Process Mining: What is it?

Process mining is an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring, and improving real processes (i.e., not assumed processes) by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in todayโ€™s information systems.

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

What is Process Mining?
What is Process Mining?

What is a process?

A process is a series of actions or steps repeated in a progression from a defined or recognized โ€œstartโ€ to a defined or recognized โ€œfinish.โ€ The purpose of a process is to establish and maintain a commonly understood flow to allow a task to be completed as efficiently and consistently as possible.

Screenshot - Reduce Cycle Time

Common business processes include purchase to pay (P2P), order to cash (O2C) and customer service. 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:

  • Manufacturing processes

  • Distribution processes

  • Logistics processes

  • Supply Chain processes

  • Accounts Payable processes

  • IT service management processes

  • Accounts Payable processes

  • IT Service Management processes

  • Utilities processes

  • Master Data Management processes

What do processes have in common with mining?

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

While it shares some similarities with data miningโ€“in that it analyzes big data to support business decisionsโ€“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 singular incident.

Why is process efficiency so important?

According to market research firm IDC, not only are most companies unaware of lost potential due to process weaknesses, 20-30 percent 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 are responsible for different pieces along the way. That means thereโ€™s rarely one person or team with oversight of all 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 plans have exceptions, and over time these exceptions 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, etc.

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 require flexible processes to be competitive. That flexibility only comes 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.

Get Started with Process Mining

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