Expanding the partnership further, Celonis – a market leader in process mining – and BMW Group has announced that they have significantly expanded their strategic agreement.

BMW has been working with Celonis since 2016, already optimising more than 80 processes with technology provided by Celonis. BMW utilises this technology in purchasing, development, finance, and production.

Process mining is a widely-used technology to model, analyse, and optimise business processes. Every step of a business process leaves a digital footprint in a company’s transactional systems in the form of event log data. Process mining software works by using this event log data to create a picture of what actual processes really look like — which does not always match the definition that may have been mapped out in process workshops.

Celonis uses the event log data from process mining to create a digital twin of business processes, helping the visualisation of every move a business makes in real time. The digital twin illustrates processes as they really are, allowing the user to uncover opportunities for value, and to identify and fix inefficiencies. It can apply to any process for within a system.

The extended partnership aims to include closer cooperation between BMW’s Centre of Excellence for Process Mining and Celonis’ development department to further drive innovation. This includes an increasingly efficient connection of suppliers in cross-company processes by means of automated data transfer and the mapping of the entire customer journey, as well as the integration of new AI technologies.

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We spoke to from Dr. Patrick Lechner, head of process mining CoE at BMW Group, to learn more about the partnership and to discuss the benefits that it brings.

Dr. Patrick Lechner

Just Auto (JA): What is the history of the partnership and what has been achieved so far?

Patrick Lechner (PL): The BMW Group started working with Celonis in late 2016, beginning with a ‘Proof of Value’ project in the production area, which was jointly driven by BMW Group’s IT function and a production digitisation team. The team, serving as internal consultants to the businesses, then pointed Process Mining to areas where the company derives the greatest value, in production and excellence in development. This made the BMW Group a pioneer amongst automotive OEMs to use Process Mining strategically in these areas.

Since then, BMW has scaled up the use of Celonis. Now the software is used in more than 90 of BMW’s processes. Almost every car is part of Process Mining analyses before leaving the plants in order to improve quality and customer satisfaction even further.

What does the expansion of the partnership mean?

Celonis is an important component of BMW Group’s company-wide digitisation initiative. The aim is to make Process Mining available to all the group’s associates, giving them the ability to analyse all company processes relevant to them and to identify and eliminate inefficiencies. 

Celonis is an important component of BMW Group’s company-wide digitisation initiative.

In addition, our amazing Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Process Mining and the Celonis development team will work closely together to accelerate the joint development of innovations in the area of process intelligence. This includes, for example, the development of new use cases, the integration of AI, the connection of suppliers in cross-company processes through the automation of data transfer or the mapping of the entire customer journey.

How will the new AI technologies assist?

AI is already making it easier for users to utilise the possibilities of Process Mining – even for those who are not IT-savvy. Expanding these possibilities further is one of the focus areas when using AI.

Celonis can also act as an “enabler” for the use of other LLM/AI applications thanks to its standardised object-centric data model.

What are some key benefits this expansion brings?

The extended partnership enables the BMW Group to scale the Celonis platform globally and to analyse and optimise its entire end-to-end processes. In addition, by using the latest generation of Process Mining, Object-Centric Process Mining (OCPM), we now have the opportunity to create a digital twin of the entire enterprise company – including the interdependencies of the various processes. This opens new potentials, as the causes of inefficiencies, for example, are often hidden at the interfaces between individual processes. 

What are some of the key goals both sides wish to achieve this year?   

Short-term goals of the partnership are, among others, to accelerate the introduction and value creation time with the help of the new functions. The intensified use of OCPM can also support and drive forward the BMW Group’s strategic initiatives. These include a streamlined customer journey and closer integration of suppliers.