What is Process Mining?

Process Mining is a form of data mining with a specific focus on process use and workflow within an organisation by data logs and user information rather than the traditional process mapping through user interviews and process documentation reviews.

At ONQU we can use 2 process mining tools:

UiPath – Process Gold

ABBYY – Timeline

Traditional Process Mapping

Before process mining was developed, organisations would have to rely on empirical,  subjective, and many times misleading perceptions of how a process operates within the working environment.

This has led to executives and managers misunderstanding:

  • How a process operates
  • How much it costs
  • What resources are used within the process
  • Whether the process is fully optimised and efficient

In 2020 the focus for many organisations is now on effective utilisation of staff and driving efficiencies out of the legacy processes. The difficulty to date was the typical approach taken would be to undertake a lengthy and resource-intensive exercise to capture all of the working processes, review them, select target processes that could be rationalised or automated and then select the ‘low hanging fruit’.

As found with many automation and process slimming projects the perception of how a process works are very different from the actuality. Many projects after taking significant time, budget and resources find that post-implementation the new process never lives up to expectations or compares to the original review findings and predictions.

Why does manual process mapping go wrong?

There are various reasons for this including:

  • Not capturing the full process end to end
  • People’s perceptions of how a process works are not objective facts
  • Not all process elements are known or well defined
  • Process documentation can be out of date or not reflect the ‘real world’ process
  • People will tend to work around processes and blocks that prevent them from doing their ‘job’. These are not documented.
  • Many people in different parts of the process have differing opinions of how the process actually works

How does Process Mining help?

Process mining uses a selection of metrics, techniques and tools that capture and interrogate the data stored in systems events logs. This means that any analysis of the working process and interactions with systems and users is factually based and objective.

Once known the data can be analysed using algorithms that identify fully the:

  • Workflow interactions
  • Patterns of use
  • Trends
  • Unknown processes
  • Number of workers involved

For an understanding of the process value and options for management decisions, valuable metrics can captured such as:

  • Work item throughput
  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Wait time
  • Touchpoints
  • Error
  • Exceptions
  • Cost 

Whilst this list is not exhaustive it does represent the value the process mining creates for organisations, executives, and managers to identify which processes can be improved and what the likely outcome will be before a process is adapted and changed.

Example of Process Mining using UiPath for Invoice Automation: