Whether at an event such as the Process Management Forum, through the Gartner Market Guide or through professional networks, more and more companies are discovering Process Mining – the technology that is revolutionizing process analysis. But what exactly is Process Mining? When researching, you often come across terms such as data transformation, discovered models and conformance checking. But what do all these terms stand for?
Let us explore the topic of Process Mining step by step. Learn how you can easily take your first steps towards optimal processes.
The Basics: Of Data and Digitization
The goal of Process Mining is to precisely analyze business and production processes for weak points and opportunities for improvement. This enables you to derive a strategy for targeted optimization.
To achieve this, however, a Process Mining tool first needs input. It needs information that the software can use to understand the processes. This is where log files come into play.
Processes that run through any type of IT system leave behind data. Think for instance of an order transaction via SAP. The system automatically collects information about the order, customers, prices, and more. MRP systems (“Material Requirements Planning”) store data on material stocks and processes in internal logistics in exactly the same way.
The system stores all this information in the form of logs. Imagine these files like the log books on ships, except that the entries are not created manually, but automatically. They contain data on specific process activities, time stamps for these activities, and a number of other so-called “attributes”, such as costs, location, or responsible business units.
You will have noticed by now: Since Process Mining does not work without these log files, the technology can only really be applied to digitally documented processes. For example, if your invoice verification is still completely paper-based, without a single value being entered into the computer, there is of course nothing that can be read by a Process Mining tool. For many companies, the technology is therefore a driving force for digital transformation.
Process Mining – Transform strategically. Implement smartly. Optimize sustainably.
With LANA Process Mining you have full control over your digitization strategy. You can find out how LANA makes your company faster, more efficient and smarter by talking to our experts.
The Next Step: From Log to Process
The log files of your IT systems now provide the fodder for the Process Mining tool. The software reads the data, recognizes correlations and virtually tracks the process activities. In order for all this to work without errors, validation or transformation of the data is usually necessary beforehand. Your IT experts usually work together with data scientists to standardize the data sets and to close possible gaps in the data, for example.
The first thing the software creates from the process data is a so-called Discovered Model. In this virtual model, your process is visualized exactly as it actually takes place. Does the data for a particular machine in production always record long waiting times? Then you will see a bottleneck in the process model for this. Is a certain step in invoice verification occasionally omitted? The model shows you these skips.
Here is the kicker: Process Mining builds this Discovered Model in all its variations within seconds. What used to take process analysts hours and days is now automatically prepared for you at the touch of a button.
This model provides you with comprehensive and in-depth transparency into your processes. The insights into bottlenecks, weaknesses and opportunities for optimization are invaluable for many companies. However, the benefits of Process Mining do not stop there.
Dive into the Details: Conformance Checking and Root Cause Analysis
Here lies the true strength of solutions like LANA Process Mining. The tool not only visualizes your processes, it also handles the complete analysis automatically.
You can easily combine the created Discovered Model, which represents the actual state of a process, with a Target Model. This model represents the process as it should ideally run. The tool compares these two models and can show you within seconds the deviations of the actual state from the target state. This target/actual comparison is also called Conformance Checking.
A tip: With the Conformance Check, not only can ineffective process deviations be found. The function is also particularly suitable for checking your business processes for internal and external compliance, for example in preparation for an important audit.
Finally, a look at a feature that makes LANA Process Mining unique and turns your optimization measures into a breeze: the Root Cause Analysis. LANA not only shows you where and what kinds of deviations occur in your processes. The tool uses innovative approaches from Machine Learning to go one step further. In the cause analysis, LANA specifically shows you the causes of the identified weak points. Every fourth process run has conspicuously long waiting times? With LANA you can find out on which machine or in which product category these delays primarily occur. Use this knowledge as a starting point for sustainable process improvements.