With the changing economic environment, today’s businesses are embracing process-based approaches to achieve their business goals. Organizations depend on BPM tools and business process modeling to bring operational excellence. In this blog, I am discussing what process mining is and why it is important for applications.
What is Process Mining?
Process mining is a family of techniques relating to the fields of data science and process management to support the analysis of operational processes based on event logs.
What is a process?
Let’s get back to basics by defining processes first.
A process is a series of actions or steps repeated in a progression from a defined or recognized ‘start’ to a defined or recognized ‘finish’.
The purpose of a process is to establish and maintain a commonly understood flow that allows a task to be completed as efficiently and consistently as possible.
Every business process step leaves a digital footprint in your transactional systems in the form of event log data. It is using this data that process mining software works to create a living picture of what your actual processes really look like, which does not always match the definition of that particular process.
Of course, some process steps don’t necessarily take place in a transactional system either sending an email or opening a spreadsheet, for example.
Task mining is the technology that collects that user’s desktop data. Combined with process mining, it gives the most complete view of how work gets done within an organization
What is Process Mining?
Process mining is defined as an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring and improving processes as they actually are and not as you think they might be.
Process Mining works by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in today’s information systems, in order to visualize business processes and their every variation as they run.
Why Process Mining Is Important For Any Application?
To explain the answer to this question, I want to talk about one of my past experiences. I was working on one ecom application for one of my clients. We were using a logger table to track the activities of users on our website.
Suddenly, one night during rush hours customers started facing errors like the website was unavailable.
I’ve refreshed the table, deleted some of the old records, added indexes and where clauses, and fixed that performance issue. In between, the client lost some of his orders and that was his loss.
Then we researched process mining techniques that will track the errors and exceptions from event logs and provide automated resolutions depending upon the tracked error or exception. due to a huge number of records on a particular table.
I’ve refreshed the table, deleted some of the old records, added indexes and where clauses and fixed that performance issue. In between, the client lost some of his orders and that was his loss.
After that, we scheduled one meeting and tried to track down the exact solution for this kind of issue and it will never happen in the future in any case.
There will be an automated process to resolve that issue at an instance.
Then we have researched process mining techniques that will not only track the errors and exceptions from event logs, but also provide automated resolutions depending upon the tracked error or exception.
What are common business processes?
Common business processes include Purchase-to-Pay (P2P), Order-to-Cash (O2C), or Customer Service processes, for instance.
And while nearly every company has some version of these processes as the backbone of their business, there are many others that support a company’s daily operations, including:
- Accounts Payable processes
- Accounts Receivable processes
- Procurement Processes
- Order Management processes
- Inventory Management processes
These are just a sample, of course. Moreover, different companies define certain processes differently depending on their business needs, the systems they use, and other variables.
By their nature, processes are not static — nor do they always follow the path defined for them. Even the best-made plans go awry, and over time these deviations can become the rule without continual business process management and process improvement.
Dynamic markets also force change: customer expectations, new product lines, acquisitions, changing geographies, and any number of other things can impact a process’ ability to perform at full capacity.
This is where process mining comes in, as it enables process owners to find and fix inefficiencies in their business processes by giving them complete real-time visibility.
How to Implement Process Mining techniques?
The input for process mining is always event logs or logs which we have in our application. There are a lot of third-party tools as well as services available by which we can implement process mining.
The tool we used at that time was Celonis. There are demos available on the official Celonis website on how we implement the same in our application.
There is a free membership available as well to check if this is definitely helpful for your business or not. We used our event log table as the input for Celonis.
We can use excel/csv or any integration tools output like oracle, sap, or Salesforce. Celonis analyzes data and provides behavior depending upon the files you have uploaded. Sample file attached. For the trial, we can start with a sample file.
This is the sample process mining. After analysis we can track and add action for any specific error and then that will be output to our application. Here we can monitor, track and analyze the performance of the system.
What is the need of Process Mining?
With process mining, organizations can expose what’s really happening in their processes instead of operating under assumptions. They can then identify the root causes of bottlenecks in real-time, optimize their resources and scale with full productivity and confidence.
Ashwini Joshi is a cloud expert. She is handling major projects with us and a passionate Bharatanatyam dancer. In her free time, she loves to paint too.