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Why Process Mining?


An objective process model is worth a thousand subjective analysis

As a practitioner I heard about Process Mining back in 2011 when I was doing my master’s degree in Business Process Management. Until then I had spent long hours working within organisations understanding, modelling and improving processes based on interviews, meetings, assumptions and outdated documentation.

Process Mining was an elective subject with few students. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in this course, but what triggered my curiosity and interest was the idea of learning a technique that could generate a process model using data extracted from information systems. I thought, how cool is that! That sounded innovative, achievable, and having a lot of potential to be used by organisations. This thought became clear when I had the opportunity to participate in a case study using Process Mining for an insurance company in Australia.

It was valuable to appreciate how a graphical representation of the process was generated using data extracted from the systems; how this representation facilitated having open discussions with the stakeholders, and visually assisted on understanding behaviours and performance of the process that couldn’t be easily seen, by replicating the process behaviour in an animated way; that was an “Aha” moment for me. I could only imagine how effective, fact-based, transparent, and assumptions-free process improvement initiatives in organisations would be by using Process Mining.

After almost 10 years, I see a dramatic increase in the number of tools, conferences, books, and groups offering on Process Mining. It is great news that today more organisations are willing bet on a much better way to analyse their processes using the potential of Process Mining.

But what is exactly driving the increasing level of interest and adoption of this practice?

Today’s organisations need to adapt its processes quickly to deliver value to its customers in a dynamic and competitive environment. Hence, it is crucial to know what to improve, and where money and time are worth investing in. Unfortunately getting this visibility is not easy.

Why is it not easy?

Imagine there is an improvement initiative for a specific process in your organisation. Normally several stakeholders get involved. Depending on their role, experience and organisational knowledge, each one would have their own view of the process. Just like in “The blind men and the elephant” Buddhist parable, every man had its own definition of the elephant based on the part he was exposed to. They were partially right but their complete definition about the elephant was inaccurate. Hopefully there is also documentation probably in different places and is available in different formats, and no doubt it’s outdated. After a few weeks of documentation review, analysis, investigation of some cases, observation, interviews and perhaps heated meetings, the result would be a subjective analysis made with assumptions, probably without enough visibility of where the issues and inefficiencies exactly are.

Does it sound familiar?

Have you experienced this?

Process Mining offers a solution for the inconsistency between how people think the process works and how the process really works. Using transactional logs recorded by information systems (known as digital footprints) and powerful analytical techniques, Process Mining can generate a complete and objective view of a business process in a short timeframe.

Process Mining tools are very intuitive to use and are highly visual, allowing a good interaction with the stakeholders, and assisting on communicating issues about the process to different people across the organisation even if they are not familiar with the process.

Moreover, Process Mining facilitates the process analysis from different perspectives. For instance, from a performance perspective it shows bottlenecks, inefficiencies and loops, rare and most common paths; from a social network perspective it shows the interaction between different process participants or users; or from a specific perspective it can show the process per type of customer or product or region. Every perspective contributes to have a complete understanding of the process.

From my point of view, one of the biggest contributions that Process Mining brings to your organisation is the rapid graphic generation of the real execution of your business processes, facilitating its comprehension in an objective and holistic way, compared to a lengthy analysis of documents, interviews and flowcharts. The time saving on the discovery and analysis phases is valuable by bringing stakeholders on the same page, providing clarity on the targeted issue, and facilitating the communication since the beginning.

If your organisation is planning or in need to improve its processes such as Finance, Customer Service, Supply Chain, IT Service Management, Human Resources, etc., I see Process Mining as a powerful practice that can help your organisation in saving time and money by:

  • Providing the evidence and facts to decide and prioritise what to improve 
  • Allowing to focus your limited resources on improving what really adds value, and 
  • Using visual representation, it facilitates the internal communication and buy-in on what needs to be improved and why 

If I have triggered your curiosity and interest about Process Mining and you want to know how to start, please contact us for more information and a free demo.



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