At Celonis, New Leaders and Major Growth Plans Herald an Innovative Future
After working at Google for nearly 16 years, Dustin Jackson walked away from his time at the tech giant with one resounding truth: the existence of massive excess. Yet it’s not the kind you might imagine.
“There was operational waste happening everywhere,” he said. “That’s when I gained an understanding of how driven businesses are to be as effective as possible with how they use their money and people, yet also how challenging that really is at the end of the day.”
And that’s why, when offered the opportunity to join Celonis’ LA office as senior vice president of engineering last year, Jackson was so eager to accept it. The company’s process mining technology is designed to tackle the exact problem he recognized earlier in his career.
With its Execution Management System, Celonis helps organizations find and fix the hidden inefficiencies lurking within their processes. It’s a procedure that, as Ardan Arac explained, requires complex technology.
“Every activity in an organization leaves a digital footprint, yet the systems into which each of these processes are put are separate,” the senior vice president of product management said. “Celonis analyzes all of this traffic, mapping how processes flow in and out, and gives organizations a view of what’s actually happening in their businesses.”
SUSTAINABLE IN EVERY SENSE
Arac’s new role at Celonis’ Bay Area office offers her the exciting opportunity to innovate at the intersection of design and technology, which is a passion that goes back to her days spearheading consumer product development at Google Search and Google News. Not only had Arac worked alongside Jackson for several years at Google, but she also possesses a deep understanding of how to enhance the user experience, which will prove to be a crucial skill as Celonis scales and seeks new ways to make life easier for those who use its technology.
Unlike Jackson and Arac, Odilo Hildebrandt has worked at Celonis since its inception and is now moving to the U.S. to help expand the technical team. As an engineering lead who’s witnessed the company’s continuous growth over the past decade, he’s eager to see the organization enter the next chapter in its transformative journey.
“We’re at an interesting time in Celonis’ history, considering the momentum we currently have to build out our organization and bring our product to the next level,” Hildebrandt said.
As the company accelerates its recruitment efforts in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and in NYC, its potential continues to grow. Here, Jackson, Arac and Hildebrandt outline the company’s growth plans, the opportunities on offer across the organization and their anticipation for the future.
Why do you think now is an exciting time for people to join Celonis, and what unique opportunities does the company offer for tech professionals?
Arac: When I was looking for a new role, one of the pieces of advice I received was to find a company with a proven good idea that customers are paying for, and help that company scale and become a world-class organization. I think Celonis really fits that bill, and now Dustin and I are leading the front-end experience. It reminds me so much of when I joined Google about 16 years ago. We’re at an inflection point that makes it clear this company is here to stay. Now we’re putting the pieces together, and hopefully we’ll grow along with it.
THE KEY TO FUTURE SUCCESS
Jackson: When you join a company that’s been around for a long time, you find yourself fitting into existing processes. That’s not the case here. To join Celonis now is to help define the processes of the future. We’re at a time in which we have to figure out how to scale and operate on a broader level, with customers spread across the world. We need to ensure that our teams collaborate effectively and we create the kind of culture that will uphold the organization for decades to come. For me and many others, it’s an exciting proposition to be able to come in and put your stamp on that and play a part in defining the kind of company you want to work for instead of just accepting how things are.
As the company continues hiring across the country, what characteristics and skills is the team prioritizing among technical job applicants?
Jackson: Ardan and I are responsible for the user-facing piece of Celonis’ system. In light of this, we’re looking for either front-end or full-stack engineers. Yet above all else, we’re searching for people who are passionate about understanding the problems our users face. They need to be interested in working closely with our business teams and customer value managers to understand what’s most important for our users and come up with creative solutions.
THE IDEAL ENGINEER
Hildebrandt: I operate the back-end counterpart to what Dustin does on the team. I’m mainly looking for passionate back-end engineers. Yet we’re equally interested in hiring people with knowledge of streaming technologies, such as Apache Kafka. We’re also looking for individuals who love data or have some experience with real-time data processing.
What are you most eager to accomplish as a leader?
Jackson: We currently have this powerful set of tools that many customers are using very effectively to derive value, yet it takes ample effort on their part to make that happen. They have to figure out how to piece our set of tools together and become engineers themselves in a sense. We’re really excited about building a product that will do so much more to meet customers where they are today and allow them to natively express the problems they’re there to solve. We can then guide them in deciding how to best use all our tools to derive value.
Arac: From a product management perspective, I’m eager to narrow down a focus in terms of how we go to market, communicate and rally teams around the same goals. It’s important to have the right intuition and leadership skills for effective execution, which involves setting strong targets, deciding where we need to go and then taking the team there.
What excites you the most about Celonis’ potential?
Arac: The strength of our leadership team excites me the most. I really care about who I work for, and our chief product officer and CEO are both impressive people. I’ve worked with our CPO, Ariel Bardin, previously, and he’s very funny, sharp and gets things done. When I first spoke with one of our co-CEOs, Alexander Rinke, it was clear I was also interviewing him as he interviewed me. He had a thoughtful answer for every question I threw at him. It’s very important for me to work with people who I really respect and who inspire me.
At Celonis, the biggest problem we face is choosing which opportunities we want to tackle.”
Jackson: I’m most excited about the quantity of opportunities and really interesting projects that lie in front of us. Back when I was at Google, I started to feel like the tall mountains had already been climbed. At Celonis, the biggest problem we face is choosing which opportunities we want to tackle. Celonis has steadily led the process mining space and has a huge number of impressive customers. The sky’s the limit when it comes to expanding the set of products and features that we can offer. We’ve doubled in revenue every year, and I’m really excited to keep that momentum going.