What is process mining?

Process mining seems to be one of those omnipresent buzzwords from IT industry. You know the drill – first, you hear about the big data, then the discussion slips into the data science field and before you know it, you are talking about process mining. But what is process mining? And does it bring any value to you or to your business? Since our mission at Process& is first and foremost helping our customers succeeding with their process mining initiatives, we believe that it is more than a buzzword!

Definition of the process mining – what is it?

Process mining is an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring and improving real processes by extracting data from all sorts of today’s information systems. Many processes are creating a digital footprint and the goal of process mining is to connect the dots of all relevant actions regardless of their origin – you can very well use process mining to track any given business tasks just as well as robotic process automation!

When implemented properly, process mining provides an incredibly thorough, fact-based overview for any stakeholder, who can then proceed with deriving measures for process improvement and optimization. With process mining you are able to audit, analyze and perfect any IT based process from order to cash process to production, purchasing or human resources.

How does it work?

Now that you understand what process mining is, let’s take a closer look at how it actually works. In order to be able to implement a process, you’ll need two things – a unique ID of the item you are tracking (that could be a sales order or a service ticket) and the time stamp for the activities. These two are then combined into an event log.

Let’s use one of the most common processes that are being implemented using process mining techniques – the order processing of the order to cash process.

In order to cash process, the sales order is used as a leading element – this is the unique ID. Such a process would likely start with an activity sales order creation, then it would be followed with the delivery and finally the invoice for the customer would be created. This is the ideal scenario (also called the happy path) for a random sales order, each of which has a distinct time stamp.

However, what if another sales order’s quantity has been changed after the sales order has been already created? What if the sales order has been created but never delivered? Or what if the customer has canceled the request?

These are all valid questions that can be answered using process mining. It is not given that all the items in a process will follow a standard path and there are always deviations to be expected. And that is the exact reason why process mining is crucial for all businesses.

What can process mining help with?

Because the main task of process mining is to establish and maintain a flow which is to be completed as accurately and consistently as possible, it is a great tool to be used in any situation where a chain of activities can be restructured in consecutive order. You can recreate the process path in actionable flow graphs.

Hand in hand with visualizations of the process you can leverage the key process performance indicators. Those are the hard numbers that give you a precise insight on what exactly within your process needs to be improved. By performing root cause analysis, it also indicates why things may have deviated from a standard process.

Therefore, the list of activities where process mining can help seems to be never-ending. There are many uses of process mining across the spectrum, not only in business related activities, but also in robotic process automation, human resources or manufacturing.

Here are a few ideas where process mining can serve you well:

  • Business Intelligence
  • IT Service Management
  • Finance
  • Audit
  • Logistics
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Supply Chain
  • Utilities
  • Master Data Management
  • Human resources
  • Robotic process automation

Essentially, anything with a unique id and a timestamp can be reconstructed using process mining techniques.

Why do you need process mining?

Based on the Gartner’s Market Guide for Process Mining, the companies can use process mining for a number of different use cases, and it is gaining a rapid popularity across sectors such as audit, insurance or banking.

Process mining will give you an edge over your competitors. It will help you to inspect the vital processes of your company, that would otherwise remain hidden because there are too many people or departments involved. It will help you to maintain the efficiency within your company which ultimately leaves more time for innovation, quality improvement and higher customer satisfaction.

Imagine what would it be like if your accounting team could finish the monthly reports a day earlier simply by pinpointing and improving the bottlenecks in the process. Think about how much money could your business save if you were not missing the cash discounts deadlines. Is one of the affiliates underperforming? Thanks to process mining you can find out why.

That is exactly why process mining is so powerful. It helps solve efficiency issues right away so that you can allocate your resources better later. Process mining is putting your data to good use as it builds a bridge between big data and business analytics.

Process mining helps you act on facts, not assumptions.

What are the best process mining technologies?

At Process&, we have great and unique experience with Celonis. In the meanwhile, Celonis has become a market leading software for process mining and is currently an official SAP business partner. What does it mean for you and your business? It means that using Celonis process mining technologies you can get the best from your SAP systems together with ahead of pack support.

With Celonis you can ensure that key business processes are running at maximum efficiency and conforming to their intended design by assessing process execution with data-based process discovery.

Does it mean that you can only use Celonis for business related processes? Not at all, as already mentioned, anything that creates a digital footprint can be reconstructed into process!

How can you start with process mining today?

If you are intrigued by the possibilities that process mining offers, then what you can do right now is to contact us and get a free trial in our Celonis cloud environment. We can provide you with best use cases and help you setting up your first Celonis report. In this way, you can get acquainted with the tool and try out your first analysis! You can also find a demo on official Celonis website.

With Process& you can even go a step ahead with our fully customized on-site Celonis training!

If you are still not sold on process mining, maybe you should read an article from AI Multiple that gives you a comprehensive list of 30+ use cases where process mining plays an essential role!

And don’t forget, if you are ever left wondering on how to approach the implementation in your company, don’t hesitate to contact us any time! At Process& have 4+ years of experience (as of 2020) with helping our customers succeed in process mining implementation. We would be thrilled to help your company succeed as well.

Process mining is not just a buzzword, it has become a standard for business digital transformation. Be a part of the future.