The Emerging Need for Sustainable, Process-Driven Technology

By Janina Nakladal January 30, 2023

It is critical for businesses to employ technology to address issues like resource depletion, declining air quality, and rising waste in addition to improving their processes

The Emerging Need for Sustainable, Process-Driven Technology
Process mining helps businesses identify inefficiencies and produces noticeable improvements in sustainability, which is a major goal. Depositphotos

Within the last several decades, technology has made its way into every industry contributing to the economy. But now, being one of the mostpressing issues humanity is facing, it’s imperative that organizations determine how technology can be useful in ensuring a sustainable future. How can we be sure our technology helps not only the top and bottom line of our business, but also the green line? Future generations, and the resources available to them, depend entirely on how today’s organizations work, and what processes they have in place to guarantee a sustainable future. It’s crucial that today, we use technology not only to better our business processes but also to combat challenges like the depletion of natural resources, deteriorating air quality, and increasing waste.

It is difficult to arrive at solutions without first understanding the problem. And, thanks to technology pervading every industry within the last 50 years, the average company runs their processes over hundreds of systems that don’t play nicely together. Complexity builds up over time, and incubates hidden inefficiencies across processes, people and technology. Common complexities include: departmental silos, the need to ‘do more with less’, and strategic re-organizations that limit communication streams and often lead to misalignment; market changes like new laws and regulations that require organizations to bend over backwards to keep their processes compliant; and siloed systems that make it difficult for companies to access and use data to improve performance.

The combination of these factors creates a breeding ground for hidden inefficiencies inside every company. These inefficiencies hurt businesses, and they hurt the planet even more.

The negative impact of inefficiencies on the planet is not limited to carbon emissions either. Inefficiencies in the supply chain for example are a major cause of the trillion dollar global food waste crisis — with 1.6 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted every year. This represents one third of all the food produced in the world. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the US.

At this vital juncture, process mining plays a pivotal role in directing the future. It refers to extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in an organization’s information systems, in order to visualize business processes - and their variation - as they run. Once applied mostly to the fields of science and academia, process mining has since evolved. 

A recent Forrester survey found that 61% of decision-makers will use or evaluate process mining this year to simplify operations. The recent Everest PEAK Matrix Report shows that the demand for process mining is increasing as it delivers ROI from digital transformation investments.

Organizations have yet to apply the right solutions to their sustainability and ESG processes. Process mining lets companies see inefficiencies, and delivers tangible results to improve sustainability as a top priority. Furthermore, with heightened visibility into processes, these same organizations can also benefit from built-in capabilities to then take immediate action.

Transforming how a businesses’ processes run is the easiest and fastest way to simultaneously achieve cost reduction, value creation, and sustainability goals. By applying process mining technology to their businesses, organizations unlock the potential of the world’s processes, for them to work for the planet rather than against it. 

(The author is Director of Sustainability, Celonis)