Process Mining: Interview with Tobias Rother (Process Analytics Factory)

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By Anne-Teresa Patt

Here at Signavio, we’ve been working on something big – the launch of our brand new product, Process Intelligence. Bringing data analysis  into our BPM product portfolio has been an exciting and rewarding step for us and we’re keen to get the conversation going about the possibilities of Process Mining and of analysing data to target operational improvement.

We’ve been lucky enough to have one of the pioneers of Process Mining, Tobias Rother, CEO and founder of Process Analytics Factory at our side during the development of our new product. So we sat down with him to talk about how organizations can leverage their full BPM potential with Process Intelligence.

Can you please quickly introduce Process Analytics Factory and yourself?

Sure. My name is Tobias Rother, I am CEO & Founder of Process Analytics Factory (PAF), and have been researching and practicing Process Mining since 2008. Process Analytics Factory is a pioneering analytics practice and privately held company. Our team of dedicated Process Radiologists and Data Scientists is available to deliver improved operational process performance at lower cost. Process Analytics Factory combines rapid data transformation services for process mining tools, with the experience from hundreds of projects and smart diagnostics methods. We are committed to sustainability, reliability, and results that matter.

Process Mining/ Process Intelligence is on everyone’s lips, but what does it mean?

Process Mining as a concept is a process management technology that allows the analysis of business processes based on event logs. i.e. real process instances. The basic idea is to extract insights from event logs, recorded by systems such as ERP, SCM or Workflow-Systems. The log information from real events is used to automatically visualize the “as-is” processes, giving transparency on the real behaviour of a business process. It is very interesting to see Signavio going beyond traditional Process Mining engines to offer strong conformance check capabilities. Conformance checks allow an automated, tool-based comparison of “should-be” and “as-is” business processes.

What three words best describe Process Intelligence, and why?

  • For me, Process Intelligence stands for operational process improvement. Just imagine OpEx Initiatives, BPM projects, major transformation efforts or Lean Six Sigma engagements. Most companies do not have the capability to visualize how best-in-class process performance can be achieved. With Process Mining, organizations can visually optimize business processes, leveraging data which is stored in databases, and IT-systems to uncover improvement opportunities.
  • Process Intelligence also stands for Big Data, which is an important part of digital transformation. It is about processes moving cases the digital way.
  • Process Intelligence also stands for Consulting 4.0. There is already lots of buzz about Industry 4.0. and soon it´ll also be about Consulting 4.0. Lots of consultancy organizations believe that digitalization will change the way they run their business. Typical consultancy tasks such as interviews, workshops, and walk-throughs, will be replaced by Process Intelligence. It will help eliminate weeks of time and labor intensive exploration activities, typical of traditional process discovery.

What would a typical use case be?

Process Mining methods can always be adapted for business processes, supported by IT-systems. In the BeNeLux and Central European regions, lots of organizations leverage process mining for standardized processes such as Order-to-Cash or Purchase-to-Pay. Process mining can also be used during (SAP) migration projects, in audits to ensure a 360-degree perspective, or on customer specific processes such as in the production or logistics area. With Signavio process mining can also be leveraged in process management departments to improve the level of process standardization, or for a pragmatic rapid start in process modelling.

What challenges does this solve for businesses, and how does it help their bottom line?

Process Mining boosts results in terms of throughput times, process performance indicators, and process variants. It means that business decisions are based on facts, and no longer on gut feel. It also makes it much easier to identify unusual behavior, anomalies or lack of controls. Process Mining delivers ‘the missing piece in BI, the answer to “why did X happen?”, “how often did X really happen?” and “how can we avoid X happening in the future?”. Process Mining makes decision making data-based rather than a series of guesses – crucial if you really want to improve your processes.

What are the most critical success factors for Process Mining

This is a very good question. I strongly believe the phases before and after the Process Mining process which are most critical to profitable process mining results. In these phases it is all about data identification and data integration, as well as automated data transformation services. It is also about pinpoint accuracy during the analysis phase. There is still a lot to learn from the concept of medical X-Ray, and how can it be best applied to the practice of business process management and optimization.

What makes Process Mining a strong complement for BPM initiatives?

The answer is simple: Process Mining helps to realize a business’ full BPM potential.

Thanks Tobias Rother, for answering our questions. We’re looking forward to hearing about the insights our customers will gain with Process Intelligence at their side. The count-down is on for the product launch on the 2nd of November and you can still register for the launch webinar where Tobias Rother and Signavio CEO Gero Decker will be speaking about Process Intelligence and demonstrating our new product live.