The Ultimate Process Mining Guide

Introduction to process mining

Understand your business processes and take the first step towards modern process optimization with process mining

Process mining is a technique to discover, analyze, and optimize business processes. In traditional business process management, processes are analyzed through time-consuming process workshops and interviews. The old approach results in a subjective picture of the ideal process.

Spend less time on process workshops and interviews

Process mining takes an entirely different - and far more objective – approach. Process mining uses existing data from corporate information systems and automatically displays a dynamic visualization of the real processes, their performance as well as their compliance.

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Process mining will give you the answer to any questions you have regarding your processes. What happened, who took the action, where or when are inefficiencies taking place, and why are some regions more error-prone than others?

Unlike traditional process discovery, process mining provides answers not only to “what is happening in my processes?”, and “when is it happening?” – but also “why is this happening?”.

Traditional Process Discovery

  • Subjective
  • Time-consuming
  • Resource-heavy
  • Looking at one specific point in time

Process Mining

  • Objective
  • Instant
  • High ROI
  • Continuous and predictive

How does process mining work?

When your employees or software robots interact with IT systems – such as SAP, Salesforce or Oracle – 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. It then uses it to visualize the real-life execution of your company’s processes together with other insights drawn from the event logs.

Getting started with process mining is simpler than you would imagine. The required event data contains the following three columns:

  • The case ID. This is a series of characters that identify different cases in the system, for example, sales order number, purchase order number, or an order line identification number.
  • Event type. This explains the occurring process step, for example that the purchase order has been created.
  • A timestamp. This is the actual time when each process step has been completed.

Process flow visualization with QPR Process Mining

With this data, the process mining tool creates business process flowcharts, finds root causes to problems, identifies automation opportunities, and much more.

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

Process mining analyzes a wide range of systems

These are examples of common use cases of process mining, but the technology is highly adaptable, and it can be used to analyze and improve any process that is supported by a system that generates event logs and generates data, even if the process is not directly supported by a system.

Process mining can be used to analyze:

Business Process Management Systems (BPMS): Process mining analyzes processes that are managed by a BPMS, such as purchase order approval or customer service request handling.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems: processes that are supported by an ERP system, such as order-to-cash or procure-to-pay.

Supply Chain Management Systems: processes that are involved in managing a supply chain, such as production planning or logistics.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: processes that are involved in managing customer relationships, such as lead generation or complaint handling.

Human Resources Management Systems: Process mining analyzes the processes that are involved in managing human resources, such as recruitment or performance evaluation.

IT Service Management Systems: processes that are involved in IT service management, such as incident or problem management.

Healthcare Management Systems: processes that are involved in healthcare management, such as patient admission or diagnostic testing.

Public Service Management Systems: processes that are involved in managing public services, such as welfare benefits or disaster response.


The 7 steps of process mining

Step 1

Collect data

The first step in process mining is to collect data on the process that is being analyzed. This data is collected from event logs, which are generated by systems such ERP, BPMS, CRM, HR, ITSM, or other types of systems that are used to support the process.

Process mining tools take the existing transaction data from these information systems with pre-built connectors for a variety of systems (SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.).

As a new process mining user, you don't have to worry about this part - we help you get set up, so you can focus on improving your processes.

Step 2

Preprocess data

Once the data has been collected, it is often preprocessed to make it suitable for the analysis. This typically involves cleaning the data, removing any inconsistencies, and sometimes transforming it into a format that can be used by the process mining tool.

At QPR Software, our experts do this work for you.

Step 3

Discover processes

The next step is to use the process mining software to discover the real-life process from the data.

You will see automatic visualizations of your as-is process flows and discover how your processes perform. Drill down to the most granular detail, see all your process variations or view trends on a high level.

Step 4

Analyze and drill down to root causes

After the process has been discovered, you can analyze it using various process mining metrics and techniques.

This involves measuring performance indicators such as lead time, conformance, or process efficiency, and identifying areas where the process can be improved.

The Root Cause Analysis reveals the reasons behind the problems in your processes (e.g. bottlenecks, rework, and unwanted process variations). It highlights them in flowcharts and ranks them based on how they contribute to business outcomes. This helps you prioritize actions when you want to improve your business operations.

Step 5

Optimize your processes

Based on the analysis, you can start improving your processes. This can be done by different process improvement methodologies.

By optimizing your processes, you can improve performance, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

Step 6

See a prioritization of automation candidates

Once you’ve optimized your processes, process mining shows you which processes are suitable for automation – in priority order.

View expected ROI, automate where it makes sense, and easily scale automation initiatives.

Step 7

Predict KPI Performance and prevent problems

The only constant in life is change, and the same applies to business processes. Keep monitoring and predicting your KPIs and measure how your strategic objectives are met with process mining.

Process mining gives you instant, dynamic reports - you won't need to waste time building reports manually.

The benefits of process mining

With process mining, you can find and get rid of your biggest process inefficiencies. Process mining not only visualizes your processes, but also reveals problem areas. There areas are highlighted in process flowcharts and ranked based on how they contribute to business outcomes. With process mining, you know where to start and what to prioritize when you want to improve your operations – and easily monitor how it went.

Process mining enables you to:

  • Get an x-ray of your processes
    Get a 100% objective view of your processes based on the data in your IT systems: understand your processes, see bottlenecks, errors, and other inefficiencies – and have the confidence to make the required changes in your processes.

    "You build an x-ray of your processes"
    -Siem Jaspers, Supply Chain Analyst, Terumo Europe
  • Quantify the value of improvement initiatives and automation
    Demonstrate value before and after implementing changes. Prove how improvement initiatives and automation contribute to concrete business outcomes.
  • Get your stakeholders on board
    You need to understand how your organization works, what to prioritize, and what to transform – and get everyone else on board. Process mining helps you make data-driven decisions with expected ROI and investigate the process in detail together with your stakeholders.
  • Get value in no time
    Process mining has a short time-to-value:

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

Process mining use cases

Process mining can be applied to, essentially, any area where there is a process involved. Typical use cases include intelligent automation, digital transformation, compliance, auditing, KPI reporting, process improvement, and ERP development.

Intelligent Automation

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.

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.

Process mining provides answers to questions such as:

  • What is the expected ROI for this automation initiative?
  • Which processes are the most suitable for automation?
  • What are the most common process exceptions?
  • How does the automation rate of a process vary across different countries?
  • How do I prove the value of this automation initiative?

Read more:

Process mining for Intelligent Automation (solution page)

7 ways in which process mining adds value to intelligent automation (blog)



While auditors traditionally receive information on processes through extensive interviews and reviewing process documentation, process mining increases the effectiveness of the work of both internal and external auditors by providing them with instant, full insight into the organization’s present and past processes. This allows auditors to move from an analysis of subjective samples to an analysis of the objective, full, as-is process, bringing along assurance and cutting down on precious time consumed.

Read more: process mining for auditing (solution page).



Process mining tools are an efficient and effective way to identify possible compliance issues. To check the compliance of processes, compliance managers traditionally have to go through extensive sampling, as processes often vary from one cycle to another. Still, this does not guarantee 100% transparency, as deviations fly past the human eye. Process mining on the other hand allows users to view, compare, and contrast processes in real-time. This significantly cuts down on the hassle and provides the end-user with a thorough list of all irregularities.

Read more:

Catch compliance issues in your Accounts Payables before it's too late.


Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a must for any organization wanting to thrive in their current market. However, deciding on and justifying changes and new systems may be tricky. Process mining tools provide change managers with end-to-end visibility of their processes, making it easy to identify areas in need of improvement. Proving the value of automation has never been this easy – your case can be supported by the click of a button.

Read more: Process mining for digital transformation (solution page)


Process KPI Reporting

In order to make decisions based on facts and data, management teams need to have a system of smart, effective, and realistic KPIs. However, many businesses struggle with their KPI-related tasks: often, it simply takes too long to establish a KPI measurement and reporting system in the first place.

Included in a process mining model are already 1000+ KPIs – process mining users won't have to waste time waiting for individual KPIs to be built to monitor and report the state of the business. Process mining and the predictive capabilities provided by some vendors allow you to act on the most important KPIs already before potential issues or bottlenecks arise. This is effectively changing the way organizations think - from late fixes to preventive actions.

Read more: process mining for process intelligence (solution page)


Process Improvement

Process mining identifies where you should focus your process improvement efforts by highlighting long lead times, undesired process variations, sources of rework, among other process inefficiencies. Decrease time spent in defining, measuring, and analyzing issues in your Lean Six Sigma initiatives and use more time on improving and controlling your processes.

Read more: process mining for process improvement (solution page)



Process mining is also used by IT professionals to manage the complexity of ERP migrations, implementations, and deployments. When organizations are about to either undertake a system transformation or implement a brand-new ERP, the first steps always involve understanding and reviewing the current process before moving on to new systems and processes.

Without having an end-to-end view of the processes continuously, they end up migrating the same ineffective processes into the new system while not being able to see the bottlenecks and problems in the migration. Process mining is used to tackle these challenges: it compares the as-is processes compared to the designed process models, shows the best and the worst process variations, and provides continuous end-to-end visibility of the process flow, and alerts users when problems arise.

Read more: process mining for IT and ERP development (solution page)


IT & ERP Development

Process mining is also used by IT professionals to manage the complexity of ERP migrations, implementations, and deployments. When organizations are about to either undertake a system transformation or implement a brand-new ERP, the first steps always involve understanding and reviewing the current process before moving on to new systems and processes.

Without having an end-to-end view of the processes continuously, they end up migrating the same ineffective processes into the new system while not being able to see the bottlenecks and problems in the migration. Process mining is used to tackle these challenges: it compares the as-is processes compared to the designed process models, shows the best and the worst process variations, and provides continuous end-to-end visibility of the process flow, and alerts users when problems arise.

Read more: process mining for IT and ERP development (solution page)


Process mining processes

Processes can be defined differently based on each business’ needs. However, fundamental business processes that most companies have include Purchase-to-Pay (P2P), Order-to-Cash (O2C), and Service Management processes. On top of this, there are supporting processes that process mining can help improve tremendously: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Management, and Incident Management – to name a few examples.


The Purchase-to-Pay process is also known as PtP, procure-to-pay, or req-to-check. It refers to business processes that cover requisitioning, purchasing, confirming, receiving, paying for, and accounting for goods and services.

As the transactional volume is extremely high and often quite complex (with different approvals, procedures requests and suppliers), each step within the processes is a potential source of errors. This makes Purchase-to-Pay a good target for process mining, which brings visibility to the entire end-to-end process and identifies root causes for problems such as bottlenecks, uncompliant processes, and Maverick Buying.

Read more: 

Identifying Maverick Buying in PtP with process mining (blog)

Process mining for Procurement (solution page)

Accounts Payable

Accounts payable processes are carried out continuously throughout all companies, regardless of industry or size. It is one of the broadest and most important processes, yet many find it hard to keep track of the endless paths that an invoice may take on its route to payment. Furthermore, unwanted invoices that end up in the stream as well as extensive policies and regulations do not make the job any easier.

Process mining can help you at every step of the way by providing you with a transparent and easily comprehendible view of your complete processes. As such, you can identity points at which payments are overdue, why these delays occur, and which invoices end up in the wrong hands.

This enables you to cut down on the rate of overall outstanding receivables, reduce the amount of time spent on manual corrections, improve cash flow, and showcase your accountability to your partners.


Read more: How to Use the Accounts Payable Process to Gain Competitive Advantage


Accounts Receivable

Without accounts receivable (A/R) processes, your business would quickly see your available capital diminish from your bank accounts. In all simplicity, the process follows the following pattern: an invoice is created, sent out, and paid. However, as with any process, things are bound to sometimes not go according to plan. The terms of an agreement may change, the invoice may have had incorrect billing information, or the receiving partner was supposed to be subject to a price decrease – sending your invoices on a path of inefficiency.

Process mining is your safeguard to smooth A/R processes and the answer to the question “where are we going wrong?”. With process mining, you will be able to drill down in detail on where incorrect invoices are sent out or what clients are causing delays, how these cause inefficiencies, and what changes you can make to improve your cash flow. With process mining you may find that simple acts of automation or a change in the invoicing path may significantly improve your performance.



The Order-to-Cash (OtC) process covers the whole process cycle of handling customer orders, extending across different units, such as warehousing, delivery, invoicing, and account management. Consequently, the Order-to-Cash process is a key business process in many enterprise information systems. A typical OtC process includes five major steps: sales order created, picking done, confirmed delivery date, invoice created, and payment received.

However, it's not always this straightforward. The Order-to-Cash process is usually a high-volume process that often has lots of variations (for instance, unwanted changes in the process that prolong lead times and affect both internal efficiency and customer satisfaction).

Process mining visualizes the OtC process continuously and automatically. It shows you how to reduce rework, delays, and order changes by showing root causes for the inefficiencies discovered in your OtC process. Moreover, process mining helps you identify delivery or automation blocks and compliance issues with ready-made analyses and charts and monitor the performance of the end-to-end process continuously.

Read more: Process Mining for the Order-to-Cash Process (blog)


Order Management

From running out of stock, lost shipments, to long production times, order management is an endless loop of faulty processes. Where companies often push to work faster to make sure that products reach the end customer as quickly as possible, they often fall short on viewing order management from a holistic perspective. In order to be fast, you will have to understand your complete process and as such you will be able to avoid time-consuming errors piling up.

Furthermore, order management is about meeting the client’s expectations and quick delivery, although important, is only one aspect thereof. Customers also expect accurate information about their delivery, from a to-the-day accurate estimated time of delivery time to an on-call ability to check the status of their order. By providing you with a complete view of your order management process, process mining enables you to meet your clients’ expectations: pin-point inefficiencies in order processing, provide data-based delivery time estimates, and understand where accuracy would be a better KPI than speed.

Read more: process mining for order management (solution page)


Service Management

From the starting point of your service management processes all the way until resolving a customer case or service-level agreement, a record exists of when such an event took place in the service management process. Process mining provides an unbiased, fact-based analysis of service management processes.

QPR ProcessAnalyzer transforms the event traces - the process data - into actionable insights. Spotting breaches of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and monitoring the state of company-wide or unit-wide service requests has never been easier.

Read more: process mining for service management (solution page)


Incident Management

An incident is an unplanned interruption to an IT Service that may result in complete unavailability or a reduction in the quality. The goal of the incident management process is to restore a normal service operation as quickly as possible and to minimize the impact on business operations. However, this is not a straightforward process, and often involves multiple people in multiple different teams.

Process mining serves as a tool for you to synchronize your data of actual responses to incidents and through analysis thereof examine similarities and differences in incident management across the whole organization. This allows not only a check of conformance and an evaluation of a specific incident, but also for a continuous loop of incident management improvement as your compilation of event data can be compared across time and place.

Read more: 10 benefits of using process mining for incident management (blog)


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The business leader's guide to process mining in 2024

In this guide, we provide an introduction to process mining, the market outlook for 2024 and beyond, and explain how it can be used to benefit enterprise companies. 

Get a comprehensive overview of the process mining landscape and learn how progressive companies use it to bring clarity to their processes in uncertain times.

Whether you’re a business leader, a C-level executive, or a process improvement professional, this guide will provide a valuable overview of the process mining landscape and how it’s done in progressive enterprise companies.

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