How does Process Mining work?

Most operational systems record every detail of what happens in a process. Think of these activities as 'digital footprints' people leave behind as they move through a process. Process mining captures the digital footprints from any number of systems throughout an organization and organizes them in a way that shows each step of the journey to complete that process, along with any deviations from the expected path.

On this page youโ€™ll find answers to these and other questions:

  • What are the 'stages' or main components of process mining?

  • How can you 'see' a process?

  • How much can you learn about the details of your process?

  • What can you do with your new insights?


Event collection in process mining

Leave no trace unturned

Everything you do in your operational systems leaves a trace. Date, time, user, activity and more are all captured and can be found in an 'event log' โ€“ a record of what happens to perform a task. Event Collection, as its name implies, gathers the event log data from your systems so it can be analyzed for process performance.

Before process mining technology, the information stored in event logs was rarely used to analyze the underlying processes. Now process mining is used extensively to gain control over business processes by eliminating the need for hypotheses or guesswork, and instead actively identifying opportunities in places you might not even think to look.

Discovery in process mining

Enjoy your 'eureka' moment

Process mining doesnโ€™t simply pull data together into an organized sequence; it creates a rich dynamic visual representation of that sequence. For anyone unfamiliar with process mining technology it inspires a true moment of clarity โ€“ an unparalleled look into the functioning of your process.

How does it work? By applying algorithms to your data. An algorithm is a set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations. Thatโ€™s what distinguishes process mining from other process discovery methods โ€“ it shows you, based on your own data and fact-based rules, exactly how your process flows through your organization.

Analytics in process mining

Find the answers to core questions

Once you see how your process flows, itโ€™s time to answer the questions that are key to any investigation: who, what, when, where, why and how. Because process mining uses the event logs from your systems, that data is already available.

Using AI and machine learning technologies to analyze your process data, process mining quickly uncovers the root causes of any inefficiencies and execution gaps (as well as what's working well).

  • Are employees sufficiently trained in a process area?

  • Do they spend valuable time circumventing obsolete internal restrictions or accommodating unreliable suppliers?

  • Why is one location more productive than another, and can it be used as the new standard?

Process Analytics turns the transparency of Process Discovery into truths about where you have opportunities for improvement.

Automated insights in process mining

Turn insights into action

While most process mining solutions offer discovery and varying levels of basic analytics, Celonis is the only company to have built a comprehensive, cloud-based solution for business transformation based on process mining technology: the Execution Management System.

Execution Management Systems are a groundbreaking new technology designed to unlock a company's execution capacity โ€“ its capacity to perform at its fullest potential. The Celonis EMS acts as an intelligent layer on top of your existing systems, leveraging process mining technology to extract and analyze event data in real time.

Using AI and an in-memory patented database to sift through terabytes of system process and desktop user data, the Core Mining Engine creates a โ€˜Digital Twinโ€™ of your organization. It identifies the execution gaps in your processes, knows which ones have the biggest impact on your execution capacity and triggers real-time automated actions eliminate those gaps.

In other words, the Celonis EMS enables businesses to transform process mining insights into action, improving both processes and performance โ€“ automatically.

Process mining explained: an example

One fictional companyโ€™s process mining journey to satisfaction

Super Start-up Inc. has big coffee needs. Their employees are highly driven and fueled by caffeine. Successful company operations depend on a reliable coffee supply at a competitive price. But lately the coffee-to-cup process hasnโ€™t been running smoothly.

Due to storage limitations Super Start-up prefers to purchase coffee once a week. Sometimes less coffee is delivered than was ordered. And the average delivery time is now nine days instead of the agreed-upon five days.

This frequently leaves Super Start-up employees without an onsite supply of coffee. As a result, managers have noticed a decrease in productivity and an increase in employee frustration.

Process mining to the rescue

All the order and delivery data is stored in Super Start-upโ€™s purchasing system. Using a pre-configured connector it takes them only ten minutes to link their system to process mining software.

Now purchasing employees can see all the purchase process steps. They focus their view to the problem at handโ€“choosing only coffee purchase cases. And the answer is immediately visible: roughly 50% of all coffee purchases take 3 days longer because of quantity and price change approvals.

After doing a root-cause search, employees learn the company at the center of delays is Suboptimal Coffee Vendor LLC. By contrast, in cases where they used FastCoffeeCo the throughput time was two days faster than average.

Further analysis reveals that even though Suboptimal appears to be the less expensive option, their quantity and price changes cost more in lost productivity and employee satisfaction. Now Super Start-up can use their new insight to prioritize FastCoffeeCo for future coffee orders and restore employee happiness and productivity levels.

Is this real life?

While the above example is imaginary and overly simplified, it touches on some of the real-world benefits of process mining technology. No matter the process or industry, there are opportunities for things to go awry and thus opportunities for improvement. The scalability of process mining makes it an appropriate solution no matter the size of your enterprise.

But that's not all. If you want to take it even further and act on the insights process mining delivers โ€“ either through automation or AI-powered next-best-action recommendations โ€“ then EMS technology is the next step for you.

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