The modern digital economy demands that companies have flexible processes to be agile and remain competitive. They’re under pressure to improve visibility, obtain real-time process outputs, anticipate disruptions and respond appropriately when they occur. But that flexibility only comes through a deep understanding of how things are working and where shifts are possible. Addressing these challenges requires a digital reinvention, and businesses are increasingly turning to Industry 4.0 capabilities to do so.
This is where process mining comes in.
At a high level, process mining techniques use event data to uncover process operations, check the conformance of predefined process models, and enhance these models with information about bottlenecks, decisions and resource usage. Instead of focusing strictly on process management, process mining offers a transparent, holistic view of all activities in an organization — ultimately building a dynamic system that can reflect any changes in real time. In turn, businesses have an opportunity to bring in more data from other sources, like logistics information in a supply chain to proactively mitigate risks or serial numbers from components in transit; consumer data to personalize the shopping experience; and employee engagement metrics to enhance productivity. With the right data, process mining becomes a laboratory for exploration where hypotheses can be tested and forecasts can be sharpened.
As traditional tools fail to keep up with organizational demands for dynamic adjustment, the market for process mining is expected to grow to an estimated US$1.4b by 2023. Staying one step ahead starts with understanding how process mining can accelerate digital transformation by discovering what’s underneath the surface to drive operational excellence and mitigate risks.
Achieving operational excellence requires new approaches and methods to optimize existing processes. That’s why more than 34% of process mining use cases today are related to business process improvement. Process discovery helps organizations visualize the reality of their business processes by examining the electronic footprints left in various IT systems. From this structured data, process mining software will automatically create a process model to enable an in–depth analysis. Process maps are then created from the data logged during normal execution of the process, containing all the nuances of the process, statistical information and variants.
The benefit here is fast and cost-efficient process discovery that eliminates the need for piecing together the process from interviews. Not only do process maps reduce human error, they also help to uncover unusual transactions and can identify new opportunities to improve an enterprise’s operations.
There’s even more value to be found when process mining is used to gain insights that feed into technologies like intelligent automation (IA) or the internet of things (IoT). That’s because its process analytics capabilities can enable business users to prioritize IA and IoT solutions and their economic impact with just a few clicks, by combining operational system data to provide full visibility into what actions a user takes at each step in a business process.
As a result, advanced process mining capabilities capture real–time information from all systems in an organization and use this information to define the right activity at the right time. This allows the most repeatable patterns in a manual activity to be easily found and automated — reducing reliance on labour-intensive processes and enabling robots to work in the most efficient manner to lead a beneficial process outcome.
Process mining is set to be one of the most powerful solutions for a sustainable recovery post-pandemic. We’re already seeing the technology come into play in the world of data analytics at large companies as a business–critical application in the race for the fastest, most efficient and most transparent processes. With the right smart digital solutions in place, organizations can gain the competitive edge they need to thrive in a world beyond COVID-19 — however that may look.