AT A GLANCE
- For many years, process mining had been an academic topic. However, thanks to the recent digital transformation, it has become an essential part of future-proofing an organization.
- Process mining increases an organization’s adaptability by continuously analyzing how it does things using data and developing insights that drive new value.
- Companies that are unprepared for digital transformation will quickly fall behind more forward-thinking organizations.
The rapid changes in today’s digital world are pressuring business executives to act quickly and find innovative solutions to add value to their customers continuously. As companies watch their competitors expand their use of technology to gain an edge, the need for process improvement and process transformation is growing at a fast rate. According to a recent survey, 60% of businesses will be fully implementing organization-wide digital platform strategies in the coming years.
SO, WHAT IS PROCESS MINING?
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric
Process mining is a revolutionary technology that captures log data from enterprise transaction systems and translates it into real-time to visualize how the processes operate. Events log are created as work is done: an order is received, a product is delivered, payment is made. Process analytics create key performance indicators making it visible to see how the work is really happening, who did it and how long it takes.
With insights gained from Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, companies can detect the root causes of variation and identify process optimization opportunities.
WHY USE PROCESS MINING?
Process mining is a generic technology that you can apply in many ways. It merges the strengths of process and data-focused analyses by providing clear insights on whether things are going right or wrong. It can reveal issues within the organization where business leaders may not have been aware of.
Process mining is not only about improvement: In addition to the discovery phase, where a process model is produced from the log data, there are two other process mining types: enhancement and conformance.
- Enhancement focuses on extending the existing model using the data from the event logs. Adopting a data-driven approach is what the recommended enhancement is based on.
- Regarding conformance, the designed process is compared to the actual process, which is visualized using the event log. This activity will help organizations confirm whether the existing processes conform to the designed model.
WHO CAN RUN THE ANALYSIS?
To gain a competitive advantage, it is crucial to integrate process mining into how the organization is operating. Someone should take the necessary actions based on the insights. It would be ideal to have a central process excellence team, an auditor or a process analyst in a particular department to be responsible for conducting a regular analysis.
COOPERATIVE BUSINESS CULTURE
People within the organization who do not fully understand why a process mining analysis is being conducted might feel threatened that the results will be used against them. Hence, it is critical to make people feel safe so that they would accept the results and use the insights to their advantage.
Business leaders are required to lead this change by building a respectful culture of open communication and cooperation, ensuring the team understands what is being done and the primary purpose of this initiative. At the same time, business leaders need to consider respect for data privacy laws and practices.
HOW CAN PROCESS MINING BENEFIT MY ORGANIZATION?
Process mining can automatically detect where the most significant delays occur in a process. Once the bottlenecks have been identified, resources can be reallocated to reduce inefficiencies and streamline the processes.
One of the most noticeable types of waste is rework, where specific steps in a process are repeated once or multiple times. Removing rework in a process provides significant opportunities for cost savings and reduction in the overall cycle time.
Process mining makes the ‘as-is’ process (including the rework and ‘ping-pong’ behaviour) automatically visible by rebuilding the real workflows from the different IT systems.
Verifying the effectiveness of process change
Once process improvements have been implemented based on the data generated from the event logs, the process mining analysis can be performed and repeated multiple times to verify whether the recommended changes are effective.
For example, the figure below shows a typical procurement process before (left) and after (right) process improvement. To reduce lead times between the different steps of the process, rework areas were identified (red boxes below), and targeted training was provided to a selected group of people to ensure the processes became more efficient.
The analysis conducted showed a waiting time of more than 21 days due to the reworked steps. The process was re-engineered to streamline the activities and reduce waste. Once the changes were implemented, the procurement process cycle time was successfully reduced by 25 days.
Process mining has become a powerful tool for project managers who want to control their processes. Continuously verifying and validating process changes’ effectiveness is becoming one of the critical components for achieving operational excellence.
This revolutionary technology is helping business leaders engage with their clients or stakeholders on different levels. Rather than spending countless hours trying to understand what stakeholders are doing and how they are doing things, process mining helps shift the attention to focus on whythings are being done this way and how it can make them more efficient.
It is necessary to have this type of initiative as a recurring one. With time, it can be challenging to keep process mining an ongoing activity that becomes part of the organization. It is also vital to ensure having as many people within the organization trained on running such analysis rather than relying on a single person, who might leave at any time. Even if external consultants are hired, they need to ensure that all the knowledge is transferred to their respective stakeholders for future use.