There is a great deal of attention paid to Process Mining today, both from an investor perspective and, more importantly, from the point of view of “delivered business value”. Process Mining can be a key tool in the journey to process transformation and continuous improvement.
Everyone wants a part of this success story BUT, as we know, the reality is nuanced and there are serious challenges to address to reap the benefits of Process Mining.
On 22 June we hosted a webcast with Susie West at sharedserviceslink, exploring the 5 Bear Traps to avoid when it comes to Process Mining. Hans Van Nes of Consider Solutions gave some valuable insights from his experience on how to ensure you are getting the outcomes that you need and want.
Process Mining can provide great support to Process Excellence, Transformation & Business Change initiatives by exposing an understanding of the business reality – the real “journeys” beneath the end-to-end process. But there can be painful surprises on the way.
We discussed the research that shows the top 10 “end state” business value outcomes achieved or desired vs the top 5 “direct” outcomes of process mining. It is critical to ensure that our business cases reflect the total effort/cost to get to the end state, not just the process mining outcome.
Whilst around a third of the webcast attendees were business process subject matter experts (SMEs), and a third process mining technical SMEs, almost 40% have Process Mining initiatives underway, the challenges being faced remain the same;
- Capability – Requirement for scarce business and IT SMEs
- Capacity – Operationalising process improvements suggested by process mining
- Buy in – Stakeholder Engagement & Alignment (think business cases for the above)
- Data – Historic trends, data quality, camouflaged complexity
- Cost – Software, Storage, Consultancy, Training
- Hidden IT Effort – extra tables/fields, data history, custom content
We explored the 5 BIG Bear Traps associated with Process Mining and explored the strategies to avoid them.
1 – Expectations & Received Wisdom – REALITY CHECK
Process Mining on the surface sounds simple (doesn’t it always?) and the examples that businesses share look really promising BUT we know, in reality, it’s far more complex. You need business AND tehnical subject matter expertise as input and you need to look at how you’re going to interpret outcomes and THEN turn them into process improvements, often a project in itself. As Hans said, Process Mining is not a ‘wonder pill’ and recommendations inferred by the findings in data will not always be accepted as a priority by the business.
Strategy = To succeed with Process Mining you have to understand the Why, What & Who before you address the How. It’s the same with any new project, take a step back, look at the wider picture and make sure you have all the information you need.
2 – Business Process Understanding – LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Drill down into your Why, Who & What. The business value of process mining is in the process improvements that flow from it. This means you need to understand the overall process, and the data from process mining will not give you all that. You need subject matter expertise. Missing out this key part of the recipe can cause missed opportunities. Make sure you understand the process scope and objectives.
Strategy = Take a Holistic View and ask yourself ‘What does Good look like?’
Be sure to consider and include all of the necessary angles.
3 – Performance versus Defects – PERFORMANCE IS MORE THAN KPIs
Go beyond KPIs, they are not quite as useful as the appear and can cause unnecessary conflict. Defects are much more important elements in measuring performance and identifying productive process improvement opportunities.
Strategy = Find an outcome mix. If you find a balance between defects and KPIs it will fuel your Continuous Improvement efforts and make the project a success.
4 – Hidden Meaning in Data = DATA IS GOLD – MINING IS HARD WORK
When you analyze data the outcomes or what the data is trying to tell you isn’t always obvious.Data is a different language in itself and needs to be translated – it needs its own Rosetta Stone. Empower the business and data subject matter experts that can offer deep and meaningful insight. They will help you succeed.
Strategy = Make data thinking a critical skill as part of your team! Take a deep data approach as well as a lifecycle one. Be preventative and expect gaps – that’s when you know you’re succeeding.
5 – Time to Value & Opportunity Cost = TECHNOLOGY IS THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES
You have to consider the time it takes from ‘value identified’ to ‘value realized.’ Ordinarily most projects take around 1 year before a plan for change is agreed and started. Remember the longer the time to deliver, the lower the net present value (NPV) on delivery will be. You’ll lose momentum and in some cases a new business case for action will be needed.
Strategy = Consider a Holistic Plan, or a Playbook as we call it. Build a Coalition of stakeholders that can help champion your cause and keep momentum going.
Like all new technologies and trends, Process Mining is certainly showing its value and endurance. We are seeing many clients utilizing its capabilities and reaping the rewards. At Consider Solutions we are here to ensure that you’re getting the most from your projects and process change initiatives, that they are being driven successfully and that you are delivering the outcomes you expect and plan on. If you want to get in touch regarding a Process Mining project or opportunity contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see the full webcast recording here . ..