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7 ways in which process mining adds value to intelligent automation

Have you made sure that the processes and tasks you are about to automate are working as they should? The risk with using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) without supporting technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and process mining is that you don’t know your processes well enough and only end up creating inefficiencies – more efficiently. 

To gain the most value out of your automation investment and reach your full operational potential, you need to start from the right processes, be aware of their exceptions, and continuously monitor and streamline them with the right tools. This requires all three parts of intelligent automation: RPA, AI, and process mining. 

Intelligent automation (i.e., combining RPA with advanced technologies like AI-based process mining) is the only way for you to create truly resilient and efficient end-to-end processes. 

Let’s look at 7 different ways in which process mining technology adds value to intelligent automation.  

Discover your complete and unbiased end-to-end processes


1. Investigate interactive process-visualizations

Get everyone on the same page by automatically visualizing the real-life execution of your processes. 

The first step of any automation project is to discover how your processes are performed in reality, with all their variations and deviations. However, it’s often not enough that only you understand what’s happening in your organization’s processes. You must also get relevant stakeholders on board and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the starting point. Thereafter, you still have to agree on what to prioritize and automate. 

Process mining helps you do this by visualizing your complete and unbiased processes in interactive flowcharts, which allows you to go into as much detail as you like while discovering the processes. Make data-driven decisions with expected ROI and investigate all parts of the process together with your stakeholders. 

 

2. View all process exceptions and variations

Have you experienced delays in e.g., RPA implementation due to unexpected process exceptions, even though you would have mapped the process first? This is very common: PwC found that conducting an RPA Proof-of-Concept often takes 4-6 months instead of the expected 4-6 weeks. 

The underlying reason behind the delay is in how companies map their processes. Typically, exceptions are mapped by interviewing people who work with the process. This activity is not only resource-heavy but also provides subjective and inaccurate results. As we tend to oversimplify processes, we end up missing half of the exceptions. 

These undiscovered exceptions play a huge role in delivering functioning automation, as in order to work, RPA bots need to be taught how to handle the exceptions. If you’re not aware of your process exceptions, how could you teach RPA about them? 

Process mining automatically uncovers all variations and shows, among other things, the most common or the most inefficient process flows and steps. This is all crucial information when you’re getting started with automation, and process mining takes everything straight out of the source system using built-in connectors. 
 

3. Discover the most granular tasks

Some process mining software include task-level discovery, which enhances the holistic process understanding with detailed information and enables companies to create an even more complete picture of their processes.  

By combining the task-level discovery with process mining, you not only gain information on how processes run based on the IT system logs but also on the manual activities performed between the process steps (such as clicks or other desktop user actions).  

For example, QPR ProcessAnalyzer includes a task recording functionality, which enables you to discover processes on the most granular task level and use process mining together with any RPA, low-code, or workflow platforms.  

 

4. Find root causes for process and automation problems 

What’s causing things to go wrong in your processes?  

More advanced process mining software may include a Root Cause Analysis, which with a single click reveals the reasons behind your problems (such as bottlenecks, rework, and automation issues) in your processes by highlighting them in flowcharts and ranking them based on how they contribute to business outcomes. 

This helps you prioritize actions when you want to improve your operations. 

 

Select the right process to automate and prioritize your automation roadmap  

 

5. View a list of prioritized top automation opportunities 

RPA is often marketed as the panacea for all corporate inefficiencies. However, as RPA becomes more mature, companies are finding themselves stuck with high maintenance costs, broken bots, and no clue what’s changed in their processes. 

Process mining helps you stay in control of automation and stop creating new bots for each minor activity where business benefits aren’t obvious. The automation opportunity scout provides you with a prioritized list of the best automation opportunities in your organization. 

Save time on implementing automation by easily identifying the low-hanging fruits of automation in your organization and ensuring that you’re automating the simplest and most mature processes.

 

Prove the value of automation with the click of a button 
 

6. Benchmark automation levels 

Do you know at what rate your activities are automated and how they vary between different parts of the organization? Process mining gives you these insights that help you look for best practices and to focus your automation journey. 

For example, the flowchart below shows how you can keep track of the automation rate of the exact same process variation in different countries. The green boxes implicate process steps that have a good level of automation, whereas the process steps in red boxes are mostly performed manually. 

Screenshot of automation benchmarking with process mining software
(Click image to view a bigger version)

 

7. Calculate the ROI of automation  

Process mining helps you prove the business case for automation initiatives. Easily test out the impact of your automation plans before implementing them and estimate the ROI when you are looking into new automation possibilities. This feature, together with the automation opportunity scout, helps you ensure the success of your automation. 

 

Besides these 7 identified benefits, process mining also brings benefits related to monitoring the continuous success of automation, realizing the benefits of automation, and predicting process and automation failures.  


Upcoming Intelligent Automation Webinar

If you want to hear more about how process mining can help your automation journey, sign up to our webinar "Intelligent Automation Empowered by Process Mining - Creating Resilient and Efficient Processes" on March 24th. 

Written by
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Saara Bergman

Product Marketing Manager for QPR ProcessAnalyzer

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