In my previous blog post about whether process mining should be included in your BPM roadmap, I listed out 5 business challenges you can solve with process mining:
1. Outdated improvement plans
2. Inefficiencies in organization
3. No process visualization
4. Deviation in processes and performance
5. No insight into root causes behind poor performance
If you are also facing similar challenges as listed above, read on, because in this blog post, I will be sharing with you 3 steps on solving these challenges by applying process mining to your company.
The 3 steps are: visualize, design, and benchmark.
1. Visualize the as-is process
To improve your processes, you and your organization have probably invested a lot of efforts and resources throughout the history of the company. There have been countless workshops, discussions and interviews to understand what is the current state and what should be the future state. To get an accurate view on how things are currently done as-is – not just the gut feeling and the loudest comments to-be, you need factual insights into your business operations.
To obtain this game changing intelligence, you need to utilize the data in your own systems and it will give you an exact picture of how things are done. If you consider, for example, such a core process as Order to Cash, there are several actions that are taken and completed with a supporting system , which is very often an ERP. When you take the data, you can use it to draw an actual visualization of how your business processes and events have been executed. Be warned, though. There are many ways things can be done and this variation will also be represented in the process visualization.
We often call this kind of a picture a bowl of spaghetti:
As you get access to process visualization, not only do you get an overall view of the complexity of your processes, you also get to understand the true scope of your processes. That brings us to the next step: How do you drill down and gain benefits from this process visualization?
2. Design the to-be process
First, you call the experts – the people in your company who are actually executing these events and processes. With them, you validate your process mining findings – yes, this indeed is how the process flows. With them, you can also identify what are the relevant steps in your processes. Your system might save all sorts of information, for example, related to changes done to an order and they are all represented in a visualization of process flow.
After confirming the findings, you should start identifying what are the important steps in a standard or desired process by asking yourself and your colleagues two questions:
i. Which types of events should always happen?
ii. Which should be avoided or eliminated?
This step will give you development points and targets, so you are certain about what and how much in your processes to improve, as well as what to reduce or to encourage.
The next step following the definition of the target process should be benchmarking. The purpose of benchmarking here is to compare and contrast between actual processes and the defined standard process. You can benchmark on several levels against the target, such as whole company, unit, plant, shipping point, or team. Benchmarking on different levels against target process reveals training needs and learning gaps, which is an excellent application to measure the success after a system implementation, for instance.
In QPR ProcessAnalyzer, the benchmarking feature empowers users to compare a specific process with another process. Event boxes are colored on a scale of red and blue, where color red represents a higher event frequency than average, and color blue indicates a lower event frequency than average.
These 3 steps are already a very good starting point for applying process mining to start solving your business challenges. If you want to discuss the next steps with one of QPR experts, send us a message. We’d be glad to share with you more about how process mining delivers tangible benefits for you and your organization. You are also welcome to challenge our ideas and see what insights we can tell you about process mining.