SAP for model, but you need to adjust it in Signavio in your model. So you adjust your S4 model, you can define your personal brownfield to be process in S4 and even then, if you want to, you can connect the I to your as is process and map your brownfield S4 adapted model and do the conformance check or even once you have connected your new system, your branch in your system, you can do again your conformance check, right? So you check if your new system with your brownfield approach is actually running as it should be.
Could you also give us some general summary of how does this actually work from technical perspective? So in process mining, we know we are always focusing on this one item, that one item, be it an invoice or as we explain in our earlier episode, a coffee bean that's basically going from place A to place B and whatever happens to it on the way is going to be tracked in this process. So you can see the deviations, you can see the bottlenecks and so on and drill into them in a smaller scale, but also on a global scale, which is awesome. What do you do from a technical perspective when you are doing business or process modelling.
So the steps or the granularity is actually pretty, pretty similar. You just need if you want to use process modelling in combination with PI, you just need to align the level, right? So you need to align somewhat that also process modelling, you are modelling the purchase to pay process, not company on a page because then you couldn't compare your company on a page with your order to cash purchase to pay process with your single beans, which go through the process. Right? So you need to understand that person modelling the process. You get your, your models, the templates from SAP, your models that they are at a decent level at the similar level which are purchase to pay process and process mining, you still can map various activities. So you would say, well, I have a more granular level in my process mining process. I have create purchase order, send purchase order. But in my model I just have sending purchase order because maybe the creation is just a technical step up front. You can still map multiple events on one model event, right? But if you have a very different level, the one is company on a page and the other one is your process mining process, it will fail but overall, the approach would be similar. You would still do like the normal process mining, right? But in combination with your model that you set up before and then compare and that's just the central part of your project then. Right? You can do it also aside when you don't want to migrate from one system to another, you can always do your conformance checking. But there the target would be to do process mining in combination with process management for comparing how well your migration went.
So when customers come to you, what sorts of issues are they hoping that you fix for them or solve for them? What are they looking for you to do?
So there are various groups of customers. I mean, there are those customers who are interested in pure process mining as well. And we deliver process mining capabilities there. Similar to what you're used to from other vendors, right? So optimizing the purchase to pay process, probably a plant maintenance process. But we also have clients who want to actually transform their business, especially from one system to another, like in the migration phase of moving from Oracle to SAP or from SAP sales cloud to Salesforce so switching from system to systems and transforming the business, that's a central use case for us.
I think you already answered this question by just talking about the differences and about how the tools in general complement each other. But I really liked when we contacted you that we shouldn't really focus on what is better, but rather how can process management complement the process mining. How do you see these two worlds these two tools coexist in one company?
I would say it's always something like a decision tree, which you should set up for yourself in a company. And you would say, Do I have the data for even visualizing the process? If not, well, the only the only way is process modeling. Because a lot of those things are happening on paper. If you have the data, you should ask yourself, do I want to optimize this one process or do I want to go broad and transform various processes? And if you want to transform various processes, you would do both. So you would model some of the processes you would mine others and you would combine modeling and mining for the crucial ones where you think you have a big gap between reality.
Does it often happen that companies will model their processes, but it will not actually look like the reality at all. So they have an idea or they have this image of what the process looked like, but the reality is far from the truth.
Yes, definitely 100%. You just need to then differentiate with the client. Is it because just a notation or the understanding of the process is different because the one person responsible at the client is modeling a process and he starts just somewhere totally else because he doesn't have the thinking of process mining where you follow an object and it starts with a purchase order and it ends probably with the payment of the invoice because if he's also modeling the supplier selection before that, probably, you know, so all those different steps in your process but if that's the case, if the person understands that it should model the process on a decent similar level as, as I mentioned before, like it is done mining the process, it still can happen that you have huge gaps in your process and that's where it gets interesting where you need to talk to the client and need to understand the system actually because you want to actually heal the system, understand the root cause and fix it in probably in SAP, the system because maybe just something in the settings is set up in the wrong way and the people still think it's going like, like it was documented by a SAP 20 years ago, like it's in the templates basically but actually someone leaving the company ten years ago just switched on the automating factor for, dunning your supplier and that's why dunning is not happening, but it's still on the models.
Yeah. And not to even mention the custom transaction codes and so on.
Yeah, I agree on that. So that was, I think that was never vetted by and still it exists every, like everywhere in every company.
So what so I'm assuming there's some sort of big validation phase where the process is modelled and then you actually go ahead and look at the data and see what's actually happening to compare it. This is the reality. This is the thing that we modelled. How do we get one to conform to the other or vice versa?
Exactly. Yes. So that's part of the story. But also the modelling is not just used for this conformance check, but also in the beginning of, if you say you want to just do a pure PI process mining project, but you don't know the process pretty good with the client, you can also model your process in your process model to use it as a resource for you to define the events. So you would say, OK, what are my events in my custom process? The client gives you ten events and your model the process with the client, you attach the information of the timestamps, the table is visually in your process model and you're halfway done with your data collection with your requirements engineering. Right. But actually in the conformance phase as mentioned by you, that's exactly the case. You would understand the violations, define your extra. Either you redefine your process model because just someone designed it in a wrong way and the actual process is right. All you need to really fix it by switching off some variance in your system.
I am wondering what is your exact role as a Signavio consultant in this chain? So you only implement the process and you are basically showing them where are the gaps or are you also actively participating on closing those gaps?
So on the one hand, I personally, I am a PI consultant at Signavio, so a process mining consultant. So I'm mostly focused on this process mining piece, but I leverage from my colleagues in the same project because there is a consultant, a process manager consultant also on the project and the engagement leads stepped on, on the project, overseeing the whole initiative. We are supporting on the one hand the clients rolling off the software and identifying the topics. But also now with this recent acquisition of SAP. So Signavio is not Signavio anymore, but owned by SAP. We have a lot more resources and knowledge and capabilities on at least on this system SAP, where we have a consultant from SAP anywhere in the organization knowing how to fix it.
From us, from our point of view, we are data engineers, right? How do we as data engineers influence or what is our role as data engineers in the process management side?
So on the one hand, it's not being the entire expert on process management, but still being able to model decent a process model. So I would say I never want to be the 100% expert in process modelling, because we have colleagues for that. They are not as technical as I am, but they are really good in business and in consulting the clients strategically and they know the software in and out, so the process modelling piece of Signavio, for example. But I as a PI consultant, I feel like I need to have a decent understanding of that to leverage that within my implementation first. When I want to do process mining and I want to derive the process from unknown processes as mentioned. My processes timestamps, the tables or later on, but also doing the conformance checking to understanding and also maybe changing the process a bit by doing this conformance check and recommending some action steps.
So it seems to me that the process management is again much bigger scope than in the process mining. And then my question is how does a typical project look like? So let's say that a customer approaches you, Signavio, that they want to do the process management implementation. There are parts that are focusing on the process mining. There are part that are focusing on the modelling. How does the whole framework for such a project of this magnitude where I can imagine dozens of different people with different backgrounds are or have to necessarily be involved, how does it look like?
So on that just to proclaim of that that I'm just recently new at Signavio, so don't take my answer for fully granted. There are experts on the process management side as well as process modelling, and they know how to actually set up this in core and the collaboration hub which is also a feature bringing everything together like the start page, you would say, of a product. So you enter the collaboration up and you jump into the one solution or the other or the next one and you can go up to stage two. But, but still the process would look as follows, so that the customer buys the software based full suite. So that's what we called it, the suite. with the modelling workflow and the process mining or process intelligence part. And then at first the whole collaboration hub is being set up. So the central entry points, this is the entry point for all of our clients, right? The start page and then actually it's defined which processes do you want to even transform, which, for example, migrate from a system to another? Is it the whole is it the whole SAP system because you can model also other processes, right? So of course you can model the Salesforce process, but you only want to transform your SAP system property. So the scope is defined for the modelling and for the PI or process mining side. And then the colleague of the process modelling consulting area comes in and models a lot of different processes with the client. And that by a lot I mean also with the client himself because the client usually wants to, to take up that effort, because it's not as technical as process mining. So we see the adoption is quicker because it's just more business oriented. Models, let's say for plant maintenance process which I was seeing as my last project at Signavio. Models I would say 15 or 20 different processes and that's just the baseline because it was just introduced so 20 different processes for plant maintenance or the whole make to order process there as they call it. And then one of those processes should resemble to our future planned PI project. So my colleague makes sure that well one of them you can use data for conformance check. So make sure that you follow the actual objects. So the maintenance order in this process is good when you model it. So we have one of those model there, and then I come in and I take this already as a requirement essentially because I have the events already and I tag the different time stamps with the same people or with the data process people, the process step and then implement process mining and then jointly together with the colleague modelling this and with the client, we sit down together, have a look at the conformance and analyse why some variance nonconforming take longer than the model or just the wrong sequence missing some additional steps.
OK, so once you do these conformance checks, once you have your process implementation, your process intelligence implemented. So in the process mining sense that you do I'm assuming conformance is not just one part of it, but what else can Signavio do in the process mining space that can give some value to the customer.
The normal mining, how to say, the mining functionalities of getting your data and visualizing you have your variant explorer, process explorer, whatever the different solutions might call it, that's one functionality, an additional functionality there that comes with this, for example, this company on a page that I was referring to, you can take your insights so you can take your metrics KPIs from PI, you can push them to other views in your Signavio solutions. So you log in to Signavio, you have your company on a page and you see order to cash is green, but HR has 3 different metrics. One is green cycle time is probably green, but application rate or any rate is red. And I can go into this HR process and I click on this HR process level zero and I go in and I see the different levels being modelled and probably as I have the KPI also one PI process. So you have this strong connection between PI and process management that we can leverage.
So you essentially create KPIs in these various processes with process intelligence and then push them into the process management to kind of give an overall view of what the company on the page looks like.
Ok, so in terms of the process mining, why would people choose Signavio over any other process mining tool?
I mean, as it's strongly integrated into that process modelling and usually solely process mining optimizes your process but doesn't transform your whole organization or brings your process to the next level. And you want to define your to be processed somewhere not just optimize your price changes as a really granular thing can add a lot of value, of course, the price changes as an example, but it's just optimizing pieces by pieces in your process. You want to connect it with the process modelling and you want to connect it with a with a bigger story with transforming your business. And that's where Signavio comes into play with providing the whole suite on that and then also having the solution with workflows, probably. If you want to set up a workflow and you want to act upon that and give approval workflows there, that's also part of the game.
OK, so essentially you have your processes and now you're filling them with the big picture, you're filling them with context as in your KPIs. So you have a lot of context for on one side and how that's one possible effect here can also affect some other part of the business and things like that.
Fantastic. So how are partners involved? I saw on your web page when I did some research on this topic that you have also a sort of partner management. Can you tell me a little bit about what that means?
Yes, so partners are similar to previous companies, I would say, where workflow involved in the whole process. So we have sales partners, so parting clients in choosing the different products and in some instances doing a POC and in some instances Signavio is the right fit for this client. So they, so they co sell our software basically and also then subsequently implement the software. So that means for process modelling, setting up the process modules, assisting the client, there defining the to be process and they can then go further not just the modelling piece but also optimize the process with the client because you don't want one foot in the door, right? Joint forces with Signavio, but you model a much bigger scope with the client. You see process optimization potentials in your 15 plant maintenance process is probably one of them is by mining and the others is by process management. And then you can do your subsequent projects there. So we have sales partners, but also on the delivery side partners who help us or who co take overall, so do take over also the implementation of modelling, mining or just doing other projects aside of us like optimization based on Signavio.
So basically somehow a similar model to what Celonis is offering with their partners. So maybe, maybe in one day we might also join in on a project together with Signavio.
I would fully support that. And yeah, also also Patrick knows about that.
Yes, I do. I do.
Yeah. As I've heard, you worked on the project before together. So you know each other.
We go back, we go back. So let me ask you the following. What in your opinion, does the Signavio Partnership or acquisition by SAP mean for Signavio?
Yes. So on the one hand, it's a huge, huge boost for us to be on the central stage of a lot of sea levels that say like the attention of a lot of sea levels. I mean, because, as we were talking before the podcast about, hey, what is Signavio actually about, right? And that comes for a reason. Signavio is known within the process management field, but probably not within all sea levels. Right. But with the SAP acquisition, we have access to a huge market on the one hand. So that's on the market side, but also on the product side Signavio was bought for a reason, I guess. And the reason is because on the one hand, as this process mining capability, which not a lot of software companies have in the market. Well, there are software companies having this process mining capability, but also have this large transformation suite being available. And it means for us, Signavio, that SAP will invest a lot in our solution and closely integrate that. And I would think to that extent that probably even for the SAP system, probably in the future, extractions are not even necessary to do process mining. You can do that on the system then if you just have the SAP system.
It is a definitely high bar for well, I would say both Celonis and Signavio there because the competition and I mean we are just at the bottom of that as the implementation engineers, but the competition is getting stark and it's going to definitely be interesting seeing how does this, I would say pushes the whole process mining field and business process management forward because it's something that's really, really cool watching how it's growing. And as you were saying, Manuel, all those years back, you are just doing the visualization in PowerPoint and now you have a whole suite where you are going basically from a very, very granular level with process mining itself ,going all the way to the one page for the whole company where you see all those processes separately from each other. But slowly wrapping up the episode, would you have some recommendation for a company who is, let's say, at the beginning of this process journey in general, who has grown over the years and is getting to the point where the processes are not including five people only anymore, but it's really, really at this point where it's getting over complicated. And let's say management is interested in optimization, but also overall development. Would you, let's say, start first with process mining or would you maybe already go to the process management or how would you even go about it? What would you decide if you were part of management of this company?
So the decision for management in my point of view, which would then be do I want to optimize my current process in a specific area so I know, well my company is going well. I'm the CEO of the company of 2000 employees and I think my company is doing well. I have the feeling, let's say, but I know in purchasing they are complaining a lot because in purchasing we have problems the suppliers don't supply on time, the rest is fine, production still can cope with it and sales is doing even better. And all the supporting functionalities so I want to optimize my purchase to pay process in one central core area of my processes. I know my suppliers are not delivering on time, right? So I want to optimize that. I would say then go for process mining on purchase to pay process. If you would say we have a really old system, for example, or we have the system and we do not use it to the full extent, not even migrating. It's not always about migrating from A to B, but you have your system and you don't fully leverage it. You think you have problems here and there and here and in a lot of different processes and you think it's not just about optimizing one piece there, then I would say it's a combination of process management or process modelling and process mining there to transform your business and bring it to another level, right? Probably within your system, probably with some side cause of your core ERP system that you need an extension, something or even within your ERP system.
So once you have the modelling and the mining and they're working in tandem and you're getting lots of insights, what do you think would be the next step for customers to take once they have these KPIs in front of them?
So the next step is on. I mean, on the one hand, to optimize those KPIs on a granular level, of course, that's what the optimization part is. If if it's not optimization, but a transformation to really have a look at the market and not just define your small use case, but analyse, well, I need to check with SAP again because the whole process is screwed, and I have identified that and I need to find out how the dunning works. But I also want to consult Salesforce for a PO. So I think that the actions for the projects which have process modelling and process mining in combination are bigger ones than process mining itself, because process mining is about smaller but valuable. I don't want to diminish process mining. And we also do process mining as a single implementation, right? It's not always about the speed and everything, but process mining as a single thing, is about smaller things with a lot of value, whereas the whole combination is about transforming your business.
Absolutely. Absolutely. So is there something because we talked about the, you know, the competitive nature and the acquisition of the SAP gives you more resources. So I'm wondering, is there something that is in the works for Signavio for the next step, for the next big thing in process management or process mining that will help customers further along in their business transformation.
The one thing is, as I mentioned, integrating the solution as close as possible to SAP, right? So to have this connection, to also close the gap in the PI area because Celonis is the market leader in the PI area and has set the standard there in some areas with process mining. And Signavio with the help of the SAP resource wants to close this gap as fast as possible in the process mining area to then also connect process mining and process modelling even further to link that even further together. So I would say it's closing gap to the top leaders in process mining, integrating to SAP even while process is still being agnostic to other systems. That's the that's the goal.
So we better watch our back and maybe diversify our portfolio of our partners or the companies we work with, shouldn't we Patrick?
Diversification is always good. Every software company has its market, and I would guess that from today until tomorrow everything will change or anyone will feel that. But it's just again, another big player in the market also growing the process mining market because now also companies hear about process mining and process modelling, which haven't been heard before because they didn't know Celonis. And now with SAP having the solution, it's just also extending the market. So I mean, there is space for not just one or two vendors, but I would guess five plus players.
All right. Patrick, I don't know about you, but I have much better understanding of process management now than I had 45 minutes ago.
Absolutely. And I hope that our listeners will as well. This was very enlightening, thank you. Thank you for clearing up lot of the questions that we have, Manuel. Thank you.
And before we let you go, what we usually do with our guests, we ask them about something good and something bad that they had experienced throughout the years and in the project that they have been working on. So I would say the same question goes for you as well. Would you a recall of something that didn't go as well as planned in your projects before and something that actually turned out to be very, very cool and very good?
Yes. So maybe I start with the bad one to then end with a good story at the end, Thinking, thinking about that. So both stories actually are around the time when I was mostly responsible for this value realization part that's on the step. And the bad story was we once had a client where I mean, I had the feeling that already the preparation of this whole workshop and it's not just a workshop, it's the whole project, I would say. If someone just hearing the word workshop, their value creation workshop would think it's a workshop but most of the part is done in the preparation, right? Identifying the use cases, calculating business cases and validating them. I had a feeling from the very beginning that it might be a challenge there because in the first kick-off call I was showing like a example business case there and the client already was like, this is super dangerous, what you're showing us. And if this reaches management, we are screwed, etc. And I was just explaining, well, this is an example, right? And I want to discuss with you what we want to do, if you agree. And they were like on the brink of leaving the call already, in the kick-off call. And I thought, OK, this might be a challenge and then over the preparation time I had still the feeling and it wasn't a good preparation for the workshop. And then we went to the workshop, and we refined still the use cases in the workshop because the preparation wasn't perfect. Usually, we want to have them prepared before. So we had the preparation there still on day one, and on day two of the CPO joined the results presentation and well, the colleagues at the client, they were quite happy about these findings, because they also worked there. They engaged a bit. They opened up, I would say, and then the CPO saw that and said like and now you have shown me that two years ago when I bought the software now and then we said, well, now you need to use it and fix it. But well, no one is fixing things. You are not fixing things. And he was really complaining and really shouting and escalating. And it was really not against us as a vendor, but their own people. Because they don't change something in the process. And it was really an argument between all the parties, like the VP, the CPO and everyone. And we were just sitting there listening and then we left, and the whole workshop with like, well, what was that? So I mean, three months later or so the CPO was just changed. So I don't know why, maybe not because of that meeting, but I mean, maybe he already was not having a good time and just wanted to leave the company, probably. But it was a bad experience for me at least. But at the same workshop kind of type, I also had a really, really good experience where also the preparation went well, then in an accounts payable process. So the client listened to my recommendations in the beginning, what we need to do, they really followed the whole path until the workshop. And then we had a really good workshop. So I would say we identified a lot of things there and they did the follow up. And then three months later, I did a call in with the client and I asked them, how much did you realize of that? I'm just curious because the, the workshop went well, so I had the feeling they wanted to buy something and they said, Yeah, well, we had a follow up. We validated the topic of early payments again and we stumbled across something where validating that because we did another value creation workshop based on based on your material. Then we trained the people to be helping the others. And then we identified that the cash discount, the setting was not set up. And in the US the whole system, the US and well it was about 700,000 and then the CSM asked like, well was this the, the invoice value that we are talking about? And then they said like no it was just the cash discount now. And now we can take the cash discount and it's just not even a year of data but half a year or nine months of data. So we will save around 1 million, and it wasn't a large company. So that's, I mean you have to put that into perspective. If you talk about, I don't know, large company is guilty or anything. Of course 1 million is still good. But if you talk about a company with less than 20,000 employees, that's even better. And I was really happy because it wasn't like I wasn't finding the money there, but the client was finding the money because we were, we were fixing them.
You gave them the tools and they managed to find $1,000,000 in savings by themselves. That's fantastic.
In a year, exactly.
Sounds very, very familiar. This kind of commercial. This is great. Well, I'm very happy we invited you here because first of all I before the call, I didn't really know much about Signavio to be completely honest. Now I am a bit more educated, so thank you for that. What I would say is that Patrick, I think we will need another episode with someone who has also another experience with process management. And this is for me personally, this is a bit on a covert topic yet. So we definitely have to dig more into that, but we will get into that in future episodes. For this one, this is a wrap. So Manuel, thank you very much for coming to the show.
Thanks a lot. Thanks for the invitation. It was really great discussing with you the whole topic and I mean also seeing familiar faces, partners, which I have only in good mind from Celonis times. It was really great and if any time soon you need someone from the network in your podcasts. I mean. not having the same people twice at a podcast. so anyone close in the network where I can help, just feel free to approach me.
That sounds fantastic, Manuel.
That's a great offer. Thank you very much. And for the rest of you, for our listeners, thank you for your time today. As always, you can write to us with any feedback, any comments, any questions to email@example.com You can also find us on our Processand website and as usual, we will be looking forward to hearing or to talking to you with the next episode of Mining Your Business podcast. Patrick, Manuel, thank you very much and talk to you later.
Thank you, bye.
Thank you. Bye.
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