Process mining scans your business processes like an MRI to help you uncover opportunities and gain visibility into your business’s core operations.
Since businesses involve many processes, finding optimization opportunities requires you to break down every step of each process and analyze it thoroughly.
However, doing it manually is like boiling the water of an ocean. You need a system to speed up this process so you can gain valuable insights faster.
This is where process mining methods come into the picture.
Process mining allows you to identify bottlenecks and gain process intelligence for improving your business processes.
Therefore, business owners and analysts should know about process mining and its techniques.
In this article, I’ll discuss what process mining is, along with its importance, working principle, use cases, and more.
What Is Process Mining?
Process mining is a technique used for analyzing operational processes that are based on several event logs, which can be extracted from an organization’s databases, management software, and information systems.
Process mining is about finding how your business processes are actually performing to detect issues and discover areas for enhancing your business. It is beneficial for every business and can be applied to several workflows.
The main aim of process mining is analyzing and optimizing business processes. Also, there are other reasons to apply process mining in your business, such as:
Process automation support
But what exactly are business processes?
Processes are complex structures due to deviations, multiple interactions, and iterations among process units. With the help of the process mining technique, you can easily discover and monitor the condition of the actual processes instead of dealing with ideal ones. You can do this by:
Leveraging incident records and real-time data to identify bottlenecks
Eliminating extra steps within your workflows
Presenting real-time insights
As a result, enterprises can now focus on their efforts to improve their business processes. Hence, it is also known as business process mining, which helps you develop a better understanding of the real-time data of a company’s traditional processes.
Process mining is derived from the data mining field, newly termed data science. This is because the technique behind process mining operates exactly like data mining. However, both are different in terms of their uses.
Data mining utilizes numerous methodologies and algorithms to explore the data. Whereas process mining analyzes several event logs and processes based on real-time data to “mine” processes.
Process mining focuses on several perspectives:
Control flow: This perspective is about the activities’ order. The goal of process mining here is to get the optimal path where it can perform the activity.
Organizational: This perspective targets the resources, such as departments, roles, etc. The primary goal here is to come up with a better structure for your organizational units.
Time: This perspective is about the frequency and timing of events.
Case: This perspective considers different properties involved in different processes or cases.
How Does Process Mining Work?
Process mining first discovers actual processes out of the event logs. By extracting each event log and combining them, a process mining technique shows how processes perform for a business in reality.
Let’s dig deeper to understand the working procedure of process mining through these steps:
Analyzing and Manipulating Data
Mostly, businesses of all sizes track and store complex and large data in a safe area, like a database in the cloud. There are some process mining tools that can help your organization take this data and convert it into event logs.
This lets your organization analyze every operational process. The tools assign case ID, activity, and timestamp to each data piece. Process mining utilizes these elements and analyzes different aspects of workflow to determine which task requires improvement, which one is efficient, and which tasks to prioritize.
Evaluating Every Process
Using event logs, process mining tools analyze and create graphs of each step extracted from the workflow. In the next process, process mining tools compare ideal graphs with these graphs. This ensures that you understand how the system needs to operate.
By comparing both graphs, you can see the inefficiencies and efficiencies within the operational processes clearly.
For example, the current workflow to track inventory involves many steps that help you ensure products are shipped, transported, and delivered to customers. With graphs outlining each step, you can detect the small inefficiencies and enhance them.
Prioritizing the Fixes
Once you are done with the graph, analyze the process within the current workflow and determine how this differs from the ideal graph. Next, it’s time to identify the steps of improvement. Based on the urgency and severity of the changes, it is first vital to prioritize the fixes you need to do.
Process mining tools allow you to check the exact time required to complete every step. This will help you determine quickly which issues need immediate action or remediation.
For example, prioritize fixing the inefficiencies in the workflow or consider fixing the bottlenecks so that you can reduce the time and resource usage for your business.
In the final step, the process mining technique monitors the operational systems continuously and creates event logs to collect data about the metrics and data involved.
This provides a clear picture of ongoing real-time data that tells whether the workflow is structured and can deliver efficient results. With this technique, you can see the improvement you have made, reducing previous waste and inefficiencies.
Process Mining Capabilities
The capabilities of process mining involve:
#1. Process Discovery
Identifying processes: Users generally do not get the full picture of how business processes are working and progressing. Process mining helps visualize the as-is processes and lets users understand the situation by utilizing real-time data and event logs.
For example, HR departments can discover the complexity of the recruitment process in order to understand the pace of the hiring process and reduce the possibility of candidates dropping out.
Identifying process deviations: Businesses working on different workflows need to understand their process deviations. Process discovery helps companies discover the deviations between actual processes and ideal processes. With the help of process mining tools, users can identify unseen process deviations along with the frequency.
For example, a proper understanding of processes helps a business simplify its automation projects. Most of the executives believe that confusion in the initial RPA project can lead to failure.
#2. Conformance Analysis
Analyzing non-conforming cases: Businesses always prefer standardized processes. However, it is challenging to achieve a high conformance level. Process mining helps discover various process variations and the levels of deviations.
Identifying root causes: Process mining detects processes that differ from the required ones. For example, companies identify general errors by detecting the root causes. They can classify these errors, look into why, and resolve these errors effectively.
#3. Process Validation
Process mining utilizes real-time data to give insights into its end-users. It allows companies to validate the process findings to confirm their current flow. In addition, it is used for compliance and auditing processes.
For example, a tax consulting business could cover its transactions and processes for auditing, which helps reduce the processing time by 50%.
#4. Process Improvement
Performance monitoring: Process mining tools offer a user-friendly interface that can track KPI measures and help identify the best or worst-performing processes.
Identifying process bottlenecks: Some processes are optimal performance-wise where businesses can easily identify bottlenecks using process mining. The elimination of these bottlenecks will enhance the performance of your business.
Suggesting improvement: Process mining offers specific recommendations to your businesses in order to increase performance. Some of the suggestions could be:
Identifying automation and RPA opportunities: This is essential since not every process is ideal for RPA automation. Wrong process identification for automation leads to failed RPA projects.
Identifying process improvement scenarios: Process mining identifies scenarios like bottlenecks and deviations to enhance efficiency and implement changes.
Importance of Process Mining
Business processes are complex and have many exceptions. If you view the actual process with the ideal one that process mining discovers, you will find that it is complicated and intertwined.
Thus, business owners need to understand their processes while aiming to identify and prevent bottlenecks. process mining offers multiple benefits, such as:
Process mining lets users detect areas that require any changes, like automation. In other words, a process mining technique can give you a clear picture of which process needs automation and why. Automating processes helps enhance efficiency, which results in reduced costs and saving time.
To make the right decisions, you will need high-quality data that are relevant, precise, complete, available, and accessible. Apart from that, you need analytics capabilities and comprehensive data visualization.
Unfortunately, most organizations do not have the proper data they need to make decisions. Here, process mining helps provide event logs or raw data to extract the process sequence and eliminate data gaps. Thus, you can unlock accurate and unbiased insights into end-to-end processes to make informed decisions.
As a business owner, you can understand the urgency and value of digital transformation. But do all your decision-makers are on the same page as you?
Process mining is a powerful method that helps maintain transparency between everyone in the team. This technique uses data and helps executives visualize the current processes and systems based on time, money, reputation, and work-life quality. In addition, it showcases the value that digital transformation can bring.
To make a wise investment in technology, you need to focus on understanding your requirement as well as the current situation of the market. Process mining helps you do that. You will get a comprehensive idea about many things. It includes:
Knowing whether your investment is worth bringing an improvement
Pinpointing where the most essential problems exist
Understanding the variations in the processes across the organization
Additionally, process mining lets you realize the advantages without any human error.
While auditing the entire business activities is a time-consuming process, faster analysis with the help of process mining tools shortens the gap.
Furthermore, these tools detect non-compliant processes to ensure you know about such issues so you can fix them on time. A business can also reduce the time taken to perform customer analysis by utilizing process mining techniques.
Better Customer Experience
By discovering improvement areas, optimizing various processes, and identifying bottlenecks, the overall process time reduces. This enables faster delivery of products or services for customers and enhances their experience. As a result, customer trust increases, which helps boost your revenues.
Use Cases of Process Mining
#1. Financial Services
By creating a solid plan to grow and optimize financial services, you will require subject matter expertise.
With the help of process mining, financial services managers, leaders, and decision-makers can quickly view the execution of the processes in real-time. Also, it is easy to get objective insight into the ongoing processes by drilling down to various units or cases, viewing trends at a high level, etc.
Process mining helps you see variations, non-compliances, and errors based on their contribution to your business outcomes.
#2. Operational Excellence
Operational managers and leaders constantly face new challenges and seek solutions to them. So, when trying to migrate to new technology, ensure to reduce complexity, leverage automation, and find areas to save money.
Process mining helps you find inefficiencies in your business processes and maximize the capacity of systems and employees. In addition, it can track your entire business environment and lets you know the perfect time to act upon the errors, non-compliance, and inefficiencies.
Additionally, maintaining transparency allows you to keep everyone in the team well aware of the decisions made, which helps enhance collaboration and operational efficiency. Besides, you can navigate your business through shifts to ensure resources are not wasted.
#3. SAP Migration
Modern businesses find difficulty in achieving end-to-end transformation successfully without integrating an ERP system. During migration, businesses struggle with certain pitfalls, including:
Poor process insights
Harmonization absence across units
Unknown variations in the process
With process mining, companies can view their processes as undergoing SAP migration. The process mining tools help SAP experts by offering transparency of existing as-is processes.
#4. Intelligent Automation
To maximize value from your automation investment, you can leverage process mining. Using the right process mining tools, you will be able to reach your true operational potential and be aware of exceptions in order to streamline them.
Process mining helps answer the following questions:
What will be the expected ROI for the automation initiative?
What are the common process exceptions?
Which process is most valuable for automation?
How does the investment vary across various countries?
Along with process mining, you can also use other intelligent automation techniques, such as AI and RPA, to answer these questions.
#5. Order Management
Order management covers the entire process, from handling customer orders to managing accounts. This business process involves a lot of variations. With process mining, you can visualize the complete process of order management. Visualizing the root causes, it shows how to reduce delays, rework, and changes in order.
Furthermore, process mining allows you to identify automation and delivery block issues with readymade charts and analyses. Also, it’s helpful in monitoring the end-to-end process performance continuously.
A business can have plenty of processes and operations running, which may involve a lot of complications, errors, and inefficiencies. So, if you want to streamline those processes and manage them effectively, you need modern techniques like process mining.
Process mining can help improve the efficiency of your business processes. It helps you spot failures and errors in your operations and find the root causes so that you can immediately work on fixing them. Today, many organizations have been using process mining to enhance their process efforts, save time, and gain more profits.
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