Explained: How Process Mining Complements Business Process Automation

JUNE 16, 2023

Summary: Business Process Automation (BPA) has improved the way organizations run their operations by streamlining processes and improving efficiency. However, to maximize the benefits of BPA, organizations must gain deeper insights into their existing processes, identify bottlenecks, and uncover areas for improvement. This is where Process Mining comes into play. Process Mining uses system logs to produce real-time and up-to-date process flow diagram.

In this three-part blog, we will demystify Process Mining, explore its top use cases, and delve into how it complements Flowable, a leading BPA platform.

Part 1: Process Mining Explained

Process Mining is a data-driven methodology that leverages event logs from the systems on which the processes run and applies algorithms to reconstruct, visualize real-life business processes.

By capturing and analyzing digital footprints left by systems and users, Process Mining provides a comprehensive understanding of process execution, deviations, and performance metrics. Unlike traditional process mapping techniques, Process Mining is not based on assumptions or manual inputs but relies on factual data for accurate insights. Understand process mining to be a CT scan of your business processes.

Process Mining is a three-part process:

  1. Capturing Event Logs: Process Mining begins by collecting event logs from various IT systems and software applications. These event logs contain a combination of information such as timestamps, unique ID of the task , and users involved, enabling a detailed analysis of process execution.

  2. Process Discovery: Through algorithms, Process Mining reconstructs the end-to-end process flow based on the captured event logs. This helps organizations visualize the actual process, highlighting both the intended path and variations that occur in practice.

  3. Performance Analysis: Process Mining provides in-depth analytics on process performance, measuring cycle times, throughput, bottlenecks, and resource utilization. It enables organizations to identify inefficiencies, delays, and deviations from the desired process flow.

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Figure 1: Simple Process Mining Representation for an Order to Cash Process

Part 2: Top 3 Use Cases for Process Mining

Process Mining offers a wide range of applications across industries.

Here are top three key use cases of Process Mining:

  1. Process Compliance: Process Mining helps organizations ensure compliance with regulations and internal policies. By analyzing process execution against predefined rules and guidelines, it identifies non-compliant activities and deviations, enabling timely corrective actions. Example: Process Mining in a telecom company's Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) process can uncover inefficiencies and compliance issues. It identifies delays, bottlenecks, and deviations in procurement, vendor management, and invoice processing, enabling process optimization, timely payments, and improved cost management.

  2. Process Optimization: Process Mining identifies bottlenecks and inefficiencies within processes, enabling organizations to optimize their operations. By pinpointing areas for improvement, organizations can streamline workflows, reduce cycle times, and enhance overall process efficiency. Example: In the manufacturing sector, Process Mining can identify specific steps causing production delays, enabling companies to implement targeted improvements and increase throughput.

  3. Customer Journey Analysis: Process Mining enables a holistic view of the customer journey across touchpoints and departments. It helps organizations uncover opportunities for enhancing customer experiences, and improve overall satisfaction. Example: In the e-commerce industry, Process Mining can reveal gaps and delays in the order fulfillment process, allowing companies to optimize the customer journey and deliver a seamless shopping experience.

Part 3: How Process Mining Complements Flowable’s Capabilities

Flowable, a leading Business Process Automation(BPA) platform, provides powerful process automation capabilities. To enhance the potential of Flowable, organizations can leverage the findings from the Process Mining project to undertake targeted process automation initiatives.

Let’s look at top 3 ways in which organizations can complement Process Mining with Flowable’s BPA capabilities:

  1. Continuous Process Improvement: Process Mining provides real-time insights into process execution, allowing organizations to identify opportunities for optimization and make data-driven decisions. By combining Flowable's automation capabilities with Process Mining, organizations can achieve continuous process improvement.

  2. Enhanced Process Discovery: Process Mining helps organizations discover hidden or undocumented process variations, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of the end-to-end process. This knowledge can be leveraged to design more effective and robust BPMN flows in Flowable.

  3. Root Cause Analysis: When issues or inefficiencies arise within automated processes, Process Mining can be used in conjunction with Flowable to conduct root cause analysis. By analyzing event logs and process data, organizations can pinpoint the underlying causes of process deviations or failures. This knowledge can then be used to refine and enhance automated workflows in Flowable, mitigating future issues.

Tushar Srivastava

BPM enthusiast and former Gartner Analyst with a decade of experience in business process and requirement gathering, process mapping and management.

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