Task mining allows businesses to understand the way they handle tasks by monitoring user interactions. Although it is not a popular term yet and attracts only a moderate amount of interest according to Google Trends, we expect it to gain popularity, given that it provides a more in-depth look at processes than other technologies. This detailed understanding can help companies improve and automate processes. Task mining shares similarities with process mining, but it leverages user interaction data instead of business metrics and log files to analyze processes. Today, many task mining vendors also offer process mining solutions in the market.
Since task mining records user interactions on the computer in real-time, it can also violate user privacy. Thus, these tools also need to focus on data privacy and protect users’ personal data. As this technology will become more popular, this issue will be one of the main challenges ahead for task mining vendors.
What is task mining?
Task mining is an emerging technology that enables companies to understand how they perform their tasks by monitoring user actions and collecting user interaction data. From the insights gained, businesses can observe how they handle processes, identify the most common mistakes while performing tasks, and discover tasks that can be automated. As a result, it is a way to improve business processes and enhancing automation.
Today, most task mining solutions are integrated with process mining technologies to understand processes better and find ways to enhance the whole process rather than just improve how employees perform specific tasks.
How does task mining work?
Here is how task mining works step by step:
Record user activities
Task mining tools record user activities to understand how employees handle their tasks. These tools are installed on every employee’s computer. At this stage, task mining tools collect data like clicks, scrolls, and other actions, including time stamps and screenshots.
This activity can lead to a breach of users’ privacy, that is why task mining vendors put significant effort into cleaning Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from the data that they collect. Vendors are already building solutions to automatically clean PII from their task related data.
Recognize context with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
While recording, task mining tools leverage OCR technology to understand the context of the task. For that, it collects words, numbers, and other additional text from the recording and the screenshots captured during user activity.
Group similar activities with Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP helps task mining tools understand the context of tasks better and group similar activities. This enables tools to understand particular actions to perform a specific task. For example, activities required for managing purchasing tasks can be identified at this stage.
Match user activity groups with business tasks
After grouping, user activities are matched with specific business tasks. For example, the record of filling in the order form is matched with the task of order form filling. This matching is required to assess performance metrics with the recording.
Evaluate performance by using performance metrics
In the end, records are evaluated with business data like KPI measures. This way, companies can see how they perform their tasks and measure how well they perform those tasks. With this assessment, businesses can improve their performance metrics by taking the following actions:
- Identify why some tasks are performed inefficiently
- Identify the most common errors and train employees to avoid them
- Discover automation opportunities
How is the interest in task mining?
When we look at the last five years, we still observe moderate interest in task mining, and its popularity hasn’t increased substantially yet. The reasons might be:
- the increasing popularity of process mining, because most task mining vendors also offer process mining solutions.
- Task mining with the use of computer vision and NLP, it is emerging technology that we will probably hear more about in the future, and it hasn’t had enough time to become a well-known solution yet.
However, as seen above, Google Trends predicts that the interest in task mining will significantly increase soon.
How does task mining differ from process mining?
Task mining technology works similarly to process mining, and they both aim for improved process efficiency. However, there are slight differences between these two technologies while understanding the processes.
Process mining focuses on performance metrics and the order of process steps to understand how a process is handled. Using log files, it enables businesses to see the actual steps to perform a process and identify the bottlenecks through business data like KPIs for process improvement or discovering automation opportunities.
On the other hand, task mining focuses on the way businesses handle a specific process step by recordings and screenshots. It helps companies understand what employees actually do while doing a particular task and identify the most common actions through user interactions. This data is then used for process improvement.
Task mining shows how businesses manage their tasks more precisely, and process mining enables them to leverage business data to understand how well they perform their processes. We see these as closely related technologies that should be used together to expand their impact and gain a better understanding of how processes are actually performed.
What are the main benefits of task mining?
Since task mining is a different form of process mining, the main benefits are similar to it. However, task mining provides a more in-depth view into processes. It enables businesses to observe how they perform their tasks and aims to improve the way employees do their tasks and automate those tasks when feasible.
Understanding processes and discovering how you handle business tasks
Task mining provides a full picture of how companies handle their tasks via user interaction data, screenshots, and recordings. Businesses might discover unrecognized actions that employees do while performing their tasks, and they might want to take them into account during process planning.
Improved process efficiency
- Improve user experience for employees: Employees might have a hard time while performing their tasks due to poor user interface. Task mining can detect this to avoid such situations.
- Identify and eliminate unnecessary actions: Some actions might be unnecessary while doing tasks, or employees might take unnecessary steps that don’t affect the process. Task mining can identify those actions and save the time of employees.
- Discover automation opportunities: Businesses can observe that some tasks are too straightforward and don’t require high-level skills. Automating those tasks would accelerate processes and reduce human-made errors.
- Reduced process deviations: Task mining can identify the reasons behind the deviations in processes. Businesses can change the way they handle those processes to reduce these deviations.
As task mining monitors user actions, it also identifies non-compliant issues. Processes can be modified to reduce non-compliance.
What are the leading task mining vendors?
Today, task mining solutions are mostly provided by process mining vendors. Thus, if you want to look for a more extensive list, you can also check our list of process mining vendors on our website.
You can also read more about process mining technologies from our related articles:
- Ultimate Guide to Process Mining
- What is Process Mining: In-depth Guide
- 11 Benefits of Process Mining according to practitioners
- 33 Use Cases / Applications of Process Mining
- 38 Process Mining Case Studies & Project Results
- Analysis of Process Mining Market & Leading Vendors
- Process Discovery: First Step to Understand Processes
- Process Improvement: In-depth guide for businesses
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