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Process Mining: The Secret Weapon for Business Process Improvement

Sep 28, 2023 | 5 min read

Business leaders today are investing in all kinds of technology to optimize and revolutionize their operations, with aims of enabling digital transformation, efficiencies, and future-proofing the organization. Everybody is searching for the secret to tick all of these boxes as business pressures and priorities evolve and change. But as business goals evolve, so does the technology that can help you meet them. One technological approach that many C-level executives are using to continuously modernize and innovate is process mining. But what is process mining, and what does it help organizations do?

UNDERSTANDING PROCESS MINING

Process mining technology enables greater opportunities for automation and optimization. It digs into the event logs of key business applications to provide a digital audit trail of user activity. Process mining helps you analyze, understand, and optimize processes to unlock greater business benefits.

These processes are repeated tasks that must be undertaken continuously as part of your business-as-usual activities, but often haven’t been scrutinized to identify whether the most efficient method has been put in place. Often, these processes develop organically, over time, and evolve as a business adapts and grows. This can often mean that they naturally contain some sub-processes that you don’t really need, or bottlenecks which – when identified with process mining – you can eliminate to speed up the process and reduce the workload and staff hours needed to undertake them.

HOW DOES PROCESS MINING WORK

Process mining uses event logs, which are chronological lists of events, or actions, which show you every step involved in a business process from end to end. Event logs are recorded and maintained by many process-driven applications to provide a record or audit trail of events and steps taken by system users. This gives complete and granular visibility into the exact nature of a process – and allows for a level of detail and insight that traditional, boardroom-based process mapping may not achieve.

Once these event logs have been mined using a combination of automated software and enhanced manual process discovery tools, process excellence experts and/or AI tools can examine the workflow to identify valuable opportunities for reduction of effort and deployment of automation. This helps optimize the workflow to new levels of speed and efficiency.

Deploying process mining technology is a guaranteed way to drive efficiency within a business. However, Deloitte’s 2022 Global Intelligent Automation survey reports that “while 82 per cent of all respondents agreed that using process mining drives better outcomes than not using it, only one in five (23 per cent) of organizations surveyed are already using it.”

It’s clear that process mining has great potential for businesses – and the lack of implementation so far shows that many businesses are well-placed to seize the opportunity to drive efficiency and automation with it.

GIVE PEOPLE THE AUTONOMY TO MAKE CHANGES

So, your team has enjoyed some Lean methodology training and you’ve made the time available for them to work on improvement projects – but have you given them the opportunity to make changes?

Do they have the autonomy to make decisions? Or is there an unfortunate approval bottleneck which is creating an obstacle?

If your employees are not senior enough to check and approve their own process improvement implementation, a rapid approval/decision-making process should be put in place, so they can move their improvements forward at pace.

We’ve seen many good projects fail through a war of attrition while getting through the internal approvals process.

BENEFITS OF PROCESS MINING

A key benefit that process mining unlocks is the ability to make data-driven decisions to optimize processes. There is no “stab in the dark” approach necessary when you use this technology – the visibility gained into each stage in the event log allows you to identify exactly how and why you should make adaptations to your business process. This visibility is its own benefit too – transparency into operations is a big advantage to gain from process mining.

Another big benefit of process mining is one that all businesses want to unlock: cost reduction. Businesses can enable greater cost efficiency by identifying unnecessary steps in tasks, which when removed, saves time and speeds up processes. This means that the business can achieve more in less time and use fewer staff hours to achieve better results. The time saved can then be dedicated to more high value tasks. So, not only are you saving money, but you’re able to spend your time more wisely too.

A final benefit for this list, which is by no means comprehensive is the ability to continuously improve your operations and automation projects. Process mining is not a “one and done” project. It is a continuous process that will help you iteratively identify areas for optimization and improvement. This will help you to transform over time to become a truly efficient and future-proof organization. It also means you can continue to streamline your processes again and again, in an automated manner, to discover new areas where you can save time and money.

PROCESS MINING USE CASES

Almost every sector that relies on computers and IT to undertake vital business processes can benefit from process mining. A great example of a process mining use case is in the financial services, specifically within mortgages.

The mortgage application process is notoriously lengthy, and includes a lot of waiting times – which occasionally result in a rejection. Applying process mining to the application process identifies where waiting times can be reduced, and even where steps of the application process can be reordered, to reduce the likelihood of going through additional steps when the result would be an inevitable rejection. This means money is saved on those applications that would be rejected: identifying this earlier means hours spent doing unnecessary checks and admin will not be wasted.

Any industry that relies on processing data in either cloud or on-premises software can take advantage of process mining to reduce bottle necks in data handling, whether it be in CRMs, content management systems (CMS), payroll software, or other accounting processes.

We helped one biopharmaceutical company create an annual savings potential of almost €2.3 million by implementing eight end-to-end processes that streamlined its operations. Three weeks after it went live with the first action flow, the organization was able to reach bottom line savings of €350,000. Results like these are a great example of the positive impact that process mining can have on your organization.

IMPLEMENTING PROCESS MINING

So, it’s clear that process mining can be a game changer for efficiency, cost optimization, and visibility into your company’s business processes. But how do you do it?

At Roboyo, we approach process mining implementation differently by applying Lean Six Sigma principles. These are a combination of two different aspects: Lean and Six Sigma. Lean involves working out how you can eliminate wasted effort in business processes, like unnecessary paperwork and customer waiting times.

Six Sigma uses statistics to find areas where you can reduce defects and errors, and decrease the amount of variation in your processes. Combined together in Lean Six Sigma, this approach helps you understand your processes in deeper detail while identifying opportunities for improvement.

Process mining translates these insights into action that then creates the beneficial impacts we’ve mentioned above. With the information gained from applying Lean Six Sigma and the insights from mining your event logs, you can also highlight the key areas of opportunity for deploying wider hyperautomation technologies, like robotic process automation (RPA), which can be used to find even more areas to save time and reduce costs. RPA can help you reach the next level of efficiency with everything you’ve learned from your process mining efforts, supercharging your digital transformation and modernization strategy.

Process mining help businesses of all sizes in a large range of industries to gain brand new insights and visibility into their business processes. When employed with approaches such as Lean Six Sigma as part of a wider digital transformation and automation strategy, it can empower your business to reach new heights of efficiency. If you’d like to find out what process mining can do for you, book a meeting today.

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