Interview: Janina Bauer from process-mining company Celonis

Last week saw the conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference known as COP28 was held in Dubai, involving nearly 200 interested parties. Some expressed frustration over the agreements made not going far enough. In his closing speech, Executive Secretary Simon Stiell admitted that, ‘Whilst we didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end. Now all governments and businesses need to turn these pledges into real-economy outcomes, without delay.’

Infotec spoke to Janina Bauer, Global Head of Sustainability at Celonis, about what’s required to achieve this. She wrote as COP28 was getting under way that, ‘If businesses are serious about making a positive impact on climate, then sustainability must be central to their business objectives and decisions.’

Janina Bauer

She continued: ‘Too often, sustainability – and decarbonisation in particular – remains secondary, or is perceived as expensive and overly complex for organisations to focus on. Harnessing sustainability data is a challenge, as it is often scattered and stuck in unconnected systems.’

Many organisations already hold the data needed to provide a real-time view of a given company’s carbon footprint, including on indirect, so-called ‘Scope 3’ emissions that account for some 75% of most organisations’ overall footprint. However, this key information is invariably held in the transactional data of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, Excel spreadsheets or other siloed tools.

Janina says that first step to unlock it is through process mining tech. This can then be supplemented using internal and third-party sustainability data including emission factors or supplier performance. Process intelligence and AI are then used to gain insights on where emissions reductions can be made.

We asked Janina to expand on this in more detail…

Hello Janina. You say ‘business’ but how does this apply to the public sector?

Being able to visualise and optimise processes, and take an objective view across technology and people, is just as important in the public sector as it is in the private sector. For public-sector organisations, the low administrative overhead of process mining can empower workforces to operate efficiently and effectively. In most cases, the data required to take a real-time view of the whole of an organisation’s carbon footprint, including Scope 3 emissions in its upstream and downstream activities, is already there. The problem is that the data is buried in several different siloed systems. Process mining can help public sector leaders extract this data from multiple different sources, and accelerate the journey towards sustainability.

How might this kind of process mining be applied by those working in or with local government?

Digitising local government services can have a huge impact on the wider society in both social and economic terms, with important gains to be made in terms of sustainability. Public sector organisations face specific challenges around modernisation projects where systems are upgraded and they move from homegrown systems and legacy ERPs, with delays all too common, alongside potential cost overruns. Using process mining can offer public sector workers a way to approach such migrations in a data-driven way, offering a clear understanding of how processes across the organisation actually work, before designing new processes that can deliver the services citizens need.

Given the benefits, how should people working in or with local government pursue this?

Understanding local government processes is the first step in ensuring that effective change can be made. Process mining needs to be invested in so organisations can gain a comprehensive understanding of systems such as permit issuance, procurement, service delivery, and administrative workflows.

Next, process mining will map out and visualise the current processes to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and deviations from established procedures. The results can then be analysed against key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cycle time, resource utilisation, and compliance rates to identify areas for improvement which can be prioritised based on its impact on overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Finally, it’s all well and good having the information required to improve their operations, but public sector organisations need the commitment and buy-in from senior leadership if they’re going to enact meaningful change. All relevant stakeholders need to be involved in subsequently implementing process improvements, based on the insights gained from process mining. Process mining is an ongoing activity that needs to be continuously monitored so changes can be made based on evolving feedback and performance data.

Janina Bauer, thank you very much.

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