Process Mining – What is it and How Does it Work?

Digital transformation is the move away from slow, manual, labor-intensive processes towards automated processes that are faster, more accurate. This saves you time and money across your organization.  

But that’s not the full story. To truly deliver the benefits of a transformation journey, you need continuous improvement: that means understanding what’s happening within all your processes on a day-to-day basis to make sure they’re operating as efficiently as they can.  

That’s where process mining comes in.  


What is process mining?  

In terms of technique, process mining is similar to data mining. By using software, you can analyze and monitor business processes, capturing data from enterprise transactions and gleaning insights into how all your business processes are performing.  

It’s basically like an x-ray of your business processes, allowing you to see where issues exist and prioritizing where to implement improvements based on how critical they are to your business and how valuable it will be to fix them.  


What are the benefits of process mining? 

Process mining can bring big benefits to organizations. These include: 

- Greater transparency – gain access to relevant data to better understand how business processes are executed 

- Increased efficiency – identify and address inefficiencies or bottlenecks slowing processes to boost productivity and reduce costs 

- Enhanced customer experience – continually optimize processes and eliminate issues to deliver better customer service 

- Improved compliance – gain a better overview of potential compliance issues and reduce the time and costs associated with auditing 


How does process mining work? 

There are three main categories of process mining: 1) process discovery, 2) conformance checking, and 3) process enhancement.  

1) Process discovery 

Process discovery is the first step when you’re planning how to implement business process automation. To fully understand your organization’s current business processes, you need to find out everything you can about them and document the details.  

Automated process discovery uses AI and machine learning to identify processes throughout your organization. By taking event logs from all the transactions that occur within your business, the software produces process models you can use to pinpoint performance issues.    

2) Conformance checking 

Conformance checking is where you compare how your processes could perform (called ‘as expected’) versus how they are performing in the real-world (‘as-is’). 

This involves visualizing the event logs to map your actual processes so they can be compared to a reference model showing where they are in alignment and – more importantly – where they’re not, so you can identify bottlenecks, places where errors creep in, or steps where you can make efficiency savings.  

3) Process enhancement 

This is where you put your process mining insights to work, improving the business processes in the areas where you’ve identified issues. Because process mining is an always-on activity, this can be a continuous and measurable process.  

When you have a real-time view of all your processes based on all the data within your organization, you can create transparent models to optimize to whichever business goal is going to move the needle for you, whether that’s improved customer experience, speedier compliance, or simply reducing inefficiency and wastage.  


How does process mining work in practice? 

Here’s a concrete example of how process mining works to improve efficiency.  

Let’s say you’re a bank processing multiple loan requests. Each possible step in the process of approving an individual loan is an ‘event’, and an ‘event log’ is all the activities performed to either approve or deny a loan.  

Using process mining, you can discover all the possible different steps in all of the loan approval event logs you have in your data. Once you’ve done that, you can use AI and machine learning to build a business process model and notation (BPMN) model which considers all the possible flows and gives you insight into any issues, such as delays in response, customer data input errors, or inefficiencies in customer experience.  

Once you can see those areas, you can prioritize efforts to remedy them, all the while continuing with your process mining to monitor and measure the improvements and drive further efficiency.  


Want to get started with process mining?  

Bizagi Modeler is our process modelling tool that means you can start process mining today.  Intuitive, and collaborative, the software means you can create and document business processes in a central cloud repository to start getting a handle on where your processes can be improved. With Bizagi Automation, you can easily transform your process models into low-code applications – all in a cloud-native environment.