Julian Krumeich's picture

Every organization must constantly change and innovate to remain successful in our competitive, globalized world. Changes can range from comparatively small optimizations to meet new market or industry regulations, to customer-focused business model innovations that can disrupt the underlying industry or even create an entirely new market.

To successfully change and transform organizations, two essential components are required:

  1. a strategy and plan for the desired new way of working, and
  2. crystal-clear visibility into your current modus operandi.

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While (1) sets the bar you want to achieve, (2) tells you where you are and what you need to change to achieve (1). It's like two sides of the same coin: You need both to pay with it.

Example: Customer experience demands transforming Order-to-Delivery

Let's take a process from order to delivery as an example. Today, customers demand a highly flexible and digitized customer experience that allows them to change their order up to the last possible moment. When customers can't do this, they create additional waste in the process as well as in the literal sense: for example, I had recently ordered some clothes from a large fashion house and wanted to change the size of a t-shirt on one of the orders. This was no longer possible and resulted in the order being delivered to me and then immediately returned to the sender. In times of sustainability, a nightmare experience for me as a customer and even worse for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)-related goals. Such a poor customer experience is reflected in a bad customer experience and risks losing me to a competitor.

Order changes are increasingly a necessity not only in the stock-to-order business, but also in make-to-order. Take automotive manufacturers, who are forced to allow customers to change their vehicle configuration until very late in the production process: you may ultimately want to change the color of your car by the time it reaches the paint shop. In addition to flexibility with change requests, customers also demand full visibility into their orders—this applies not only to automotive orders, which can take many months to more than a year in times of global value chain disruption—but also to live tracking of food deliveries.

If you want to optimize or even transform the way you work, it requires the involvement of many stakeholders. Therefore, you need a platform that manages the transformation process and delivers the right information to the right people at the right time. Take the order-to-delivery process in the fashion industry described above as an example:

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  1. The Head of Sales may be wondering about a drop in customer experience (e.g. measured by the Net Promoter Score – NPS) or an increased return rate, and turns this issue over to a Center of Excellence (CoE) to determine the root cause of the changing KPIs.
  2. The CoE determines the customers' need to change placed orders, analyzes how inventory management processes need to be changed and what IT systems (e.g., customer-facing mobile apps, online store websites, customer support applications) need to be updated to handle the changes. They then model how the underlying process can be redesigned—setting the bar for the transformation.
  3. The recommended changes are submitted to the Head of Sales for approval.
  4. Once approved, the IT department (and physical warehouse teams) can implement the required changes.
  5. Then, the Corporate Education department uses the digitalized process descriptions to effectively communicate the changes to the stakeholders involved, because if only the underlying IT systems are changed without ensuring that everyone involved in the process is aware of the latest changes, the transformation will cause friction or even worse.
  6. The CoE can monitor whether the new way of working is being adopted by employees and IT, or whether some sales channels (e.g., mobile shopping) or countries are having difficulty with the changes and require further IT implementation or training.
  7. Finally, the Head of Sales keeps track of the entire transformation process and can review the improved KPIs in appropriate dashboards.

The power of ARIS as THE business transformation suite

To successfully drive your transformation, our ARIS suite provides you with all the essential ingredients.

In the past, business process management in most organizations focused on either process documentation or process mining, often resulting in tedious or even failing process transformations.

Think of it this way: companies started documenting processes. A modeled process landscape in a repository, which serves as the single source of truth, enables everyone in an organization to access and analyze this knowledge pool in a structured way. But how can the actual behavior of the underlying processes be measured and how does one know if they (still) reflect reality? This is where process mining comes into play: it makes it possible to discover actual process behavior and deviations from standardized processes. But how can you standardize processes if you only know the actual processes discovered through process mining? This underlines how important both are: designed and measured processes—because they are basically like two sides of the same coin.

It’s not surprising that transformations can fail if you're transforming your organization as a one-eyed transformation pirate:

  • If you only document, how will you understand how your processes are executed and discover patterns like "Customer orders -> Order delivered -> Order returned" and "Customer orders something similar -> Order delivered -> Order paid" with a corresponding poor NPS response for the first order?
  • If you only mine, how do you know what to change about your process, who will be affected, and how to effectively roll out the changes?

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While an increasing number of companies have already implemented process modeling and mining, the majority still do so in isolation, resulting in lower effectiveness of transformation outcomes or still even failed approaches. Why? Here just some reasons:

  • There is no visibility of how the measured reality maps to the already standardized procedures and to planned transformations. It is as if your car’s navigation system were divided into two devices: One displays your current position, speed, etc., while the other displays only the map of the underlying region.
  • The transformation process outlined above results in tooling breaks that lead to shadow IT, such as transferring data exports or handling governance tasks in third-party applications.
  • Higher IT spending is required because related tasks must be managed in multiple service subscriptions, such as if you purchase a spreadsheet and writing software from two different vendors.

In general, I bet you learned to love seamlessly integrated office applications no later than when hybrid working became the new normal. Hence, having modeling and mining split up in separated tools is somewhat like companies working in isolated functions rather than process-driven organizations.

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For true transformation heroes, it will therefore become best practice to establish an integrated transformation platform to gain fact-based, data-driven process insights as well as planning and rollout capabilities to turn plans into actions and ultimately measurable results.

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ARIS as a platform with its 360-degree coverage of transformation capabilities, we can deliver exactly the right suite for you as a true transformation hero. You will have everything you need to lead your business into a sustainable and bright future.

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Our new seamless cloud offering for process mining and process documentation in one integrated ARIS suite is very well received in the market. Recent analyst reports, such as Everest Group's Peak Matrix, attest to Software AG being the only market leader in process mining that offers the necessary integration of process mining and process modeling to fully manage the entire process transformation lifecycle.

Become a truly connected enterprise

And that's not all: Software AG helps you become a truly connected enterprise thanks to our leading application and data integration capabilities. These are key for the success of process mining! You not only need standard connectors for business applications, for which we offer hundreds, and solution accelerators to speed up the onboarding of standard processes, but also true integration capabilities for specialized or homegrown applications. This is especially important for order-to-cash processes where customer journey innovation is key, as described above: customer-oriented applications are often proprietary developments for which no standard adapters can exist. Therefore, trust us and become a true transformation hero in your truly connected enterprise.

Here are your next steps

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Tags: Process Mining