Process Mining and Automation

With Hyperautomation at the forefront of the 2020 tech trends announced by Gartner, it is set to be an essential and strategic instrument for organizations looking to tackle and automate business processes. According to Gartner, “hyperautomation deals with the combined application of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Business Process Management (BPM) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), to increasingly automate processes and augment humans.” Based on this emerging trend, RoboRana provides the perfect expertise and Automation Toolbox that enables true Intelligent Process Automation. An essential part of this toolbox is Process Mining and Task mining, which we will be introducing today.

Process Mining

Process Mining is a technique to obtain more transparency and insights into your business processes. It is an emerging trend within enterprise technologies. The exact definition, defined by Gartner, is as follows: “Process mining is designed to discover, monitor and improve real processes by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in today’s information systems.” (2020 Gartner Market Guide for Process Mining).

Process Mining connects the worlds of Data Mining and Business Process Management (BPM). Data Mining focuses on the analysis of large data sets, while business process management is focused on modeling, controlling and improving business processes. Process Mining links these two worlds by combining data analysis with modeling, control and improvement of business processes. It applies specific data mining algorithms to the data saved in the event logs of IT systems in order to give a real-time end-to-end view of how business processes operate.

Many companies use Business Information Systems to collect, process, store and distribute information throughout their organization. Among these systems you may find ERP, CRM, diverse data bases and other boutique applications. Every interaction between business users and your processes leaves a digital trace. Date, time, user, activity and more are all captured in the event logs of the IT systems or applications. Process Mining captures these digital footprints within all the operational systems throughout an organization and analyzes them in real-time. Because Process Mining uses the event logs from your systems, that data is already available and ready to be used! With the help of Process Mining software, we can extract your data from the event logs and then use the software algorithms to automatically turn logs into a visual process workflow, describing each step of the journey to complete the process. This is what you can analyze in the end.

To give you an example, let’s look at a very common business process, the Order-To-Cash process. This process kicks off the moment a customer confirms an order (Real-World activity) through some sort of order management system (System Support for Sales Order). All activities performed in this process, like order fulfillment, shipping, invoicing and more, are logged in the event logs of the system, describing each and every step of the Order-To-Cash Process (Event Logs). All the steps captured in the event logs are then visually represented in a process model, displaying all activities, the paths between the activities, and the frequency of those paths (Process Model).

In short:

Source: Gartner Market Guide for Process Mining 2020

Process Mining gives us a true end-to-end view of how business processes operate. It creates the actual “as-is” process as opposed to the desired “should-be” process defined in BPM. Understanding the “as-is” state of a process is critical to knowing where problems exist or where bottlenecks occur. It helps organizations to uncover the root causes of any process inefficiencies and highlights the process obstacles to drive improvement of business Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the end-to-end process.

The business value

The true business value in process mining lays in highlighting all the bottlenecks, unproductive variants (different paths), deviations, and rework within the business process. It allows you to:

  • Visualize and understand your processes (Compare your actual process (“as-is”) to the desired process (“should-be”))
  • Identify root-causes for process inefficiencies and reveal the bottlenecks
  • Reduce throughput time
  • Discover your next automation opportunity
  • Continuously monitor and improve processes, turning process optimization into a long-term improvement mechanism

Process Mining fused with Process Automation
An essential part of each process automation journey is the organizational wide value discovery. Since Process Mining has already been used effectively to analyze the current state of business process performance, and identify areas of improvement, it can be the foundation for an optimization and automation roadmap. It is a great enabler to identify the business processes for which optimization and/or automation can have a huge impact.

As experts in intelligent process automation, we at RoboRana are excited to introduce Process Mining during the automation journeys at our clients. Most often, we start our journey with a short process discovery and brainstorming session before continuing with the automation of several tasks with RPA tools and/or automating end-to-end processes with low-code BPM technologies.

Bringing process mining and RPA together offers clear benefits. Firstly, Process Mining provides key insights throughout the entire RPA journey and helps to identify the best activities where more automation should be applied. For instance, “78% of Process Mining customers say process mining is key to enabling their RPA efforts,” according to Process Mining Sector Scan (January 2020, independent third-party study). Additionally, Process Mining offers an objective tool that enables our clients to measure the tangible results of the automation initiative and continuously monitor and improve the processes.

Process Mining provides key insights throughout the entire RPA journey and can enhance the automation capabilities.

Ok, but what about all the user tasks within a process?

Task mining to the rescue! Task Mining is the discovery, monitoring, and analysis of user interaction data on a desktop. Where Process Mining tools help organizations to better understand their business processes on a higher level based on event logs coming from systems, Task Mining is able to provide granular insights into the critical steps performed by users.

Task Mining combines the desktop user interaction data with process details mined from system event logs. More specifically, it enriches the information gathered from system event logs by adding in all the steps users perform in the front-end applications or applications without an event log. These tools are specifically designed to expose blind spots and provide the details necessary for successful automation or workforce optimization on business user level. It allows businesses to capture actual user interaction data (such as clicks and scrolls), which leads to the understanding of how work is getting done, and how they can improve these user tasks. For example, to reduce the number of steps needed for a user to finalize a form, we can analyze all the clicks and make improvements to the user interface.

Task Mining accelerates your digital transformation by understanding the intersection of your people, processes, and data. But how does it work? Well, Task Mining simply starts by collecting user interaction logs from multiple user through (non-intrusive) recordings. To ensure data security, sensitive information in these recordings can be easily removed through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and computer vision technology. Then, without the fear of violating data security rules, it is possible to analyze the user interaction data with process analysis tools to mine all task types and gain deep understanding of process event by drilling into multiple task cases. This will give us a visual representation of the tasks’ workflow, which indicates where repetitive and inefficient tasks are slowing down your processes. Moreover, it will give recommendations about which of these tasks are most valuable to automate.

Task mining overview:

RoboRana embraces Process Mining & Task Mining to improve your process insights!
At RoboRana, we are true pioneers that implement and reinforce your Intelligent Automation journey. To embrace Intelligent Process Automation, RoboRana created 4 connected pillars that cover the different pieces needed in the enterprise automation toolbox. Process Mining belongs to one of those pillars, namely “Process Insights”.

Thanks to powerful partnerships with leading technology vendors in the sector, our team offers a full range of Intelligent Automation opportunities, including Process Mining state-of-the-art tooling. These tools can help organizations easily capture information from IT systems and provides detailed and data-driven information about how key processes are performing. It will generate a visual data-based view of process performance, revealing where problems and opportunities lie. It will reinforce an organization’s dedication to data-driven decision making.

RoboRana partners up with UiPath, ABBYY and IBM, all recognized as representative vendors in Gartner 2020 Market Guide for Process Mining, offering a state-of-the-art Process Mining tool:

  • UiPath Process Mining (formerly know as ProcessGold) is an advanced platform for continuous business process optimization. It takes an x-ray of your processes to optimize how your robots, people and systems work together. The UiPath Platform is the only automation platform with integrated Process Mining, showing business context and impact of automation on end-to-end processes. It gives a single solution from process discovery to automation.
  • ABBYY Timeline is a Process Intelligence platform featuring advanced task and process mining technology. ABBYY allows businesses to utilize the latest and greatest innovation in artificial intelligence to automatically build an interactive digital twin of their processes, analyze them in real-time to identify bottlenecks, and predict future outcomes to facilitate decision-making of technology investments. Their power lies in its unique Timeline Analysis visualization that reconstructs the original process instances, step-by-step, from event data.
  • Last week (nov 2020) myInvenio and IBM launched a strategic business partnership to help businesses make quick and easy wins in the hyperautomation journey. myInvenio brings new capabilities to IBM’s Cloud Pak for Automation with Process Mining Integration and offers IBM the final piece it needed to provide a full-service hyperautomation platform. myInvenio is an Operational Intelligence and Digital Transformation solution that offers full management of Business Process Improvements and Transformation by automatically reading process data and providing highly detailed, in-depth process analysis. myInvenio provides you with a real Digital Twin of your Organization, deriving an extremely precise model of your processes and enabling you to pursue continuous improvement initiatives with a low-cost and fail-fast approach.

In the future, we expect to see many platforms that involve a combination of Process Mining, RPA and BPM, putting our whole Digital Automation Toolbox to work. So, if process mining sounds like a turn-on to you, we are here to help your business excel!

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December 2, 2020

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