Episode 1

Who are we and what do we do?

February 17, 2021
Mining Your Business

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Episode Content

In this initial episode we give you an introduction into who we are. Patrick and Jakub will take you through what we actually do as Process Mining Data Scientists and how we got here.

Transcript

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

00:12
Jakub:
Hey, Patrick.

00:14
Patrick:
So on today's episode, we will be talking about who we are, who Processand is, and, of course, the best parts about working here. Stay tuned.

00:22
Jakub:
Welcome to our podcast. This is our first episode in the podcast called Mining Your Business. I'm here with Patrick, my co-host. And yeah, this is actually a very big moment for us. We've been talking about having a podcast in our company for quite some time now, and I'm very happy that we finally, you know, managed to come up with something and actually put the ideas together and come up with a show where we will solely focus on process mining and data science and advanced business analytics. Just as you heard in our intro and so today I have here actually, as usual, Patrick with me, my co-host, who was also my colleague from the company Processand, and by that, Patrick, welcome and thank you for doing the show with me man.

01:15
Patrick:
Of course, Jakub, I am very excited as well. We've been planning this for quite some time, actually. So I'm really excited to actually kind of get this to fruition and kind of get some episodes going.

01:28
Jakub:
Yeah. Patrick So before we even get into what Processand is and what are we going to talk about in the future? I think we owe it to our listeners introduction of ourselves. So who are you and why are you even talking here to me, man?

01:46
Patrick:
Yeah, good question. So I am Patrick. I am Austrian, but born in Germany and through all my life, kind of moved around throughout Europe, Belgium, England, and what have you. And then I got my my inkling to do I.T related stuff after my university degree in biotech and started studying again. I did informatics. And during that time, I started working at Airbus. I just kind of developed a sense of what, like, big corporations do and what inefficiencies you know, there is and yada, yada. So queue to 2019, looking for work. I stumble upon this job from Processand and I didn't actually really know what Processand did because our website back then was not as informative as it is now.

02:45
Jakub:
Yeah. We did not promote ourselves very well back then.

02:48
Patrick:
Yeah, exactly. I saw the website and I said, this sounds interesting, at least from all what it said. So I applied and a couple of months later I started. So yeah, that was a little bit of a history of me.

03:07
Jakub:
When you were starting and applying for the job, did you have any idea what process mining was?

03:14
Patrick:
Absolutely none. Absolutely none. I knew kind of what mining stuff out of digital medium was in a way. But what process mining was? No idea, honestly.

03:28
Jakub:
But you do know very well now, don't you?

03:30
Patrick:
Well, seeing as it is my job to implement it, yes. I would say I have a pretty good grasp on the concept. Yeah. Well, now it's your turn, Jakub. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

03:43
Jakub:
So as you can hear from my accent, I haven't spent any time in England as Patrick did. I'm actually from Czech Republic. My history - I studied engineering, electro technical engineering. I went from cybernetics and robotics to smart buildings where I actually had my first job, which was collecting data from buildings. So it was interesting in, let's say, input into data mining in general, but didn't really prepare me for what process mining had in up in its sleeve. And yeah, I moved to Germany short after I finished and completed my university studies. And I found a job in the same company as you did just a couple of years earlier.

04:30
Patrick:
Yeah. So let me stop you right there. So what year did you actually move to Munich?

04:35
Jakub:
You know, family reasons. My girlfriend really wanted to study in Munich, and so I was like, oh, well, well, well, why not? It's not that far from Prague anyway, so we moved. Definitely interesting. Always interesting to actually travel around to Europe and find out new places where to live. And it's very exciting to me to even be here in this position and have this opportunity.

04:58
Patrick:
Yeah. So you joined the Processand team when?

05:03
Jakub:
Oh man, I think was 2017 or 2018, I think 2018 actually. Back then we were still brand new company. Honestly, I was a second employee, after our colleague Simon, who's probably listens to this. Hi Simon. And it was very different from what it is now. We were back then a very small company, only with two founders and one very early co-founder, let's say. And I was a second full time employee. And yeah, we were just a small startup making our way in a big company world, which was pretty cool.

05:47
Patrick:
Yeah. So that kind of already leads us to our next topic, I guess we're speaking about the company, so that already kind of covers the first question, you know, how how did it all start? How did you start within that company? And you know, what were the first projects like? I mean, we've developed quite some time.

06:07
Jakub:
Yeah, for sure. So as far as I know, two of our founders, Thomas and Andreas, who started this company quite early, I think 2017 or so. They used to be working for Celonis, which is today the biggest mining company worldwide. And they were one of the early employees and they saw this potential for consulting in process mining. So they thought, well, why not actually start our own company? Because it seems that Celonis will probably have lots of work in the future. And the off sourcing of projects actually seems like a good business, so that they did. They also took over one other employee, Nicolas, who is also still with us and they started their business with the first projects. Basically that's everything to it. And we and back then then we were very successful. I'm very proud to say that our customers were always happy with the work that we delivered. And we grew and grew and grew. And actually today thanks to our growth, I can talk to you, but we also have a couple of colleagues in Taiwan where we have another branch and we are soon planning a launching an office in US. So it's actually very exciting stuff. And when I was starting here, it's actually an interesting story. So I was literally going from boiler rooms in somewhere east Czech Republic where I was working on collecting the data from like heating rooms and so on. And essentially within a span of a couple of months, I upgraded, if you want to call it an upgrade, it definitely is a big change. From all the boiler rooms in the middle of nowhere to working with the top companies across Europe, which was extremely exciting and I found myself going to first client in Amsterdam after couple of months working with the company. So it was really, really cool for me. Both on professional and personal level.

08:20
Patrick:
Yeah. So that's a that's a big shift in outlook, right? So you're in some sweaty boiler room and all of a sudden you're in big meetings with people in suits. That's got to be a little intimidating.

08:33
Jakub:
It was, honestly, especially because I was similar to you and I didn't know much about process mining back then, so I knew how to work with data. But that was it.

08:43
Patrick:
Yeah, that's, that's an interesting start. So I guess what was what has changed the most, you think, from back then to what Processand is now?

08:55
Jakub:
Well, I think we can look at it from two different perspectives. So first of all, about our company as a whole. So we are growing, we are very international and I know it's a big buzzword and every company wants to have these pictures where there are people from all kinds of world. And I'm very happy that we are actually it. So we are people not only from Europe, but as I said, we have colleagues from Taiwan. And I mean, you are from Austria. I'm from Czech Republic, and this makes me very proud of the whole environment we work in. And I think you you will agree with me on this one.

09:27
Patrick:
Absolutely. It's kind of like the the European dream in a way that you can live and work wherever, move around, find a nice company, that that you like, that kind of has similar values to you. So I think that's fantastic. That's actually one of the better things. When I was actually doing the interview and then on my first days just realizing, everyone has such a diverse background and their family history or where they come from and everything is so diverse and so rich. It's such a nice environment to work in.

10:01
Jakub:
Yeah. So the topic is always on the table, as always. Yeah. And then the second dimension of this whole progress is basically where we are going as a company or you know, where the process mining is going. So Celonis, even within the time that I have been with Processand and so on, our main partner, with whom we work with the most has also shifted drastically since the beginning. So they also started as a small startup in Munich, I think in 2012 or maybe even earlier and since then they became this, this bright unicorn on the business market. So just neing next to them as a part of this whole story or success story of a third company is exciting in its essence.

10:55
Patrick:
Yeah, for sure. So we can kind of also mimic that growth because I think speaking with our marketing departments, I learned that in 2020 we had a 90% growth in our company.

11:09
Jakub:
Oh really, 90%?Even despite Corona and everything.

11:14
Patrick:
Even despite Corona.

11:15
Jakub:
That's something new to me. So thank you for this information you just shared with me. That's pretty cool.

11:21
Patrick:
Yeah. Yeah. I thought it was interesting. So exciting times, exciting times ahead for sure. So coming into the actual business of Processand. What do we actually do that is one of the main questions that people ask me when they ask me: "What do you do?"

11:38
Jakub:
What do you tell them?

11:40
Patrick:
I have a few kind of things that I like to say, but one of my favorites is that I'm a detective, like I'm a data detective. Right? So we can kind of trace back a certain object within a company and just kind of see its history and see what it did, see what it got up to and kind of where it ended up. Kind of like I think of some sort of a detective in that way, you know, a forensics, if you will.

12:12
Jakub:
Should I call you Sherlock from now on?

12:14
Patrick:
Yes, please do. I'll wear the hat, I promise. My question to you, what do we what do we do? What does Processand do?

12:25
Jakub:
So first of all, I'll say that we are planning to do a big episode on the process mining and what it actually is in our second part. Just to give you my idea of what process mining is. Well, first of all, I didn't really know when I was starting out. I have a bit better idea as well right now. And what I usually tell the people is like a story with a coffee bean. So I'm quite passionate coffee drinker. And if you imagine a single coffee bean and how it's coming from, basically it's growing and then it's somehow harvested and processed and then it's shipped across the globe. Right? And you can look at the process mining at the very same way. So there are these huge companies that are doing very big business, selling a lot of stuff or purchasing a lot of stuff. And generally there are a lot of things that you can measure and look at and every single thing is represented in this case by the bean and then what you can do is take some electronic information from this bean and you can trace everything that happened to it from the very beginning until the very end. And that's something usually that helps my friends understand what I actually do.

13:41
Patrick:
That's actually a really good metaphor.

13:43
Jakub:
I saw it on an add from Celonis, so it's not really just from my head, but I really like it. And now I'm gonna say it's from my own head.

13:51
Patrick:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, you can take credit. That's fine. So in a way, we can kind of trace a whole bunch of things about that bean, right? So the how long it took from planting the seed all the way to actually harvesting the bean until it's actually shipped and all kinds of metrics based on time.

14:11
Jakub:
Exactly. And if you think about it, essentially the whole globe, the whole world is kind of a process. So you can look at yourself as a process for the day, and then you can basically sample it by each day and look at your patterns throughout the year, which is a big brother scenario. But it's, you know, you could you could theoretically do that.

14:34
Patrick:
Yeah, I don't want to know my my KPIs, my procrastination KPIs.

14:37
Jakub:
Patrick, I see a really big potential for improvement in your afternoon working hours so let's talk about it. I see you are recording a podcast while you should be working. I don't think this is the way forward.

14:53
Patrick:
Well, you know, if you look at it through that lens, then I could say the same to you.

14:58
Jakub:
Patrick, what do you actually like about your job? Do you actually like working as a data scientist, which is a very nice word for what we do, right? We are more like consultants. But I also say data scientists. It sounds very good.

15:12
Patrick:
Yeah.

15:13
Jakub:
What do you like about your job?

15:17
Patrick:
Well, there's two aspects to that answer. So I used to work in some small company putting data from one website into our system all day and day out and day in and day out. It was very menial. But I liked working there solely because of the people, right? The people that I was with, the environment and all that stuff. So in that sense, the people here are great I love the team, I love the atmosphere, how helpful people are and whatnot. The second part is the actual content of the work that I do. And there it's also pretty good. I really like it. I am I find myself in calls with people and they're telling me about their business, kind of how they do and gives you such an insight into what companies actually do all day, what their main businesses, what they focus on. So it's kind of interesting to kind of get a glimpse of a companies inner working from a whole broad spectrum of industries. I think that's really interesting. So it's a combination of a good topic a good, a good work experience in that way. And also just the colleagues themselves are just a blast to be around.

16:34
Jakub:
So a big thumbs up for any colleague that's listening to this podcast. Thank you, guys, we love you guys.

16:40
Patrick:
Yeah, thumbs up from us.

16:41
Jakub:
Is there something you actually don't like about the job?

16:46
Patrick:
Well, if Thomas is listening, then it's just that I don't get to do it enough, you know?

16:49
Jakub:
Yeah, of course. And if he's not?

16:53
Patrick:
Yeah, well, loads. Let me give you a list. Generally sometimes it gets a bit frustrating because there are obviously deadlines and stuff, but you know, we're waiting on some information and you know, kind of the old emails and things like that can kind of get in the way of actually doing actual work. So the uneccesary emails and the constant meetings and things can get a little much at times, but it's okay.

17:20
Jakub:
Yeah, I get it. That's, you know, always a downside for every job that you get to do.

17:27
Patrick:
Yeah, for sure. For sure. There's a positive and negative on the other end. So what about you? There's something that you particularly find fascinating about the job that we do?

17:38
Jakub:
I would also say colleagues, but I would probably start with the level of independence that this job gives me. So essentially the way we work in our company, we work pretty much project based. So we have a customer, we have a process to implement. We take it as our whole. And basically we are the people who are responsible for the delivery and for the success of the project. And I can't stress enough of how much I love this independence of being the one in charge and responsible for the good delivery. I mean, you always have someone to lean on, you always have help from your colleagues who can give you a hand in case you are struggling with anything but just the overall independence that you can do whatever you want to do and whatever you deem necessary or important and organize your project around it. So I also used to actually work in a corporate before I was an employee of Siemens while I was studying in a division of building technologies. And honestly, this is quite the opposite of what I was doing in there. So in Siemens, I usually had to ask for approval for anything and I mean anything. And I know everybody hates bureaucracy and I am no exception. And this difference that might not actually be cost only by the process mining itself, but by the structure of our company and by the fact that we are still able to say young and starting and a company that's aspiring to get bigger. So this actually enables us to do it the way we want.

19:23
Patrick:
I mean, do you see that do you see that changing in the future?

19:27
Jakub:
Oh, I would love to say no, but we need to work on the internal processes, if you will, so that we manage this way of working forward.

19:41
Patrick:
Right. Good. So I would also like to say that the independence, like you said, is definitely good. It kind of gives you so much responsibility about the how well you deliver that project and you are solely responsible in that way for making sure that the customer has all the things that they need and all that, it's a lot of responsibility. And at the end of the day, that's why when you successfully complete a project, it feels very good, right? Because look at all the things that you just accomplished.

20:13
Jakub:
I mean, we are millennials. I assume that you are as well. And if you if you look right, if you always see those when people are asked by some H.R. consultants what is important for them in their working lives, you see the differences between certain ages or certain generations. And I'm pretty sure that in our generation of millennials and people of age around 30, it's usually the authenticity. And basically to be your own, be a boss kind of thing. So that's definitely cool. And I really, really enjoy it.

20:53
Patrick:
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. All right, switching gears here.

20:59
Jakub:
Yeah, I yeah, I actually had a very good question from my girlfriend who asked me if we could have a question here in our podcast. What is the overall impact of our job? Do you feel like you're contributing to, I don't know, a better world, better environment or whatever and I know this is kind of a high level question, but still.

21:23
Patrick:
Well, at the end of the day, you're right. We go into a company, we see kind of what their pain points are, kind of what they want to improve. And so hopefully we leave the project knowing that they have a direction where they want to go, how they can better themselves as a company, focus on specific tasks, implement those, and kind of help them grow, help them reduce costs. And those types of things. And at the end of the day, having a business being successful is obviously a good thing, right? There's more people employed. You know, they have a bigger impact on whatever they are doing. And, you know, that is obviously a good impact.


22:06
Patrick:
It's on the other hand, of course, we need to make sure that if they want to reduce costs that we don't at some points eliminate a department within the company or something like that. Right. So there's obviously some parts that we should be careful with when we talk about eliminate inefficiencies. Right? So it's always a bit tricky because, you know, you see the data, you see the data flow, you see the activities that a company does. But behind most activities are still people working there.

22:36
Jakub:
Mm hmm. True. True. Oh, I see it similarly. So I am a big fan of optimization in general, not only like in job related tasks, but also in my own life. I am a big personal finance fan. I read a lot of you know, those self-help books and everything. And when I'm thinking when I think about it, just taking this from my personal level to a level of companies that we work for, and making the same kind of a shift of not only like actual process, but also of understanding how the company works. Also the shift of the thinking is huge for me. And if you can, as you said, if you can deliver a good process and then you know that you essentially saved the company either money or time, which sometimes is even more valuable than the money itself, it's a good feeling. And if the company and I'm not saying they all will or they would, but if the company then uses the resources that you save them for something bigger or something greater, that's actually a good feeling and we can only hope for that every company does that at the end.

23:49
Patrick:
I mean, you and I both worked a larger companies. You had Siemens, me at Airbus. So we saw kind of what tasks people do and you can't help but think to yourself, well, you know, how much could that person actually contribute something new or how much could they better the process if they just had time away from the day to day tasks that they already have, if they are inefficient or whatever, if you can kind of free up their time so they can involve themselves, maybe do more trainings or better themselves or something and contribute to their company in some sort of better way than they already are. I can see that as massive improvements for a company.

24:34
Jakub:
For sure. I couldn't agree more. Patrick, what else do we have here today for the first episode?

24:42
Patrick:
Well, you know, we could speak a little bit more about the types of projects that we did or do.

24:49
Jakub:
For sure. So I think we mentioned a couple of times already. Our project usually look like this - a bigger company approaches us or we are actually hired as a subcontractor by or a company we do the implementation for. And then we get in touch with the client and it's actually clients from all over the globe. Yeah. I personally traveled quite, quite a lot before the Corona virus and the lockdowns. It was usually very exciting because as you know, these companies usually have headquarters in the major cities.

25:30
Patrick:
Yeah. That's honestly one of the things I'm looking forward to is when the lockdown lifts again that I finally get to go on some business trips. To be honest, I haven't been on one yet and I'm very much looking forward to.

25:39
Jakub:
Yeah, you might still do some waiting.

25:41
Patrick:
I feel, I feel that's true. But either way, excitement is there now.

25:47
Jakub:
So just better you better hope to travel with plane and not with German railroads so that the trip doesn't take three days.

25:55
Patrick:
Yeah, of course.

25:56
Jakub:
Although I have some interesting stories from traveling to clients. You know, some via air as well, and those are also quite, quite hilarious. And I hope we are going to get to them someday.

26:08
Patrick:
Yeah, at different a different podcast episode we'll talk about this.

26:13
Jakub:
Of course. Because there are always some.

26:16
Patrick:
So when we get into in touch with a client, how long do you think it takes for the client to specifically kind of target and describe the problems they are facing and then what we can do for them and how we can solve these issues? How long do you think that?

26:34
Jakub:
Yeah, that's a very good question, Patrick, and I wish I could say it's rather short, but experience tells me that it's usually rather long, at least compared to the expectations. So there are a lot of variables that goes into it, such as, you know, the overall preparedness of the client for the project or, you know, how motivated are the people you work with? That's a huge factor, surely, or even things like technical connectivity and everything. So there's a lot of variables that go into it. And if I have to give you a rough number, I would say if somebody comes to us and says So guys, we want to implement the purchase to pay process with you, we have everything ready. You know, we have we have a license from our process mining provider, we have the systems ready and ready for it to be connected. Then I would say it's rather quick from one to two months but, if we have to do the rounds of getting everyone on the same bench as we are, then it's going to go easily from three to six months.

27:44
Patrick:
Yeah, yeah. I mean, personally, I've had projects that have started early when I when I started and are still not finished, you know, just because of that exact issue, just kind of getting on the same page, speaking the same language, even though we all speak either German or English or what have you actually speaking the language of the company. Like what is there focus kind of what are the pain points? And actually understanding them can take a lot of time.

28:16
Jakub:
If any of my clients listens to me, please don't use the shortcuts for your systems and for your processes. I usually have no idea what they mean.

28:24
Patrick:
This, yes, that is one of the funny things getting into the little abbreviations and things that they talk about. And then you always have to ask, okay, so what does this mean? Oh, of course. Yeah.

28:36
Jakub:
And then at the end of the project through like, you know, you don't know OCR or you don't know SAM, oh, how could you? Where did you live last couple of months or years?

28:47
Patrick:
So actually doing that for every project, I try to write a little glossary for all the terms that they use just to kind of always flip back to. Oh yeah, the, ZXT means this. Okay. Huh? I get it. Now.

29:00
Jakub:
That's actually good, good advice. I might do the same with the next project.

29:04
Patrick:
Yeah, yeah. It's good before you have to go around and write emails.

29:09
Jakub:
True, the never ending emails.

29:12
Patrick:
Yeah, yeah, exactly.

29:13
Jakub:
True. Patrick, I think we are getting short on time for our first episode. Is there anything else you would like to tell?

29:22
Patrick:
No, I think it's okay to leave it here. I think we can get more into the in-depth parts about the processes and future episodes and things like that. I mean, I hope the people listening have now got a little insight about what Processand is, about who we are, a little bits and kind of what we do now.

29:42
Jakub:
And I actually have to admit this was kind of fun.

20:46
Patrick:
Who knew that us speaking endlessly about our job would be fun?

29:50
Jakub:
Yeah. I don't I don't know many people who would even be willing to do such a thing to talk about a job and here we are.

29:59
Patrick:
I think that just goes to show that we do like the place where we work and we are very interested in what we do. So, you know, we just thought it would be good to to share with the world in a way.

30:10
Jakub:
All right, then I guess we should probably wrap it up for today. And I hope you stay tuned for the second episode, which will be about and wait for it - Process mining.

30:21
Patrick:
Haha, shocker.

30:22
Jakub:
Yeah. So thank you for listening. You can find us on Spotify and other media platforms where you would usually listen to other podcasts and we'll be looking forwards for the next episode. Patrick, have a nice day. Bye.

30:36
Patrick:
Yes, you too. Bye bye.

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