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What are Process Intelligence tools and how do they work?

Process Intelligence combines everything from business process analysis, to process improvement and monitoring, based on real operational data. But what exactly are the tools and technologies that comprise Process Intelligence? And how do they work? Let’s get into it.

What are Process Intelligence tools?

Process Intelligence tools use data to create transparency into how business processes run, as well as technologies to unlock value and increase performance.  When you’re looking at vendors selling Process Intelligence software, you’re usually looking at a packaged set of tools, technologies, and methods such as:

Process mining: Think of process mining like an x-ray of your business. It uses business data to visualize, analyze, and optimize your business processes, giving you end-to-end transparency about the real way your organization operates.

Task mining: Similar to process mining, task mining uses data to understand how tasks are executed. But instead of business data, it looks at user interaction data including all the steps that happen outside of major systems, like checking emails or consulting spreadsheets.

Process modeling: The models created via process modeling are used to design an ideal process, taking into account institutional knowledge about how your business operates (such as enterprise architecture, organizational structure, or process landscape). Models can cover a wide range of processes from business processes like Purchase-to-Pay, to customer journeys or even an entire org chart.

Digital Twin of your organization: A data-based replica of your organization and its processes, that you can use to understand your operations in depth, and run simulations to predict the impact of optimization measures, automation, and changes in operations.

Generative AI and machine learning: Within the area of Process Intelligence GenAI plays the role of enabler in an organization. Employees without technical backgrounds can use GenAI to ask questions about processes, understand where value is hiding, and share insights with their colleagues across departments. Machine learning algorithms on the other hand, provide intelligent recommendations about measures and actions to unlock value.

Automation capabilities: Whether we’re talking robotic process automation (RPA), automated workflows, or alerts, a good Process Intelligence tool will come with automation capabilities that allow you to interact with your systems and technologies across your wider organization, such as your ERP or CRM systems. This allows you, for example, to automatically and directly unblock orders, update master data, or notify employees all from within the Process Intelligence tool.

What value does a Process Intelligence tool bring to an organization?

83% of enterprise leaders say processes are their greatest lever for value. And this number will likely climb considering the speed at which new technologies keep emerging, customer expectations keep rising, and the need for greater efficiency keeps growing. Processes are at the heart of how things run in your company. By improving your processes you can increase efficiency, better adapt to changing demands, and be strategic about implementing technology.

But most companies struggle to understand how their processes really work. Their systems don’t play well together, and their departments don’t speak the same language.

In real life, this can look something like this:

A company who wants to improve their Lead-to-Cash process needs to investigate their sub-processes of Order Management, Inventory Management, and Accounts Receivable.  

Order Management works with Systems like SAP or Salesforce and is concerned with, well, orders. But depending on what system they use; orders aren’t always called “orders”. Where Salesforce uses “order”, SAP uses “VBAK”. And that’s just one department — the same is true for Inventory Management and Accounts Receivable.

So while all three departments might share the goal of optimizing Lead-to-Cash, they can’t collaborate to achieve that goal as they work in siloed systems, with their own terminologies and conflicting concerns regarding performance.

So, clearly, finding common ground to drive performance and value is hard. And that’s whereProcess Intelligence tools can make all the difference.

How do Process Intelligence tools work?

Process Intelligence tools do three things:

  1. They bring siloed data together to deliver end-to-end transparency into the processes and workflows that run in an organization, like the steps and parties involved, dependencies between processes, as well as up and downstream effects.

  2. They provide the visual aide to share insights and create a commonprocess language to break down the barriers between systems, processes and departments.

  3. They provide the tools and knowledge to optimize performance and unlock value opportunities across an organization.

And they do these things in a cycle of continuous improvement.

It all starts with bringing data together as easily and efficiently as possible. We’re talking pre-defined analyses based on process knowledge, and data that works system agnostic,which means from any data source whether it’s an ERP system, Cloud System, Data Warehouse, or custom-built app.

This data is the basis for the actual process analysis, meaning the visualization and presentation of the data in dashboards, as well as the analysis of root causes behind untapped value via AI and Machine Learning.

The next step is process improvement through automation, streamlining, and simplification. This includes setting up alerts when important KPIs fall out of range, but also building and implementing automated workflows for tasks that don’t need human intervention. A good Process Intelligence tool will allow you to take action across your systems and platforms and even third-party apps, but without disrupting your business.

Once you‘ve implemented optimization measures, you can use process monitoring to understand the impact of your measures, adherence to process models, conformance, and the development of KPIs.

One final thing to note is that Process Intelligence is a cyclical initiative that allows you to continuously drive optimization and unlock value. And it doesn’t just apply to one department or process – you can use it to scale process optimization across your organization.

Connecting your enterprise with Process Intelligence

Want to learn more about how Process Intelligence tools help your people, systems, processes, and applications like RPA or GenAI to understand each other? Check out how the Celonis Process Intelligence Graph provides a common language for enterprise process performance.

Or you can discover how enterprise leaders are exploring processes as a lever for value in the most recent Process Optimization Report.

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Katharina Laumann
Content Marketing Manager

Katharina Laumann is a Content Marketing Manager for Celonis and has been writing about process mining since 2018.

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