83% of businesses said they plan to increase their adoption of process optimization technologies. Process mining is a useful tool for helping companies gain process intelligence for process optimization.
- Generating general business benefits
- Enabling reduced costs
- Improving customer experience
- Ensuring compliance.
For instance, Figure 1 below is a two-layer chart showing the broader and specific process mining benefits with the number of case studies distributed according to the particular benefits. We skipped general business benefits in this chart since any case study paves the way to such general benefits.
Despite the high incentive to adopt process mining, business leaders might struggle to determine the concrete benefits of process mining and need help deciding where to start. Therefore, this research will explain how process mining can contribute to process management and improvement in-detail.
General Business Benefits
1. Enable data-driven decision making
Prerequisites for data driven decision making are data availability, data relevancy, high quality of data and strong data visualization/analytics capabilities. Process mining tools increase data availability to enable data driven decision making.
Without process mining tools, it is challenging for businesses to have visibility into process data. Process mining tools use raw data or event logs to extract the actual process sequence and close this data gap. For instance, in a process mining case study from Zacatecas State in Mexico enabled data-driven decision-making by identifying process deviations and evaluating KPIs efficiently with the help of process mining.
According to a research1, 60.6% of respondents state that factual process data which can be used for further diagnosis is the most prominent benefit of process mining. To learn more read our article on data-driven decision making in the age of AI.
Once data is available, strong data visualization tools are needed to allow employees to easily visualize and analyze the data, enabling rapid data driven decision making and improvement. Most process mining tools include specialized modules for process data visualization.
2. Standardize processes and streamline business outcomes
Process mining tools brings the whole organization to the same level of understanding about processes and pave the way to process standardization by detecting non-standard procedures. Actual processes tend to be more complex than any process that is predefined by the company. System logs which record actual processes are sources to depict the differences between actual and idealized processes so that companies can understand quality or urgency issues in the processes and improve the processes. However, system logs are time consuming and error prone to analyze manually.
For example, the company may need to repeat a few steps if its output had quality issues. For another case, the company may decide to skip several steps to provide its services/goods faster. The extracted process data can reveal these differences and allow process owners to understand the differences in process execution.
For example, in a case study at Alliander, a network company, some processes were taking longer than expected. When the company mined the relevant data, it was discovered that employees unlearn their tasks if they don’t practice them continuously. Therefore, performance in less frequent processes suffered. To solve this discrepancy, the company decided to retrain their staff. As a result, the company expects to speed up its processes.
Another process mining case study is AkzoNobel, a chemical company, identified that 18% of its transactions in its Purchase-to-Pay process include manual changes. The company now uses process mining to stabilize its processes and improve efficiency.
3. Improve performance management
Process mining tools automates process performance data collection and help measuring employee performances accurately. Thus, it enables KPIs like SLA, Time to Resolution, First Time Right to be continuously monitored which allows process owners to continuously improve processes.
For example, companies can evaluate their call center agents by the amount of calls they held, they would push them to terminate the calls quicker. However, it does not necessarily mean a positive experience for the customer who might end up with no solution and call back the center to explain her situation again.
On the other hand, process mining can leverage historical process data to gain insights on the parameters affecting KPI measures and detect ideal processes and improve the deviants. In a process mining case study from Afrisam, a South African construction & materials firm used process mining to visualize their risk management and achieve real-time performance monitoring.
4. Enable process automation
Using event logs, process mining tools derive how distinct cases are handled and how operational decisions are made. This helps companies automate processes by building RPA bots as they know exactly how current processes are run.
For example, a manufacturing firm leveraged IBM Process Mining solutions to bring more visibility to its procure to pay process. The company drove insights on automation, deviations, maverick buying, discount losses, working capital, and measurements of return of investment (ROI) in each area. The firm made changes based on the actionable insights, leading to optimization and cost reduction. Some of the outcomes include:
- automating from purchase order to invoicing
- making a 47% reduction in average invoice registration time
- better capabilities to detect deviations which makes maverick buying less likely
- 6% reduction in the average purchase order approval time
- saving 9 % FTE in IT country
- controlling mismatches and early payments increasing by cash flow 1 million dollar
5. Eliminate unnecessary steps
Processes constantly change and legacy process steps can lead to inefficiencies. By removing unnecessary steps, companies can avoid unnecessary costs.
For example, another case study from Alliander, a Dutch utilities company, eliminated unnecessary steps, standardized processes and discovered the necessity for re-training their employees by applying process mining to purchasing processes.
Improved Customer Experience
6. Reduce lead times
The company can find ways to optimize its processes by using process mining tools. For instance, a case study from a Dutch industrial engineering company, Veco, applies process mining to its Quality Management Department. By reconstructing their processes, they have shortened their lead time by up to 11 weeks, improving customer satisfaction in customer facing processes.
For another process mining case study, WoonFriesland, a housing association, ran a process optimization program. They were able to reduce average vacancy per property by 7 days for 583 properties.
7. Reduce reaction time
Constant process monitoring via process mining tools enables companies to react faster. Thus, if a problem occurs, the software can identify its cause faster and the company can react accordingly. Shorter reaction time will improve the company’s performance and also increase customer satisfaction. For example, Piraeus Bank, a Greek bank, states that they can identify any problematic steps in 5 minutes so that they can take necessary actions.
8. Identify and resolve process bottlenecks
There tend to be invisible bottlenecks in the process which slows the company down. As the company analyzes time spent at each step of its process, it can identify bottlenecks and either simplify those steps, allocate more resources to them or automate them.
A process mining vendor claims that BridgeLoan has used process mining to identify and resolve the bottlenecks in their loan application processes. This is claimed to result in 40% faster processes and that the company can now process 30,000 applications per month.
9. Resolve inter-process conflicts
Process mining tools extract all process data and highlight inter-process conflicts. Companies can harmonize these processes to be more efficient and provide better customer service.
For example, process conflicts need to be resolved: Imagine that you and your friend will make Caffe Latte and Cappuccino respectively. You take different steps but, you both need milk. When you look for the milk, you observe your friend is using it, so you need to wait. When processes are harmonized, such conflicts are minimized, and processes will be completed faster.
Similarly, different processes need different amounts of resources at different times. Process mining software help companies optimize resource allocation.
10. Analyze audit data faster
Auditing is time and effort-intensive. Process mining software enables auditors to analyze data faster. EY is one of the auditing firms which uses process mining software as a digital solution. For example, using a process mining solution, EY has been able to complete its end-customer process analysis in less than a week.
11. Identify non-compliant processes in real-time
Before process mining software, companies would need to spend significant resources to build dashboards to track process compliance. With process mining software, such dashboards and alarms can be created with ease, identifying real-time compliance issues.
For example, process mining visualizes the workflow of a travel request on a travel agency page by identifying the traces people follow. They register their request and then check the budget or ask for further help then they try to make a decision whether to accept or reject. While discovering these traces, process mining reveals insights on non-compliant processes that might include loops and reinitiating the entire process.
A case study from Isala Hospital in the Netherlands illustrates the benefit of identifying non-compliant processes. The hospital analyzed the compliance of the entire patients’ records management operations via process mining and managed to skip 30 unnecessary medical steps on average, reducing emergency management duration.
To learn more about process mining, feel free to read:
- Our process mining guide
- Comprehensive list of process mining use cases/applications
- A list of process mining case studies including project results
Check out our comprehensive and constantly updated process mining case studies list to understand process mining benefits better with real-life examples.
If you still have questions about process mining software, we would like to help:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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