ServiceNow and Celonis have today announced a strategic partnership that aims to help organizations get the most out of their systems of record, allowing them to isolate bottlenecks in their processes and automate workflows. ServiceNow has also said that it intends to make a financial investment in Celonis, a company which specializes in deep process mining.
The partnership has the potential to be very interesting. ServiceNow has long positioned itself as a ‘platform of platforms', where it seeks to bridge the gap between existing systems of record and help work flow through an organization. With the Celonis tie up it appears ServiceNow is taking this further, where integration with Celonis's process mining capabilities will see the Now platform go deeper into companies' ERP or CRM systems, for example.
Both companies intend to cross-sell their products, have a joint go-to market capability and have said that they intend to jointly develop new solutions to help customers ‘identify and prioritize processes that are suitable for automation, then create digital workflows to optimize those processes'. These jointly developed solutions will reach the market in the first half of 2022.
As an aside, it has been a busy week for Celonis, which has also announced the acquisition of Lenses.io, a leader in the fast growing streaming data industry; the launch of the Celonis Execution Graph, which provides intelligence across business processes; and that it also plans to enter into a strategic partnership with Conexiom, a leader in sales order automation.
We spoke with both Dave Wright, ServiceNow Chief Innovation Officer, and Miguel Milano, Celonis Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Co-Owner, about why the new partnership should be of interest for customers and buyers.
The key is getting greater insight into your organization's processes, regardless of what system of record you're dealing with, and then using that data to automate workflows on top. Wright explains:
"What we want to do is look at how we deal with the world of process mining to redefine how we get more information from those workflows.
We get a lot of companies now that are making these big investments in digital transformation, but they're not really getting to realize all the value. What we wanted to do is work with Celonis to look at your entire business process, regardless of what system it flows across, because we'll be able to let you apply changes to transform and start to understand where the bottlenecks are in the process - to identify what you can do with them.
The great benefit for us is we can work with Celonis across multiple systems of record, isolate where the bottlenecks in the process flows are, and then we can use ServiceNow technology to start to automate and remove some of those bottlenecks.
Wright said that the partnership ties directly into ServiceNow's strategic focus on ‘hyper automation', starting to link an enterprise's tools together and get them working in a much more cohesive way. He adds:
It gives us the capability now to deal with workflows that go outside of the world of ServiceNow, whether that's crossing CRM systems, or ERP systems, or other systems of record, to be able to identify the entire process flow.
Milano, Celonis CRO, agrees and highlights that the end goal is for companies to actually get a return on their digital investments. He says:
Customers are for the first time going to be able to to cross the gap between: how to leverage their own data, turn data into insights, and then turn those insights into action.
By combining the leading process mining technology in the market with the leading workflow automation platform in the market, we can accelerate the digital transformation effort of our customers, which, by the way, most of them have invested millions or billions in the last few years, and only a fraction of them are getting the right ROI.
What's the use case?
ServiceNow and Celonis say that there is already a strong overlap in their customer base, even if customers don't always realize that they're using both tools already. The partnership aims to focus in on the complementary benefits of bringing process mining and workflow automation together.
Wright highlights some examples of where customers have already achieved this. He points to an automotive manufacturer that was dealing with warranty claims coming in, but finding that the process to complete them was incredibly lengthy. Wright explains:
They were able to mine that whole process. And what they actually did was they ended up with a concept that they call ‘Warranty Hub' to be able to provide workflows to streamline that process, based on what they've mined.
Another example is a consumer goods company, where they were using Celonis to identify warehouse management inefficiencies. Wright adds:
They were looking at when they managed the warehouse, from an operations perspective, what was going wrong. They found that 30% of their orders were delivered late. So what they did was they tasked something like 200 employees to work out what it was that was causing these last minute issues.
Then what they were able to do is understand where the process was breaking down and start to look at how they could use both Celonis to be able to mine that information and ServiceNow to be able to provide automation, to move it through those different stages.
Strategic partnerships are often dime a dozen, but the financial investment in Celonis by ServiceNow shows how close these two companies intend to get. When the jointly delivered solutions begin arriving in the first half of next year, we can expect to see very tight integration between the two systems, but also industry solutions that identify common use cases.
It's also important to note that if this partnership gains traction with buyers, it has the potential to create a new level of ‘stickiness' between ServiceNow as a platform and an organization's systems of records. Getting a ROI on some systems of records, particularly ERPs, can take time and continuous work. If the NOW platform, in combination with Celonis, can not only help sweat those assets, but solve process bottleneck issues, whilst also automating work across the enterprise - well, that could be an appealing proposition.