Process mining is the “real” next big thing in business automation. That was the headline in a recent piece published by The Economist. I agree and will even go a step further. Process mining is necessary for automation and business transformation efforts to drive lasting impact and real value.
During a recent conversation Rudy Kuhn, Celonis’ Lead Transformation Evangelist, told me that, “transformation only succeeds when processes are continuously monitored, improved, orchestrated and harmonized.”
Automation projects are complicated because they often touch numerous, interrelated processes that span systems, departments and workstreams.
According to EY, as many as 30-50% of initial robotic process automation (RPA) initiatives fail because organizations, among other reasons, target the wrong processes, automate an already inefficient process or don’t consider what happens after processes have been automated. In Deloitte’s Global RPA Survey 2018, the authors emphasized that organizations must focus on processes as part of their RPA journey. “Put simply, process complexity drives robot complexity: it increases the cost and difficulty to design and implement RPA, increases operating costs, and increases business disruption,” wrote the authors.
So what does a process-first approach to enterprise automation look like?
RPA is a useful tool for automating repetitive, high-volume-but-low-value employee tasks, such as copying and pasting information between applications or manually filling out forms. Eliminating tedious tasks can eliminate human error and allows staff to focus on work that adds customer value. It’s no wonder then why 79% of CFOs told Deloitte that their companies plan to embed more automation and digital transformation into operations in 2023.
But while throwing a bunch of scripts and bots at a broken process may yield short-term throughput gains and allow for reduced staffing costs, it can also hamper long-term success.
According to the Deloitte report referenced above, 63% of RPA projects took longer than expected to implement and 37% had higher costs.
Process mining enables automation success in three distinct ways.
First, process mining allows organizations to identify processes that are suitable for automation.
Second, process mining can optimize automated processes and provide visibility into manual desktop tasks when combined with task mining.
Third, process mining helps organizations monitor and maintain automated processes by continuously analyzing process data.
When he joined Celonis in 2023, Kuhn spoke about the potential of process mining. He said:
Celonis’ process data, intelligence, and insights are truly market leading, and the introduction of Object-Centric Process Mining is groundbreaking; giving customers the power to find and capture the opportunities in and across interconnected processes. When intelligence this advanced, is used to power process transformation and automation, companies can expect business results almost immediately and achieve effective and sustainable transformation.
Speaking at the Roboyo All Eyes on Automation Event 2023, Alex Rinke, co-CEO and co-founder of Celonis, described the ability to understand what’s really going on across the organization as a superpower. Process mining allows you to translate automation and transformation initiatives into tangible business results Rinke said. “Because the CFO is going to knock on your door and ask, ‘How much money have we saved?’” he added.