SAG_BPM_880x440px_May21If there has been one technological development that has really taken flight lately it is process mining.

Where the more traditional field of business intelligence (BI) has been active for over a decade in finding and creating transparency in the enormous amounts of business data, process mining has unlocked the capabilities to take this level of transparency to the next level by adding the business process context.

No more point analyses, but rather end-to-end process analyses that include the ability to drill down and find cross-functional root causes. In this blog I will share my thoughts on the following four topics:

  1. What is process mining?
  2. Why should you engage in process mining?
  3. Some strategic considerations around process mining
  4. Embedding process mining into your wider process management practice

So, what is process mining exactly?

Process mining is a set of capabilities that allows and enables your organization to create transparency into the way your business processes have been executed. It provides insights into who (can be anonymized of course) has done what, when they did it and where (application). Process mining on its own can already deliver some interesting results, but the real power of process mining is only unlocked at the moment that it is combined with the wider process management practice. You can read more about that here.

Why should you engage in process mining?

Operational excellence has been an important topic for most of the 21st century and the field of process mining is facilitating this in a couple of different ways, and these are often referred to as the major or main use cases of process mining.

  1. Process discovery
  2. Process performance
  3. Process conformance
  4. Ad-hoc analysis

The first one is perhaps the most known use case of process mining with the spaghetti-like diagrams that are the result of analyzing the executional trails of a business process. The conformance use case is especially interesting if you want to eradicate deviations from a standard process. Ad-hoc analysis is often applied when supporting a lean six sigma or other continuous improvement project. You can read more about this here.

Strategic considerations for process mining

Ever since the field of process mining has become commercially interesting the number of process mining solutions has steadily increased. Most of them we call pure-play process mining tools, in other words they do one thing (which is process mining) and typically they do it well (and some really good).

On the other side of the spectrum are a couple of solutions in which the process mining technology has been embedded in a larger BPM platform and just to be clear, some of these process mining tools are also really good and can often also be used in a standalone format. The big advantage this latter category has over the former is the integration with the process management side. Quickly documenting discovered processes with a click of a button, or efficiently transferring the baseline model to the process mining engine for conformance checking are just two examples of this. You can find more information on this topic here.

Embedding process mining into BPM

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, embedding process mining into your wider process management practice is not just a wise thing to do, it also unlocks a number of advantages that you will not achieve in a standalone scenario (or you might, with much more effort):

  1. You can show the results of process mining right next to the document process you have mined, in order to prevent unnecessary switching between windows. Think back to my previous blog where I showed an example of this.
  2. Automatic creation of discovered processes that are worthwhile documenting, avoiding a lot of manual export / import activities.
  3. Reduce complexity for your IT organization if you can run BPM and process mining from the same platform.
  4. The simplicity for the end users of your BPM platform having everything in one place.

Read more about this here.

I hope you enjoy the articles! Next month’s topic will be business transformation… Stay tuned for more.

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