How Does Process Mining Help Your Business?


This is the next question that you probably have. To answer it, you have to look at what the primary goals of process mining truly are. The main goal is process optimization and that is always going to be the forefront. You want to understand your processes so that you can make them better and improving your processes improves your business. That breaks down into smaller goals as well, though.

Firstly, process mining is designed to give you a fact-based approach to improving your business. The main benefit of process mining is that it gives you a real and real-time look at how your business is operating. Understanding the way your processes are performed at the most basic level will allow you to see them for what they are and understand where they need to go in order to drive your business forward. Process mining increases transparency in your business and lets you see everything that goes on, as it goes on, so you can shift your approach to go where you want to be.

Another main goal of process mining is continuous improvement. This isn’t a strategy that you’re going to use just once. Instead, you will be able to continue to observe your processes and measure how your improvements are impacting your business. Because process mining keeps track of actual processes and does so in real-time, you can make improvements in real-time based on the way you analyze all of the information that process mining presents to you.

Another goal of process mining is something we’ve touched on multiple times and that is the true overview of your processes. You can look at processes from inception to completion, which provides you with a more holistic view of your workflows so that you’re not focusing on one small area of a larger problem. With this true insight you gain from the end-to-end perspective that process mining provides, you can make broad strategic improvements instead of getting bogged down in the smaller details of an entire process.

Continuous monitoring is another goal of process mining. Even when you’re not making any more changes to your processes, being able to see them clearly on a consistent basis is something that process mining aims to provide. It does so effectively, which allows you to keep an eye on everything.

Finally, the last goal of process mining that we feel it is important to mention is that it is designed to help empower your entire workforce. When you can see everything as it happens and where it happens, you can help your employees shift their thinking towards the process as a whole instead of their individual task. When everyone involved understands the big picture, they can have a better understanding of where they fit into it.

Implementing a process mining strategy can help you reach these goals and strengthen your business.

The Benefits of Process Mining

Looking past the more broad overarching goals of process mining, there are a lot of ways that this type of strategy can benefit your business. That’s what we’ll go over in this section.

Process mining helps you make data-driven decisions.

One of the most important things that you can do in your business to make it stronger is to use the data at your fingertips to make decisions. Data-driven decision making is incredibly important and in order to do that effectively, you need access to all of the data available, it needs to be high quality and accurate. You also need to have robust tools to help you visualize and analyze that data. Process mining tools make all of that data available.

Data can be limited for a lot of the processes that take place in your business. With process mining, since it collects raw data from your event logs as things happen, all of your data becomes available to you. Process mining tools can give you access to data that other tools don’t. Having more thorough information allows you to make stronger decisions based on that information.

Process mining tools also include data visualization tools that streamline all of the data into an interface that puts the data in context. So, when you use this strategy, you have access to more data and you can see how things occur in real-time and the software you choose is going to have a dashboard with robust tools that help you visualize those processes and provide you with a better perspective. When you put those factors together, you can see that process mining can strengthen your ability to make data-driven decisions.

Related post: Process Mining vs. Process Mapping – What You Need to Know

Process mining allows your business to operate more consistently.

Standardizing your processes or making them consistent across the board benefits your business because it makes it so you can operate consistently and have consistent outcomes. This is critical for you to continue to get the results that you want in your business. Process mining tools can help with this because of the data that is extracted. You will be able to see everything in your system logs, so those processes that aren’t following the standards will come to light. When you can see that, you can help your entire workforce have a deeper understanding as well, which allows everyone to be consistent.

You might have process models that are predefined; however, the actual processes are typically more complex than the models you have in place. These differences are recorded in your event logs but process mining is the only strategy through which you can access all of that information. You can examine these logs manually but with process mining, it becomes so much easier. You can look at any issues that are taking place throughout the workflow and correct them, ensuring that your processes are standardized rather than deviating from the models you put in place.

When there is a time crunch, steps can be missed. There may be quality issues that cause steps to be repeated. If your processes aren’t sticking to the standards that you set in the beginning, you’re going to falter when it comes to generating consistent results. Implementing a process mining strategy can help solve all of those problems and make sure that everyone is on the same page and your workflows are moving properly and meeting your models every step of the way.

Process mining helps you manage performance.

Employee performance is also a way that process mining can benefit your business. When you don’t have all of the data in front of you, your evaluations of employee performance can become very subjective. Process mining cuts out that problem because, as you’ve read, it looks at real processes and uses your event logs to see who is completing what tasks at what level.

Using a process mining tool can help you determine any problem areas in your workforce so that you can strengthen your training or help push your employees to meet their potential.

Process mining helps you reduce costs through process automation.

Process automation is a great way to reduce costs in your business because you won’t need to spend as many resources, whether that is your employees’ time or the money in your business, on a particular task. Automation is more than just a cost-cutting measure, though. It also helps your business to function more effectively and can streamline your operations.

Process mining comes into play here because it helps you find out what processes can be automated. It does so by helping you see the process inside and out, which allows you to understand where you can invest in automation and what needs to be carried out more traditionally. On top of that, when you have an in-depth perspective on exactly what is taking place in a process, it makes it easier for those processes to be automated. Knowing how a process runs helps your programmers create the bots that you need or helps you understand what existing bots you need. Automation is a great strategy for your business and process mining can help you make the most of it.

Process mining allows you to cut out unnecessary tasks.

Another benefit of process mining and understanding the ins and outs of your business processes is that you can see what steps have become unnecessary. This helps you reduce costs because you’re not spending resources on tasks that don’t need to be completed and it also helps you cut out inefficiency. Trimming the fat out of your processes can help you to further optimize.

Process mining can help you shorten your lead time.

Optimizing a single process helps you to decrease the amount of time it takes to complete that process. So, whatever it is that you do in your business, if you’re delivering a product or service, you can make that finished product and get it into the hands of your clients and customers faster once the process is effectively optimized. Process mining helps you get this done by helping you understand your processes.

Shortening your lead time can help you satisfy your customers better, increase profits, and more.

Process mining can cut your reaction time down.

If lead time isn’t something that affects your business, reaction time certainly does. Whenever a problem arises, the best thing for your business is for you to be able to catch those problems quickly so that they can be ameliorated. Process mining can help you catch problems sooner because it includes constant process monitoring tools.

This means that you can get your eyes on the problem sooner than if you weren’t using process mining tools and get things back in order. By cutting down your reaction time and solving problems more quickly, you can increase customer and client satisfaction. You can also help improve your business overall because you will not have things standing in the way of it performing at its top level.

Process mining helps you find and eliminate bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks are an invisible and ever-present problem in business. There are certain points throughout a process where things can get jammed up and that can drag your entire business down and make your operations move much slower.

Process mining tools allow you to see how much time is spent on every task, at every step throughout the process. This will allow you to see where those bottlenecks are happening and you will be able to simplify those areas to smooth things out. This will also help you to see if you need more resources to be dedicated to a certain set of tasks within a process or if one area is too crowded. You will be able to see how many people are working on what and how that is affecting the way the workflow moves.

Process mining tools give you all of the timing, employee, and task-related information so you can see and solve these issues and help streamline your operations. This leads to better business performance, more intelligent allocation of resources, and can produce stronger outcomes at a faster rate.

Process mining helps you harmonize interdependent processes.

One of the best features of process mining tools is that it allows you to view the information in context. When you have context, you can see how processes may intersect or overlap. Some of these things may be a source of conflict with one another, where there is not enough time for one department to complete both parts of a process simultaneously, or a certain necessary resource needs to be accessed by two groups at once and that isn’t possible for whatever reason. Process mining helps you find those problem areas as well, because of the perspective it gives you on your operations. Understanding the source of these problems can help you create a blueprint to solve them.

Harmonizing your processes or rearranging the way that certain processes are performed can fix this type of problem and will make your business more efficient. In the most simple terms, process mining tools allow you to use your resources as effectively as possible and allocate them to where they are necessary and when. Having this ability will allow your business to move through processes faster and without any conflicts or errors.

Process mining allows you to audit more effectively.

Auditing is an important part of remaining compliant regardless of what industry you’re in. There are rules and laws that govern the way that your business handles data, handles its operations, and more. In order to make sure that your business is operating according to those regulations, you need to see what is going on. Instead of investing in an audit, you will have all of the data right there and already accessible. This means that you can complete these audits faster, so your resources can go back to being devoted to where they create the most value.

In addition, strengthening your ability to audit can help you catch problems sooner, adapt to changes in the compliance laws, and more.

Process mining helps you to quickly catch compliance issues.

As you just read, having access to all of the data can help you see where the problems are sooner. Fixing compliance issues is very important for your business because many compliance infractions can result in steep fines and even lawsuits. Process mining tools will allow you to see where you’re falling short in terms of compliance immediately, which means you can save yourself from being subject to any of the consequences.

Process mining makes it so you don’t have to build out a separate system to help you maintain compliance. You will also have a better understanding of what’s going on in your business so you can adapt to changes as they happen.

Implementing Process Mining

Now that you understand how process mining can impact your business, you may be curious as to how you can start using this strategy in your business. There are some clearly defined steps that you can take to get started. The first three steps are older, more basic steps that have been around since process mining first started to be used in business. More advanced or more modern iterations of process mining encompass steps four through six.

1. Data

The most important piece of process mining is your data. The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you have all of the right data, which is going to be found in the event log. You may also see this called a system log. This type of information is usually stored in a database like Excel, SAP, or some kind of custom tool.

There are three fields that are absolutely necessary for when you want to do process mining and those are CaseID, Timestamp, and Activity Name. You can also add a number of other fields that will help you look at the data in different ways. Some examples include facility, user, vendor, or country, among many others.

Once that data is all collected, it will be processed, transformed, and so on. Most process mining software tools are going to either do this for you or walk you through it to make sure that you do it properly.

2. Visualization

Next, once you have all of your data put together, your process mining software will help you visualize that data effectively. You will be able to see process flows, which are automatically generated based on the data input, and see exactly what is happening throughout the different steps of the process.

In the visualization step, depending on the software that you choose to use, you can view the data with different filters and at different levels of detail.

3. Analysis

Finally, you have to analyze the data that you’re looking at. You can use it to help you understand what parts of your processes can be automated, where your resources need to be allocated, how things can be optimized, and more. It is up to you what part of the data you want to focus on for a specific process and it is up to you how you would like to apply that information.

This is all done through analysis.

4. Benchmarking

Newer process mining software is going to include additional tools that will help you see your data and your processes in different ways. In this step, you can see how your processes are performing over a period of time, you can look for issues with compliance, and you can evaluate the differences in your actual processes versus your ideal process model.

Having this type of tool to help you compare the way your processes are functioning will help you pick out what needs to be done to improve your processes and can help you to pinpoint the Key Performance Indicators that matter most to you.

5. Monitoring

Process mining software now has monitoring tools that can automatically keep track of your KPIs and will allow you to watch your progress as you make the changes you decided on based on your analysis and benchmarking. You will be able to continuously analyze your processes so you can continue to improve and innovate the way your business operates over time.

6. Trigger Workflows

Finally, some process mining software tools allow you to trigger workflows from right inside your process mining dashboard. You can see automated and manual workflows and initiate tasks from inside the process mining tool.

So, when it comes to implementing process mining, the most important thing to do is make sure that you have all of your data and you use a process mining tool to help you visualize that data and analyze it. The way that you choose to continue to use those tools is up to you. If you think that process mining could help your business but aren’t sure how you would use it, you may want to familiarize yourself with the principles of process mining.

The Principles of Process Mining

No matter what process you want to start with or how deeply you want to integrate the strategy of process mining in your business, it is crucial to remember these key principles to help make sure that you have the strongest possible strategy.

First, your goals should be clear and you should discuss those goals with people involved. You need to define your goals so that you can measure how much value process mining adds to your business once you begin using it. Communicating those goals will help create a sense of transparency and allows for important dialogue about the process to take place. You can start with a company-wide project or something small but you need to know what you’re looking for. How will you know if this is successful? How will you track that this is a worthy investment?

Secondly, it is always best to start small. Process mining is a huge undertaking because there are so many different processes that take place in your business all the time. To make sure that you’re getting the most out of process mining, you should start in specific problems areas of your business and create solutions for those problems before you scale your process mining initiative beyond them. You can avoid long projects this way and it will help you see your results much faster so you can decide if process mining is the right strategy for your business. When you’re getting started with process mining, it is recommended that you choose a very routine and regular process that is relevant to your core business and then build outwardly from there.

Another principle of process mining is making sure that you’re involving the people who need to be involved and doing so when it is necessary. There are many stages in process mining and you may not need to include an entire department or team in the beginning stages, but having them clued in may become beneficial later on. Understand what employees are affected by the changes that process mining is going to bring to your business and make sure that you keep them in the loop. This helps make sure that all of you are on the same page and things can progress smoothly.

Communication and collaboration come next and they are critical. Some of your workforce is going to have specific or specialized knowledge about certain processes because that is their job. In different areas of the business, the process that you start with may not be relevant to those people in the same way based on their role in the process. In order to make sure that your employees are on board and can help move the process along, you need to have an open line of communication with them throughout the process. You also need to collaborate with the members of your workforce that are involved in different stages of each process. Not only will this help increase your understanding, but it will also keep them engaged as the process shifts based on what you find when process mining. Discuss the process model with everyone involved in the process, understand their perspective, and find out how that fits into the data. All of your process mining solutions should be collaborative because that’s what is going to make them the most effective.

Finally, the last principle that you need to keep in mind is that you should take action on the data that is collected. Take action based on the way you analyze the process, fill the gaps, innovate, and optimize based on what you find. Having all of the data in front of you is amazing but it can’t be worth much if you do not put it to good use. So, take action after you pass through the analysis phase. A key part of taking action, though, is measuring your results. You want to make decisions based on the information presented to you, and measure how those changes impact the process. Doing this makes sure that you’re getting the most out of the strategy and improving your business the way that you want.

Are There Any Challenges With Process Mining?

Process mining is a great tool; however, it is something that has developed very rapidly and shot up in popularity very rapidly as well. The tools that exist are very robust but there are still some challenges that you might run into.

The first challenge is in finding your event data and cleaning it so that it can be used effectively. Your data may be stored in a variety of places and some of it may be incomplete. The benefits that you get out of process mining are heavily reliant on the data that gets put in. You need to make sure that all of your data can be collected and integrated into the tools that you decide to use. Extracting data that is suitable for the event processing that takes place in process mining may be difficult based on the quality of your data and the data sources it is stored in.

Event logs can also be complex. There are going to be different characteristics to your event logs and some of them may be very small and therefore not produce a lot of valuable information. You may also run into the problem of having large event logs that are a little bit unmanageable.

Concept drift is one of the main challenges that you may face when it comes to process mining. This is the idea that the process may change during the time that it is being analyzed. Some processes are just fluid or you may run into an unforeseen circumstance that forces the process to change. If your process changes in the middle of your analysis, it might not be as clear cut what data is relevant and how it can be applied to making optimization decisions.

Lastly, process mining is something that needs to be usable in order for it to be useful. Usability and understandability may pose a challenge when you are first beginning to use the tools that are currently available. In order to get the most out of a process mining initiative, you need to understand how to use the tools that are at your disposal and you also need to be able to understand what you’re looking at. The purpose of process mining is to improve your business through analyzing processes, so your understanding and ability to use process mining is important. There may be a bit of a learning curve in the beginning.

Even though process mining does pose some challenges, that is no different than any other business optimization strategy. Any strategy that you choose to implement is going to come with its challenges. Process mining is still a very useful method and it doesn’t have to be complex. Fortunately, there are a lot of very easy to understand and intuitive software options available if you want to start using process mining to optimize your processes and improve your business.

Process Mining Software Options

There are dozens of options out there for process mining software now and many of them come with a lot of really cutting edge features to help you make the most of process mining as a strategy. Below, you’ll find some information about the most popular tools being used today.

Celonis: Celonis was the first process mining company and they have been named as an industry leader from a variety of online publications. Celonis describes itself as the world’s most powerful process mining technology. The newest product that they’re offering is the Intelligent Business Cloud.

Celonis’ process mining software links to your underlying source systems and many of the most widely used ERP programs as well. Once connected, you will be able to view data from its business event collection and user interaction data collection tools. The process discovery and process analytics tools allow you to objectively visualize all of your processes as well as analyze them. Celonis’ software offers robust analytical tools to help you use the data that’s in front of you.

Finally, two of its most defining features are the Action Engine and the Machine Learning Workbench. The Action Engine provides your team with recommendations at every step of the way throughout your processes based on AI. The Machine Learning Workbench allows you to combine your process models with robust machine learning tools so you can see predictions, uncover hidden patterns, and uncover the deeper causes of any problems that may arise.

Celonis also includes automation and monitoring tools as well as providing you access to a business app store with over 2,000 business apps to help you propel your business forward.

Minit: Minit is another widely used process mining software. Minit can make use of event logs from ERP, CRM, BPM, LOB, Service Management, and more. That’s one thing that is great about Minit is that your data sources are probably going to be very easy to connect to this tool. Minit also states that they can analyze even extremely large and complex data sets, even if there are billions of events. It asserts itself as one of the most powerful process synthesis systems available.

Minit has a very beautiful and intuitive user interface that makes it easy to learn and easy to use. The installation process is fully-guided so that you can get started with ease as well. Minit also offers really strong processing, so that it works faster and the company reports that even though the tool is as powerful as it is, you can still use it if you’re not using the latest hardware.

Minit is very scalable and completely results-focused. Minit’s other features include a Rework Detector, Hierarchical Process Mining, Process Simulation, Custom Metrics, and more. One thing that really stands out about this process mining software option is that it offers a free trial so you can familiarize yourself with it before making a large investment in a tool that may not be what you’re looking for.

Signavio Process Intelligence: Signavio Process Intelligence calls itself the “real-time guardian of your operational health.” Signavio has an easy-to-read dashboard that stores everything all in one place. You can also use widgets on the dashboard to keep track of key pieces of information that you want to be able to see at a moment’s notice.

Signavio’s process mining software includes real-time process intelligence as a way to monitor your business and its operations at all times. This instant access to information can help you to establish end-to-end process orientation at lightning speed. You can see what’s happening and analyze events as they are taking place.

PAFnow Process Mining : PAFnow Process Mining offers a premium and an enterprise product based on the needs of your business. Regardless of which option you choose, you can have it set up on-premises or completely in the cloud. This process mining software comes packed with features and offers a free demo for you to familiarize yourself with them before you buy.

There are ten different dashboards and 9 different custom visuals so that you can look at your data the way that you want to. The technology that this software employs is based on AI and can completely integrate with Cortana. There are over 100 supported data sources and you can choose to receive notifications through the monitoring tool. You can also trigger workflows from right inside the software, tuning the rules to how you need them.

There are some additional features included in the enterprise option. It is completely unlimited and you will gain exclusive access to additional content packs. It is SAP-certified. There are also hundreds of action connectors that are included in the base software at no additional cost; these allow you to streamline the flow from data to insight to action with just a few clicks.

You can choose how your process mining reports whether that is local, through Teams, on the web, or even delivered straight to your smartphone. There are nine content packs that are described as process accelerators that will address some of the core processes in almost any business that are available as add-ons.

The Future of Process Mining

Process mining is an amazing tool for any business to understand their processes and optimize the way that they’re performed. This technology has expanded quite rapidly and it is only going to continue. One of the most exciting things about process mining is the way that it meshes so perfectly with Robotics Process Automation or RPA.

RPA allows bots to take over tasks or activities that are typically performed by human employees. These tasks are selected because of the way that they boost efficiency when automated. Process mining helps businesses to understand their process from start to finish and helps them determine where those automation-ready areas are.

The combination of process mining and RPA has given rise to a new type of business automation that is changing the shape of almost every industry. Combining process optimization tools like process mining with automation tools like RPA has created what is known as Hyperautomation. Many experts believe that hyperautomation is the future of business process automation and is going to continue to expand as AI and machine learning technologies continue to develop.

Because of that, process mining looks as though it is going to play a key role in the future of business, which means that it is a great strategy to implement now and grow with it so that you can stay ahead of the curve. Taking advantage of all of the available data with process mining can allow companies to integrate that data with their existing automation tools and allow them to develop into self-evolving enterprises.

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