Nadeem Malik, Head of UK and Ireland at Software AG, discusses the transparency that process mining can bring to business management
Process Mining can help companies better manage change.
There is a growing – and well-founded – evangelism for operational excellence. Much like Team Sky of cycling and its now famous ‘marginal gains’ approach, small improvements in key processes can have huge business benefits. Business Intelligence has grown over the past decade, helping businesses of all shapes and sizes refine the way they approach their operations, using actionable data and insights.
However, there is an important next step that can put this idea in the right context. Process exploration is the investigative side of business transformation, enabling businesses to explore processes and eliminate inefficiencies and their causes. We use process exploration to discover and visualize the nature and impact of processes, whether digital or physical, from supplying supermarket shelves to managing insurance claims online.
Significantly, Business Process Management (BPM) vendors recognize the benefits of process mining for their users and integrate these capabilities into their platforms. In many cases, this represents the best of both worlds: Organizations can use the transparency and insight that Process Mining offers to optimize process automation.
What seems to be the problem?
What success looks like varies from company to company, but the fundamentals of process mining are always the same. We can’t improve a process if we don’t understand it. With full transparency on the reality of the process, an assessment can be made regarding the effectiveness of the execution of the process – is a process working or not?
Process exploration solutions can identify process variations and deviations through a compliance check that compares the âto comeâ process design with the actual âas isâ execution. Once these variants have been identified, Process Mining tools can analyze their impact on KPIs. This involves comparing them on anything from cycle time to the number of manual cycles or interventions that need to take place.
From there, process mining can delve deeper into the root causes of this type of behavior. Only then can action be taken to address it. Using the information gathered, you can identify what is called a âhappy pathâ in process execution and implement actions to make it the new normal. In this way, the variants, as well as their ill effects, can be removed from running the process in the future. This has huge advantages because, according to the Pareto principle, 20% of the causes lead to 80% of the consequences; if the problematic variants are removed, so is their disproportionately felt influence.
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Pure process exploration is a powerful tool when used in isolation by an analytics or IT team, but it can be even more effective when integrated into a larger approach to business process management. business. In this way, process mining is integrated with how companies coordinate people, information, systems, and other aspects of operations, informing these structures and unlocking benefits that cannot be achieved in a stand-alone scenario. By getting the big picture, organizations can improve accessibility, performance, and compliance.
Simplicity is a major asset of an integrated approach to processes. Part of it is just having everything in one place – no longer need to jump unnecessarily between windows to show process exploration and the process itself. A single platform means less complexity for IT departments, as well as end users and process owners. Teams who may not have used this toolset before are able to get quick snapshots of processes, quickly document results, and even push the base model to the process exploration engine. for effective compliance verification.
This integration also has performance implications. BPM platforms already offer impressive process automation, which can be optimized over time using analyzes derived from process exploration. The impact on return on investment can be substantial by reducing the time and costs associated with core processes.
Compliance is the final area in which businesses will benefit from this approach. Again, process automation is at the heart of better risk management and compliance solutions. In a field where defined rules and standards are essential, developing consistent and automated processes can ensure compliance and reduce the risk of human error. Here, process mining plays a key role in identifying variations that may risk deviating from the norms and in finding ways to deal with them head-on.
A connected approach is the way to go
As more companies begin to recognize the need for digital transformation, process exploration shouldn’t be overlooked – in fact, it should become a central part of managing change. Not only is it a vital tool for IT departments and analytics teams, it can also be used to inform process management across the enterprise. Whether a business is looking to simplify the way it manages and analyzes its processes, improve ROI, or ensure compliance, process exploration may well be the answer.