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Best practices to deploy Process Mining

Process Mining is a powerful tool that analyses the processes running across enterprise systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) etc. and based on the information captured in the event logs, comes up with process maps. By Somit Kapoor, Vice President and Global Head – Enterprise Operations Transformation (EOT), Wipro Ltd.

Subsequently, the mapped processes, with numerous variants, are studied with reference to a standard, with the aim of process optimization and possible automation. While this has been successful across industries, many organizations are still reluctant to adopt the solution due to various factors like lack of awareness, apprehensions related to data security, choosing the right way to go forward with adoption etc.

But once an enterprise decides to implement Process Mining, there are certain factors that it should consider before going forward with implementation in order to reap maximum benefits:

1. Business Process Management (BPM) maturity

Based on BPM maturity, organizations can be broadly classified as function oriented and process oriented. In function oriented organizations, business functions such as sales, marketing, finance etc. work as isolated silos and there is minimal coordination among them as the processes are not clearly defined. Process Mining has a huge potential to help define the end-to-end processes and give in-depth understanding of the process flow. Also, cross functional coordination and operations get promoted(as, operations get governed by long end to end processes, it encompasses involvement of different functional units at various touchpoints, promoting collaborations in order to achieve the final goal), leading to improved productivity. But, such enterprises may have a greater threshold to execute as work has to start from scratch, with defining process ownership responsibilities and backing from management (since, hitherto these organisations have worked as siloed functions, a clean slate approach has to be taken to design process oriented operations, and in doing so proper planning & backing from the management is a prerequisite. Process ownership responsibilities are to be defined so as to have accountability at various checkpoints. All these initiatives call for great amount of efforts).

In case of process oriented organizations which have a mature BPM, process owners are already defined so implementation of Process Mining is straightforward and changes are easier to identify and implement.

2. Identification of process exceptions

As per Pareto principle, 80% of the outputs are achieved by 20% of efforts, while remaining 20% outputs call for 80% of efforts. The same is true for enterprise processes, as the 20% exceptions require a major chunk of efforts to execute and manage. Thus, it becomes imperative to identify and eliminate these exceptions which come in the form of rework, long lead times etc. So, the Process Mining should be able to easily identify such exceptions and help enterprises eliminate them to increase process efficiency and employee productivity.

3. Application across gamut of processes

Usually, when enterprises go for Process Mining, they focus only on a few processes which they think are subpar and need intervention, and stop once those are corrected. But a better approach would be to apply the tool to other processes as well to uncover the true potential and further improve operational efficiency in all sets of processes.

4. Integration across enterprise operations

Enterprises should make Process Mining a part of their regular operations. This becomes quite useful to quick check for any bottlenecks. Once bottlenecks are identified, the process optimization activity gets expedited. The tool can also be utilized for development projects which are aimed at delivering certain specific objectives.

5. Ability to deliver process excellence

The success of a process is determined by the impact it creates across the various touchpoints during the flow. Therefore, Process Mining should be deployed keeping factors like customer satisfaction, internal efficiency and process automation in mind. Process excellence is achieved only if these three factors are taken care of by the discovery and mining activity. This calls for having a clear vision in terms of what is expected from the Process Mining activity.

Enterprises need to have in depth interactions with Subject Matter Experts(SMEs) in order to understand where they stand with respect to the above factors and how different Process Mining offerings in the market can help them achieve their objectives and then decide on the right vendor for themselves.

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