How long does it take to approve an invoice? Why do customers sometimes have to wait a long time for a response? Where is the bottleneck in your financial or logistics process? And is everything compliant? This article is about process mining: how this technology maps the functioning of your company and which questions you can solve with.
What do the processes really look like in your organization? You know which procedures employees must follow to do certain tasks, but you do not know whether they are followed. Maybe they are inefficient, there are technical issues that are not known or certain employees encounter more exceptions than others. Or maybe they spend half a day retyping information from one system to another, which can certainly be improved. You can have a gut feeling and have a look around the organization, but if you want to know exactly how the company works behind the scenes on the basis of facts and data, then Process Mining is a very effective and efficient way to do this.
Process Mining is a combination of data mining, process modeling and AI to gain game-changing information on how your processes really work. We use this technology to improve digital strategy and implementation projects.
Algorithms identify the real process model and root causes of poorly performing processes by detecting compliance violations, critical cases or performance issues. This helps companies to get actionable insight into process data to optimize daily operations and make faster, smarter decisions without doing lengthy interviews.
Event logs are used as a basis to discover how a process is actually performed within a company. In the past we drew up diagrams for how a process should run, process mining tells you what actually really happens today.
Connectors collect the necessary log data from the backend of various IT systems. This can be an ERP, CRM, Service Management, BPM, LOB, etc. Minimum requirements for the event log are the identification, timestamp, activity and some case or event level attributes. The process mining tool then processes the data on the basis of the identification. This can be the number of the invoices, orders, customers or anything you have in mind and would like to analyze. The identifier is followed by all systems in a company on the basis of the logs and associated time indications. You will then see a visualization of the process, where you can analyze in detail which path the subject follows through your company.
What we experience at a lot of companies during transformation projects. Processes are a lot more complex than how it should be, and the process owner is not fully aware of how the process really works. With Process Mining we can show you how your processes are actually running with all the details available to zoom in on certain issues.
Firstly, you want to discover what is happening in your organization. Secondly, you can check whether those processes are running efficiently and compliant. Finally, the data generated is used to optimize the operation of the organization and predict the implications of possible solutions.
Process mining has to be installed and configured. You have to connect your systems to the process mining tool before the mining can start. This is done via connectors. These are provided for commonly used systems such as SAP or Oracle, but you can also integrate legacy software. As long as there is a log file that keeps track of the activities with associated timestamps, you can apply process mining. If there is no data available, you can always create the event log yourself based on recordings of tasks.
Depending on the complexity of a company, it takes a week before mining can start. Clients typically implement process mining to investigate a specific process (e.g. P2P, O2C). However, once the system is configured, it takes little effort to analyse other processes.
Find your business case
For most companies, process mining is about finding such possibilities for optimization and automation. At first you discover the low-hanging fruit. Then, armed with data about how your company really works, you can realistically redraw processes. You can monitor the impact of this in real time, because the process mining tool remains active in the background and you can schedule a refresh of the data as you wish. In essence, process mining gives you a substantiated business case. You know what people are doing and for how long. That is the beginning of a successful digital transformation and automation project.