Digital Transformation with X-ray – Promise of Process Mining | QPR

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3 March 2017

Digital Transformation with X-ray – Promise of Process Mining

Stating the obvious – digital transformation

It goes without saying that digital transformation will be the major headline for communications service providers (CSPs) for years to come. We can very well leave it here, just stating the obvious. But that surely is very little said. It does not shed any light on the actual challenges that you must overcome before, during, or after the transformation.

digital transformation

Experience tells us that even well prepared digital transformers will hit the heavy friction early on in their preparations of becoming a digital organization. It seems the more you prepare, the worse your chances get. It is a sudden impact that creeps upon you quietly, slaps you in the back of your head, so doubts and double vision are normal. If this didn’t happen, something went possibly wrong!

 

The blindfold you wear – digital sedimentation

The past three decades have been a time of rapid proliferation of digital systems with CSPs struggling to consolidate their systems alongside facing business challenges:

  1. Tougher competition, slimmer profit margins

  - Growth has become a game of outpacing competitors with new products and services.

  2. Problematic mergers

  - Mergers are regarded as the fastest route possible to acquire competences and capabilities.
  But merged businesses transformed into operational and systems silos.

  3. Slower business agility

  - Overall infrastructure and competences formed a highly fragmentary entity.
  - Business agility slowed down due to independent properties of silos.

  4. Digital transformation

  - Businesses understand that a complete overhaul is required for regaining business agility but lack an understanding of execution.

So, the recent years have been outlined by CSPs’ efforts to pay the architectural, technological, and operational debt that built up during the busy years that are now safely behind. The starting point of many CSPs was rather dire: a multitude of different systems serving the same corporate function. Integration of said systems was lagging far behind, making numerous tasks and duties impossible due to their manual character, utter simplicity, and stupendous amount of repetitions. Needless to say, cost efficiency became the victim in the race.

 

Digital sedimentation – not the see-through kind

It is a highly-disregarded fact that digitalization has led to some kind of a sedimentation: one digital system layer upon another and abrupt organizational changes cluttering the sediments into a systems architecture that can be called simply a mess!

Far too long overlooked, digital sedimentation has immense impacts on your business. With the build-up of sediments, you have in fact lost organizational transparency, and the lack of it opens the door to a lush amount of misinterpretations. In fact, you do not know your business processes. Your processes sure look very nifty in your official schematics, but you can’t really see them. Your process schematics are mere best guesses or even wishful thinking.

Picture 1. This is not your process!

process

So, what to do?

 

The organizational blindfold – risk of failure materializing

In order to plan and execute a successful digital transformation, you need full transparency and a correct understanding of the starting point. Failure to ‘tick all the boxes’ will leave you partially or completely blind on some very important aspects of the transformation:

  1. Digital sedimentation disrupts the transparency of the operational execution of your business. You must find a way to x-ray through the processes as they unfold.

  2. Siloing has a profound impact on your operations. The failure to understand the true amount of friction it can unravel leads to a radical delay or possibly complete failure of your transformation.

  3. Your ability to see a true nature of your processes is significantly weakened. You must be able to gather correct information to appropriately define your business requirements.

The failure to address the above-mentioned will result in a slowed down, unplanned, and iterative implementation process. Your project may come to a ‘grinding halt’! This manifests in changing or even completely new business requirements.

Picture 2. This either is not your process!

Process

New business requirements will fork the execution especially and the risk is that your transformation project begins almost secretly replicating the old siloed structure of both systems and processes. All processes in a dead-end will find the easiest way out and follow the same footsteps back!

Paradox is that you are at a risk of starting to lose the benefits that you are trying to access with your digital transformation. This paradox finds its fuel from the mismatch between the business processes you think you have and how your processes actually unfold.

Picture 3. No, neither is this your process!

Process

Processes are your foundations – process mining is your x-ray

Our years of expertise in process mining has taught us some very important lessons. Having conducted process mining projects with hundreds of companies, our core learnings include:

  1. Even the most successful companies suffer from process blindfolds and digital sedimentation

  2. Not one company has ever been able to realize all of its potentials

  3. All too often the processes come into focus only after business risks have materialized:

  - Runaway costs and lost cost-efficiency
  - Slow, unpredictable delivery chains and unreliable partners
  - Poor customer experience and high churn

  4. Process understanding varies greatly in-house and between silos

  5. Companies are systematically surprised as they learn their actual processes

  6. Process blindfold and digital sedimentation can and have killed businesses

We are confident that all of the above challenges can be addressed with process mining and they all can be counter acted early on.

 

Mining your own business – QPR Process Analyzer

Digital transformation is a project that touches each and every aspect of your business. Equally, in case of failure, negative impacts will also touch every aspect of your business.

This is the core reason why you should make sure you understand correctly your starting point. As said earlier, processes are your foundations, not your ICT – systems!

Picture 4. Now this IS your process! 

Process

We have strong evidence and accumulated experience to firmly believe that our QPR Process Analyzer is the x-ray and the process mining tool box you need:

Process mining infographic

If you are leading or planning the digital transformation and would like to hear our feedback, simply invite us to test your assumptions. We guarantee that once we have drilled down to your process data, we can reveal the true state of the matters and offer guidance and consultation on how to act upon those probably unexpected results.

A successful digital transformation starts with a correct understanding of your processes, only then can you match your goals and outcome of your transformation project. 

Tatu Heiskanen's picture
Tatu Heiskanen
Director, Process Mining & Strategy Management Delivery