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Celonis acquires BPM vendor Symbio to accelerate process improvement for customers

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez November 13, 2023
Symbio aims to provide employees with context around their processes and AI-enabled process redesign, which combined with Celonis’ process mining platform, aims to deliver quicker value for end users.

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On the eve of its end-user event in Germany this week, Celonis announced that it has acquired Business Process Management (BPM) vendor, Symbio. As customers, executives and partners descend on Munich today, Celonis said that the acquisition will provide the process mining vendor with enhanced AI-driven process management capabilities. 

Celonis has had a lot of success in the enterprise, when it comes to high profile logos pointing to the savings that they’ve been able to deliver as a result of using its Execution Management System, its original process mining platform. Celonis has since expanded its tooling to include Sphere, which visualizes process interdepencies and aims to provide a ‘subway map’ of how a company operates, to pinpoint inefficiencies and provide recommendations for process improvement. We expect more product announcements tomorrow, at the event. 

Some customer examples include Deutsche Bank, which has said Celonis helped it cut costs by EUR 60 million by improving the efficiency of 40 processes, and BP which said that Celonis was playing a key role in it identifying $2.5 billion in cost savings. 

Context is key

So, what’s the thinking behind the Symbio acquisition? We will likely get more insights this week from Celonis’ leadership team, so keep an eye on diginomica for further analysis, but it appears that Celonis is aiming to provide its buyers with better tooling to actually manage and rapidly redesign its processes, using Symbio’s AI-enabled platform. 

Co-CEO and co-founder of Celonis, Alex Rinke, said: 

With Celonis and Symbio joining forces, we have made a huge leap towards providing our customers with an even richer class of process intelligence. Symbio enhances the capabilities of the Celonis platform, bringing world-class process mining and process management together in one home. 

Customers will now be able to not only mine their processes to identify opportunities and capture value, but also design their processes with a modern, AI-assisted process modeling solution.

The two companies have today also launched a new version of Process Cockpit, which merges live process insights and data gathered by Symbio into one experience. Symbio and Celonis said that the two companies coming together will allow organizations to move beyond designing processes in isolation, and instead allow them to use a “data-driven, system-agnostic approach” to optimizing their process operations. 

Essentially, by combining Celonis’ process mining capabilities with the context that Symbio provides surrounding processes, and its design tooling, customers should be able to make decisions on how their processes run in an ideal world, removing unnecessary steps and automating to a greater degree. 

Celonis also said that processes can be continuously monitored and compared to the designed processes to identify deviations and ensure compliance. 

The newly designed processes will be made available to all employees via Symbio’s Navigator, which is also embedded in Microsoft Teams. And Symbio will provide additional institutional knowledge - such as ESG guidelines, roles, governance policies - to Celonis’ process mining capabilities. 

Oliver Zeller, CEO and co-founder of Symbio, added: 

Employees and their entire organizations will now be able to gain new insights, such as the root cause for a bottleneck, combined with context that allows them to apply improvement recommendations and drive performance, faster than ever before. 

This enables every employee to improve their day-to-day operations and is critical for companies undergoing process- and system transformations, as they are now able to redesign their processes based on the world’s best process insights.

My take

Insights are one thing, action is another. And my first assessment of this acquisition is that Celonis is seeking to drive further action as a result of its process mining insights, which in turn could deliver on greater speed to value for its buyers. Celonis is showing that it doesn’t want to be a platform of analysis, but one that can deliver even more change for its users. We’ve got more announcements to come over the next couple of days, but my initial reaction is that this is Celonis moving further up the stack towards becoming a workflow vendor that is system agnostic - using platform mining as its foundation. More insights to come from diginomica throughout the week. 


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