Chapter 03

In a nutshell, Process Mining is a category of enterprise software that automates the discovery, mapping and ongoing optimization of organizational processes.

It does that by analyzing (“mining”) the event logs produced every time a user interacts with a system or a system undertakes an automated task. It then uses AI to identify process inefficiencies and recommend areas for remediation. Task mining capabilities, meanwhile, uncover the individual steps that make up the activities in a process and highlight candidate tasks for automation.

Process Mining and RPA haven’t always been viewed as complementary because they have historically been developed by different vendors and marketed as tools for different purposes. As a result, Process Mining has typically been an enterprise-wide IT investment and RPA an ad-hoc departmental purchase.

But there’s now mounting evidence that when the two solutions are used together, they can unlock huge amounts of untapped value. Process Mining provides the missing visibility, insight and scalability that allows RPA to be used to its full potential across the organization. In fact, a 2021 Gartner survey found that “CFOs see investment in process mining as key to unlocking returns from RPA.” ⁵

Capabilities of a value-rich Process Mining solution

The extent of those returns will vary depending on the capabilities of the chosen Process Mining solution, however. The most value will be gained from a solution that can:

  • Automatically capture all activity related to a process, across the whole organization. Not just the “happy path” of the process as it should be, but the way the process really works in the business. Every manual workaround, every time someone has to take data from one system and manually key it into another—the best Process Mining tools will capture it all.
  • Identify where bottlenecks are occurring and diagnose their root causes. Very often, bottlenecks occur in less obvious places and only come to light when Process Mining is used to visualize entire end-to-end processes. Root cause diagnosis enables informed decisions to be made about how to tackle each source of inefficiency.
  • Provide intelligent recommendations for tackling process inefficiencies. Not every inefficiency can be solved with automation, and not every approach to automation will deliver the same returns. A great Process Mining tool will suggest the most effective ways to resolve inefficiencies to meet specific KPIs.
  • Create a precise digital twin of the organization (DTO). This is a model of the organization from a process perspective, which allows potential changes to be simulated so that their impact can be assessed. The impact may be assessed in multiple dimensions, including the impact on the workload and routine of stakeholders upstream and downstream of the process change.
  • A precise DTO is a fine-grained model that ensures that any simulation accurately predicts the real-world impact. The key technological capability that drives precision is multi-level, multi-object process mining, which accurately maps complex processes like P2P that comprises several entities/objects with various hierarchical relationships. If the Process Mining tool lacks this capability, processes cannot be accurately modeled, and simulations may not have the same impact in reality.
  • Calculate granular ROI. One of the most powerful features of Process Mining is its ability to calculate the ROI of a process change, including the automation of any given task. The best tools can calculate ROI in a variety of dimensions based on organizational KPIs: for example, costs saved, costs avoided, time saved, or impact on the customer experience.
  • Automatically create software bots: Advanced Process Mining tools offer the ability not just to identify candidate tasks for automation, but to generate the appropriate software bots at the click of a button using built-in integration with RPA.

 

Introducing IBM Process Mining and IBM RPA

Currently, the only Process Mining solution to offer all of these capabilities is IBM Process Mining, which integrates with IBM RPA to form a key pillar of the IBM Intelligent Automation platform. Learn more about IBM Intelligent Automation.

Chapter 04

Process Mining and RPA: The automation power couple