What is Process Mining?

Process mining is an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring, and improving processes as they actually are (not as you think they might be), by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in todayโ€™s information systems.

Process mining offers objective, fact-based insights, derived from actual data, that help you audit, analyze, and improve your existing business processes by answering both compliance-related and performance-related questions.

The technology is an essential part of the Celonis Execution Management System, enabling users to measure their execution capacity by fully understanding how their processes run before taking automated action to remove any execution gaps.


What is a process?

A process is a series of actions or steps repeated in a progression from a defined or recognized 'start' to a defined or recognized 'finish'. The purpose of a process is to establish and maintain a commonly understood flow that allows a task to be completed as efficiently and consistently as possible.

Happy Path

Common business processes include Purchase-to-Pay (P2P), Order-to-Cash (O2C) and Customer Service processes, for instance. And while nearly every company has some version of these processes as the backbone of their business, there are many others that support a companyโ€™s daily operations:

What's mining got to do with processes?

The term process mining originates in the field of data mining. The concept is that youโ€™re 'mining' data for insights to answer questions or solve problems. In data mining, the search is usually specific to an identified challenge or obstacle.

While process mining shares some similarities with data mining โ€“ in that it analyzes big data to support business decisions โ€“ process mining applies specialized algorithms to event log data in order to identify trends, patterns and details of how an entire process runs, rather than a single inefficiency.

Why is process efficiency so important?

According to market research firm IDC, not only are most companies unaware that their processes aren't performing at maximum capacity, 20-30% of their revenue is lost that way.

Think about all the processes, process steps and people involved in completing a task. Not only are there infinite possibilities for variables, different departments often using different systems are responsible for separate (but occasionally overlapping) pieces along the way. That means thereโ€™s rarely one person or team with oversight of all the steps involved. It also means if one area is underperforming it impacts all the others, but it might not be immediately obvious where or how.

Itโ€™s important to recognize that processes are not static. Even the best-made plans go awry, and over time these deviations can become the rule. Dynamic markets also force change: customer expectations, new product lines, acquisitions, changing geographies, outsourcing, different suppliers, competitor moves, rules and regulations... all impact your processes' ability to execute at full capacity.

When everything operates efficiently, a company is agile enough to adapt easily to outside forces, leaving more time to drive revenue through internal innovation, quality improvement and strengthening customer relationships.

Where can process mining help?

In our modern digital economy, companies need to execute at maximum capacity to stay ahead of the curve. To do so, they require flexible processes, and that flexibility can only come through a deep understanding of how things are working and where shifts are possible.

  • Which vendor gives you the best chance of meeting a committed delivery date?

  • Which employees are not following the process?

  • Which of your channel partners are downselling rather than upselling?

Process mining provides answers to these questions and more.

In addition, process mining allows you to quickly audit your processes, and many companies are using process mining for ongoing monitoring and optimization. That way they can detect potential problems before they have a negative impact, ensuring business operations are cost effective, compliant and several steps ahead of the competition.

Finding where and why things go wrong

Using key process performance indicators (KPPIs), process mining technology can show exactly where there are opportunities to correct or improve processes. By performing root cause analysis on operational system data, it also indicates why things may have deviated from a standard process.

And KPPIs can be connected to a companyโ€™s key performance indicators (KPIs) for comprehensive measurement, in-depth analysis, improvement specification and sustainability monitoring all in a single environment.

From Process Mining to taking action

Process Mining can give you complete visibility over how your processes actually run, identifying the inefficiencies and execution gaps hampering your KPIs and their root causes. But businesses looking to take action on those insights can go one step further.

Using an Execution Management System, enterprises leverage a complete set of process improvement tools, including process mining, AI, and automation to not only work out what's going wrong in their processes, but to take automated, intelligent action to fix it. The resulting continuous process improvement increases their capacity to execute and achieve ever-greater results.

Get Started with Process Mining

Sign up for a Celonis Snap account to try process mining for free, in minutes, with no installation required. Take the first step on your EMS journey now.

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