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The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Process Mining Software

Have you heard about process mining, but are still unsure about how it works and why you should use it in your organization? In this blog post, you’ll find answers to the most common questions that we get from companies considering if, and how, they could use process mining to gain insights into their operations and business processes.

You'll find answers to questions such as:

  1. We already use a BI system, why should we take another system into use?
  2. Suppose we find a problem in the process. How does this tool help us fix those problems?
  3. What kind of problems and solutions can you discover with process mining? 
  4. Our data is in two different systems. Can process mining software connect to these systems and combine data from different sources?
  5. What is required from us in order to use your process mining tool? We’re not looking to invest in any integration of systems.

 



🏁 The basics

How does process mining software work?

When your employees or software robots interact with IT systems – such as SAP, Salesforce, or Oracle - in your company, the activities leave a trace of data behind, referred to as an event log.

Process mining takes the data that exists in these information systems and uses it to visualize the real-life execution of your company’s processes together with other insights drawn from the event logs.

Process mining software, such as QPR ProcessAnalyzer, draws this data directly from your information systems through built-in connectors.

process-mining

> Find out more about process mining, its use cases, and business processes on our comprehensive process mining page.

Who can use process mining? Where?

Essentially any organization, in any industry, can use process mining. However, the larger the organization and the more complex the processes, the more you get out of process mining. QPR’s process mining software, QPR ProcessAnalyzer, has been used to mine insights from 70+ processes (such as procurement, order management, and more) and includes solutions for a variety of use cases, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Digital Transformation, and Auditing and Compliance. Our customers include large companies from a variety of industries: Ericsson, KBC Group, Nokia, Metsä Board, and Terumo (customer stories can be found here).



❔ Questions & Answers

Below are the process mining-related questions that we get asked most often! Is your question missing? Comment below or book a meeting with us - we are always happy to help :) 

1. "We already use a BI system. Why should we take another system into use?"

There are clear differences between business intelligence (BI) systems and process mining, although they both serve the same purpose of providing insights into processes and enabling business leaders to make better, fact-based decisions.

Although both BI and process mining help you measure and monitor targets, process mining adds to this by helping you quickly perform process analyses in real-time. These pre-built analyses easily reveal a variety of areas for optimization: bottlenecks, compliance violations, and process deviations, which are visualized based on your actual operations.

Process Mining vs BI (Business Intelligence)


Process mining helps you focus on the problems with the biggest business impact


Another significant difference between process mining and business intelligence concerns finding the root causes of problems.

Process mining reveals problem areas in your processes by highlighting them in flowcharts and ranking them based on how they contribute to business outcomes. This tells you what to prioritize when you want to improve your business operations. Process mining provides answers not only to “what is happening?”, and “when is it happening?” – but also “why is this happening?”. 

“We gave the data of the system, and right away, in 5 minutes, we saw the bottlenecks of the process." -Piraeus Bank


One more difference between process mining software and business intelligence (BI) tools concerns ease of use: Whereas millions of rows of process data might prove difficult to tackle using traditional BI methods, with process mining you get an easily understandable, visualized overview of your processes with pre-built KPIs using process mining.

For example, in the words of our customer KBC Group, QPR ProcessAnalyzer is extremely user-friendly and you won’t need an expert to interpret results.

 


 

2. "Suppose we find a problem in the process. How does this tool help us fix those problems?"

Just as Word does not write documents itself, process mining cannot fix the problem for you. However, process mining software with built-in root cause analysis help you identify and locate the most significant problems at a glance and notify you when things are going wrong in your processes. This means that you can act immediately to optimize processes with the biggest business impact and fix errors before they happen, instead of e.g. waiting a year for an auditor to tell you what went wrong in the past. 

When you have discovered how your processes work in reality, you will surely find areas that you want to dig deeper into. With Root Cause analysis, you'll easily see what's causing problems such as long lead times or repetitive work. Besides identifying the areas that are causing problems, our process mining software QPR ProcessAnalyzer also ranks them according to their contribution to business outcomes, so you know how to prioritize your corrective actions. However, how you fix the problem depends on the type of problem you identified.

Root Cause analysis

The built-in root cause analysis is integrated with the other analyses. In other words, you can instantly use it together with other types of analyses, such as duration, conformance, automation, or maverick buying analysis.

This is something that customers such as EY have found very useful – first, you spot a problem with conformance analysis, and with one click, you’ll see the root causes of the problem.



 



3. What kind of problems and solutions can you discover with process mining?

Three common examples: 

  1. Maybe you are having problems with a specific supplier or account manager? Process mining will pinpoint who is causing the problems and how big the business impact of these problems is. With ready-made solutions that you can use to analyze e.g. Service Level Agreements, the Four Eye Principle and Maverick Buying, you will be able to spot which supplier or account manager is causing your organization the most significant problems through Maverick Buying, errors, or fraud.

  2. You may also find, for example, that employees in one geographical area have not understood how to use the ERP system properly, and this is causing a lot of problems which add up to a large business impact. By hosting more training sessions for employees in this area or unit to learn to use the ERP system properly, your organization will see significant cost savings.

  3. Perhaps your extensive process variations are causing issues for your Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots? Often, businesses get excited by RPA and the substantial business benefits it can bring to a company. However, RPA can be very costly if you implement it without having a sufficient understanding of your processes. The reason for this is that software robotics are programmed to follow certain rules, while the processes and steps you wish to automate naturally have extensive variations.

    Our process mining software not only shows all your process variations and the most common ones, but also suggests how you can optimize your processes and improve the performance of your RPA bots. For instance, you will see which manual activities are causing the longest lead times and would be the most profitable to automate next, and track the performance and progress of your automation initiative.

    Moreover, something we have noticed regarding RPA with our current customers is that they do not know their automation rates and have trouble maximizing their ROI on current automation initiatives.

    Do you know what your percentage of zero-touch processes is? 

    With the process mining software QPR ProcessAnalyzer we helped a large bank increase the automation rate of existing automation initiatives (instead of just focusing on finding new opportunities for automation), and in two months they increased their zero-touch rate from 5 % to 40 % and saved € 2.6 million.





4. "Our data is in two different systems. Can process mining software connect to these systems and combine data from different sources?"

Yes, process mining software often have some kind of Connectors that enable the transferring of data. The QPR Connectors enable QPR's process mining software to connect to a variety of source systems. Using these connectors, QPR ProcessAnalyzer systematically transfers data from source systems to the QPR ProcessAnalyzer server, enabling data quality validation and real-time analysis.

It is possible to utilize data that's spread across disconnected systems and applications: if your organization is using several on-premise SAP ERP systems, one Salesforce cloud solution, a few custom SQL applications, and some excel files – don’t worry, you can use the event data from all of them for the process mining model.

Connecting data from different sources is possible in the following ways (and this is something that QPR helps you with):

  1. When the cases in two different datasets have the same ID. In this case, it is very straightforward.
  2. When the systems use a different ID for the same case and this connection is known, data can be combined based on this logic. Of course, it is also possible that the processes are analyzed as separate entities based on data - not everything needs to be combined.

 


 

5. "What is required from us in order to use your process mining tool? We’re not looking to invest in any integration of systems."

All process mining vendors have different ways of helping their customers to start using their software. We have developed a framework to explain how we help our customers, consisting of the following steps: Data-Model-Insight-Value.

This concept is used to describe not only the steps of taking process mining into use with QPR ProcessAnalyzer but also to clarify the division of tasks and responsibilities.

Data to model: QPR checks where your organization’s data comes from, and whether there is a need to make some arrangements (such as anonymization). Thereafter, QPR connects to it using the QPR Connectors. We will still go through the process mining model with you before the second phase, to make sure everything is correct.

Model to insight: After that, 'magic happens' - that is, the actual process analysis work begins. This is where you are more involved, and sometimes, this phase happens with the help of a partner. With QPR ProcessAnalyzer’s extensive ready-made analyses and presets for various use cases, we’ve made the analysis part easy for you.

Insight to value: This is the part of the process mining journey that you are fully in charge of. In this phase, you make the changes, based on the insights from the previous phase, that lead to the actual value – whether this is system development, change management, six sigma, or Robotic Process Automation.



Lastly - do you have questions? Comment below and we’ll answer! 😊

Now is a good time to take a look at process mining if your company hasn’t already. The capabilities and usability of process mining software are improving rapidly, and the market is quickly becoming mature, although there’s still much work to be done. If you think your company is ready to step it up with the future of as-is process modeling and process efficiency maximization, the fastest way to get things moving is to send our process mining team a direct message:

Contact Us

 

Written by

Saara Bergman

Product Marketing Manager for QPR ProcessAnalyzer

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