Success Criteria for Process Mining
This article provides tips about the pitfalls and advice that will help you to make your first process mining project as successful as it can be.
By Anne Rozinat, Fluxicon & Frank van Geffen, Rabobank.
Process Mining is much more than the automatic drawing of process models.
Process mining is on the rise. By using Process mining, organizations can see how their processes really operate . The results are amazing new insights about these processes that cannot be obtained in any other way. However, there are a few things that can go wrong. In this article, Frank van Geffen and Anne Rozinat give you tips about the pitfalls and advice that will help you to make your first process mining project as successful as it can be.
Process mining doesn’t usually begin as a top-down initiative. Typically, there are a few enthusiastic people who want to do something with it. When they start a process mining initiative within their organization, they need to bypass the following classic pitfalls.
First of all: Being too fascinated with the technology itself can lead to an inability to show the added value from a business perspective. Secondly: An unrealistic image of the data availability, coming from the promise of Big Data, can lead to overblown expectations. And the third pitfall: Due to a wrong understanding of what process mining can do, the first project is often too ambitious in scope. Too much is being promised and it takes too long before the first results can be shown. This undermines the belief within the business that process mining produces a good ROI. A failed project then not only leads to a decrease in the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit among the process mining enthusiasts, but there is also the risk that process mining will not be picked up again in a new project for years.
So, how can you make sure that your process mining initiative is successful? What makes the difference between success and failure? We provide you with a roadmap (see Figure 1) and discuss four success factors.
Figure 1: Roadmap to making your process mining project successful
Success factor No. 1: Focus on the business value
Do: Define the business value in terms of effectiveness (customer experience and revenue), efficiency (costs) and risk (reliability). Determine into which process aspects you want to gain insights. To which business driver does this insight contribute? Better customer experience, cost reduction, risk mitigation?
Don’t: Don’t be overly fascinated with the possibilities of the technology. There are often multiple ways to get answers for your questions, and sometimes multiple data analysis techniques must be combined to get the full picture. Do not become fixated on ‘only’ using process mining.
Success factor No. 2: Start small, think big
Do: Connect the business driver to a specific business domain. Choose a process where the beginning and the end are clearly defined. Check whether this process is supported by an IT system. For example, call center or service desk processes are very suitable for a first project, because the data can be easily extracted from these systems. Also workflow systems are a good source of data for your process mining project. Each manager of such a process will benefit from insights that help to reduce costs or increase the effectiveness. This allows sponsorship on the management level. Choose a sponsor who is willing to support you (a sponsor who crosses their arms and says “Surprise me” is a red flag). And while you think about the possible use cases and application possibilities, also make sure to communicate what process mining is not (see Figure 2). By indicating clear boundaries, you can manage expectations on what it is.
Don’t: Do not start with the most important core process of your company. That will come later once the first results have convinced people of the approach.