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Get the real picture with Process Mining

Analysing a Procure to Pay Process with Process Mining

Business processes are the backbone of any business. From customer or employee onboarding to invoice payments, processes define how things are done within an organisation. However, over time processes can deviate from their ideal flow and inefficiencies creep up. Within a seemly simple process multiple delays, diversions, and variations can develop. These diversions within the process can cause delays, waste an employee’s time and result in a loss of revenue.

To get to grips with what is happening within a process, businesses can deploy process mining.

Process mining allows businesses to x-ray their processes, letting them see what’s really happening inside a process and action changes. It works by analysing event logs or the digital footprints a process leaves across various business systems. It can then use these event logs to build process models, which creates a visualisation of the process for users to see. Using this visualisation businesses can clearly see where delays, variations or diversions are occurring and work to create the optimal workflow for their process.

One example where businesses may apply process mining tools is when looking at the Purchase- to-Pay process. In this case, the business would be using the tool to understand the process and its performance in a single view.

Step 1 - Ingest Raw Process Data

To start to analyse a process, the process mining tool will ingest raw data from event logs. These could include entities such as requisitions, orders, service or product sheets and invoices. This can be uploaded using a local data source such as a CSV or through an API into a business’s ERP system.

The data must then be mapped, to the relevant fields within the process mining tool. To gain the best insights into the process three fields are mandatory; process id, activity description and date/time stamp, however many other fields such as order id or invoice id could also be mapped.

Step 2 - Data Modelling

The process can now be modelled based on the uploaded and mapped data to give the business user a complete view of the process and the business rules that define the process. The user can look at the model of this process and start to get an idea of how the process flows and through which variations or diversions orders are commonly travelling. For example, you could use the model to find out how many orders are being directly approved without going through the order release stage.

Step 3- Analyse the data

You can also use the process mining dashboard, to define various behaviours within a process. Through using the dashboard, you can identify key stats related to the process such as - which are the most frequent activities or how many goods, requisitions or invoices are being processed. These can help you to identify potential bottlenecks by highlighting the most critical activities and where they may intersect. Businesses can use these insights to create an optimised view of their process, defining standard activity or process KPI's and taking corrective action where inefficiencies are found.

There are many other examples of businesses successfully deploying process mining away from managing sales orders. Many businesses have used process mining to successfully define; standard operating procedures, policies, work instructions and best practise. All of which have gone on to help them improve their auditing and compliance by helping them validate or audit whether actual operations are in conformance with their defined operation and identify any anomalies.

By using process mining businesses get real-time insights to improve their business process and achieve their business goals. You can get started with process mining as part of the IBM cloud pack for business automation. Helping you to identify trends, patterns, and details of how your processes unfold.

Ready to start your business process management journey? Get in touch with ABP Consultancy.

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