In a world of constant change and innovation, it has become critical that organizations keep improving and adapting to leaders in their domains. With global events having an inestimable impact on organizations, the ability to move nimbly and intelligently is needed now more than ever. In order to be able to adapt and respond to ever-changing market conditions, organizations need to have clear insight into their core business and the processes that underpin and support their environment.
Achieving transparency across different silos has often proven to be challenging, especially when needing to understand the full end-to-end touch points and activities of one or more processes. Traditionally, mapping out and documenting business processes in organizations has been a manual, costly, and time-consuming endeavor and the output often delivers a fragmented picture of reality.
Universal Process Discovery Challenges Include:
- A high number of process variants have crept into operations over time due to insufficient controls. This has led to processes having become so complex that no single person can describe the different paths that get executed.
- Without transparency, it becomes difficult to detect patterns that might be exposing your organization to risk, non-compliance, wastage, and inefficiencies.
- Fringe and edge cases that may be valid business executions are often forgotten as they don’t get executed regularly. What may be an important part of the process gets left out of the analysis which could have a negative impact on the business.
- Monitoring improvements becomes difficult to measure. Without the right level of visibility into your operations, it becomes very difficult to know whether your process optimizations and tweaks are achieving their intended purpose.
- In order to improve, transform, and scale, we know one thing: mastery of your end-to-end processes is critical. So, the age-old question, “How do we get to where we need to be if we don’t know where we are?” comes into play.
Over the past few years, technology has emerged that gives organizations the right tools to help them move beyond trying to understand their processes by using outdated methods. You don’t need teams of users and consultants extracting data into spreadsheets trying to make sense of endless rows of text and numbers anymore. With the advent of process mining technologies, comprehensive insight into your business processes is now just a few clicks away.
Process Mining – Data Comes Alive
Process mining gives you the ability to connect to various backend databases and extract real transaction data from the applications that underpin your processes. This data gets loaded into your process mining tool and your users get a visual representation of the data that becomes easy to walk through and understand.
Some of the challenges mentioned earlier get solved almost instantaneously by using the capabilities that process mining makes available.
- Process variants are made transparent. All of the different paths that your process takes with all of the various activities and links get visualized. Not only can you visually see them, but you can easily navigate through the paths and understand them from a multi-dimensional perspective.
- Bottlenecks and other issues in the process become easy to detect as your attention gets drawn to potential problem areas. One of the big benefits that you get is the ability to filter out the noise so that the most critical parts of the process that needs attention are brought to the forefront.
- Forgotten executions of a process are now laid bare because we’re accessing them directly from the transactions that are extracted from the source. There is no-where to hide and nothing gets left out.
- Process re-engineering and optimization activities become much easier to plan and monitor. Comparing past performance against new process implementations and tweaks can more easily be quantified.
The more businesses are able to understand their processes the more they can transform their operations. With process insight, you can now identify which variants in the process are costing you too much time and money. You can then decide where you need to add additional controls to eliminate unnecessary activities that are not adding value. This ability to streamline and become more efficient becomes significantly easier when you have the information that you need. Additionally, now you can make decisions on how to drive your efficiencies by introducing automation because the more you can standardize the more you can automate.
You can then use your Process Mining capability to re-scan your environment and get fresh insights into your processes whenever you wish, adding significantly more value to the management of the entire lifecycle. Importing fresh data becomes easy helping ensure that you have the most up-to-date snapshot of how your processes are executing. Rogue variants that creep in can then be eliminated immediately before they become ingrained and habitual. Bottlenecks that are starting to form can be resolved before they become too costly. Potential compliance issues can be resolved before an audit finding gets highlighted.
When organizations take the outputs from Process Mining and start using the insights afforded to them to remove inefficiencies from their business this becomes an enabler to unlocking unrealized potential. This leads to positive transformation, better innovation, higher profitability, increased market share, and happier customers.
About the Author: Nicolas Ioannou has been a solution architect for more than 10 years, helping to deliver value in multiple automation domains and effectively appropriating technology to meet business demands.. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.