Before you can improve a workflow, you have to understand how work advances through a business, which is more complex than you might imagine inside a large enterprise. That’s where Celonis comes in. It uses software to identify how work moves through an organization and suggests more efficient ways of getting the same work done, also known as process mining.
Today, the company announced a significant partnership with IBM where IBM Global Services will train 10,000 consultants worldwide on Celonis. The deal gives Celonis, a company with around 1,200 employees, access to the massive selling and consulting unit, while IBM gets a deep understanding of a piece of technology that is at the front end of the workflow automation trend.
Miguel Milano, chief revenue officer at Celonis, says that digitizing processes has been a trend for several years. It has sped up due to COVID, and it’s partly why the two companies have decided to work together. “Intelligent workflows, or more broadly spoken workflows built to help companies execute better, are at the heart of this partnership and it’s at the heart of this trend now in the market,” Milano said.
The other part of this is that IBM now owns Red Hat, which it acquired in 2018 for $34 billion. The two companies believe that by combining the Celonis technology, which is cloud based, with Red Hat, which can span the hybrid world of on premises and cloud, the two together can provide a much more powerful solution to follow work wherever it happens.
“I do think that moving the [Celonis] software into the Red Hat OpenShift environment is hugely powerful because it does allow in what’s already a very powerful open solution to now operate across this hybrid cloud world, leveraging the power of OpenShift which can straddle the worlds of mainframe, private cloud and public cloud. And data straddle those worlds, and will continue to straddle those worlds,” Mark Foster, senior vice president at IBM Services explained.
You might think that IBM, which acquired robotic process automation vendor WDG Automation last summer, would simply attempt to buy Celonis, but Foster says the partnership is consistent with the company’s attempt to partner with a broader ecosystem.
“I think that this is very much part of an overarching focus of IBM with key ecosystem partners. Some of them are going to be bigger, some of them are going to be smaller, and […] I think this is one where we see the opportunity to connect with an organization that’s taking a leading position in its category, and the opportunity for that to take advantage of the IBM Red Hat technologies…” he said.
The companies had already been working together for some time prior to this formal announcement, and this partnership is the culmination of that. As this firmer commitment to one another goes into effect, the two companies will be working more closely to train thousands of IBM consultants on the technology, while moving the Celonis solution into Red Hat OpenShift in the coming months.
It’s clearly a big deal with the feel of an acquisition, but Milano says that this is about executing his company’s strategy to work with more systems integrators (SIs), and while IBM is a significant partner, it’s not the only one.
“We are becoming an SI consulting-driven organization. So we put consulting companies like IBM at the forefront of our strategy, and this [deal] is a big cornerstone of our strategy,” he said.