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Process Discovery is the most efficient way to create step-by-step process flow diagrams to accurately document how processes happen. It is one of the techniques at the core of Process Mining, and it is mostly used by consultants and business professionals to capture the current state of business operations in preparation for business improvement initiatives.
However, Process Discovery can also be very beneficial in helping to increase productivity, implementing or decommissioning systems, streamlining processes, and protecting knowledge capital. So how does it fit into business improvement initiatives?
Identifying Areas for Process Improvement
Learn to achieve better business outcomes by using process insights provided by Process Mining.
1. Launch Business Process Improvement Initiatives
The strategic plans are often the primary driver for change. However, before making any changes, it is necessary to establish the baseline from which to make improvements. Taking the time to understand how a process is currently working allows you to:
- Leverage best practices from existing processes
- Capture lessons learned – learn what not to repeat
- Measure the effectiveness of improvements
- Ensure that you are fixing not shifting or creating problems
- Optimize existing processes rather than creating new processes from scratch
Process Mining software is an essential tool helping you understand the root causes of problems. It also supports the transparency needed to learn about how work is completed and encourages team innovation from an “all-in” stakeholder perspective for improving processes. If you take the time to understand what is and what is not working, you will be less likely to repeat the mistakes of old.
2. Increase Productivity
A staff that operates efficiently increases the type of productivity that leads to profits. However, in many organizations poor processes and a lack of training and communication leads to the chaos that produces poor performance and low employee morale.
Process Mining can help organizations:
- Eliminate inefficient distribution of work between team members.
- Uncover unnecessary handoffs or complex communications between roles or other processes
- See if activities are being performed by an inappropriate resource
- Find if there is authority ambiguity in the process when 2 or more people make the same decisions
- Diagnose roles that are bottlenecks and optimize in order to increase productivity
The recommended best practice is utilizing Discovered Process maps in interactive workshops. Invite all interested parties to the table to discuss the “as-is” state of processes. This is an excellent opportunity to workshop with stakeholders, clarify the roles and responsibilities of each group, and discuss the sequential steps of the process to optimize it.
This information can then be translated into training aids for employees and easily converted into standard operating procedures that describe step-by-step details on how to perform each task.
3. Implement New or Decommission Old Systems
Technology is changing fast, so staying competitive requires keeping pace with innovations to maintain a competitive advantage and achieve strategic goals. This creates a constant need to assess the systems being used within the company. System updates, installations, and the decommissioning of systems can be very costly if their impacts on processes are not considered. Implementing a new system without first identifying all user groups and how they use it may fail to meet the needs of the business.
Using Process Mining software to discover how a process is being executed with the system will help you bridge the “white space,” the process knowledge gap that exists between various systems, departments, and functions and at the edges of processes. This will prevent your company from decommissioning systems prematurely and leaving users without a way to execute tasks or produce data that could cause operations to come to a grinding halt.
Discovering processes can also provide a deep and comprehensive understanding of how businesses use their systems. As complex processes are mapped, you are collecting an inventory of all systems used, as well as learning about who uses them and how they are used. This information provides IT with the pertinent information necessary to meet the technology needs of a business. Process Mining software also detects delays caused by the inefficient integration between different systems used within the process.
4. Quickly Streamline Business Processes
You can also use process discovery to identify “pain points” experienced throughout a business process. Accurately diagnosing which problems are occurring can help you focus on specific areas for improvement.
Apply Lean business methodology to identify and eliminate waste in processes:
- Manual processes
- Redundant work
Process Mining software automatically analyses the data to help you identify these activities. It highlights process variants that differ from the most common process path and makes it easy to spot inefficiencies and process steps that are taking up time and driving up costs. You can spot where time gets lost through bottlenecks, unnecessary detours, or where compliance issues may arise.
It shows you the frequency of individual process steps and their processing times. You can determine optimal processing times, fastest paths, identify steps that do not add value and eliminate them.
5. Protect Knowledge Capital
Knowledge capital is an intangible asset but is just as valuable as the physical assets of a company. The definition of knowledge capital is the skill set shared by employees on how to perform tasks or steps necessary for the support of production. Often the details of how tasks are performed between and within groups are not documented. Losing this vital information due to turnover or other absences could lead to work stoppages, slow production, or lead to chaos damaging the effectiveness of operations.
Process Mining accurately captures how employees perform their tasks and help you identify most productive team members to identify best practices. You can also compare how tasks are performed between different regions, departments and teams and measure productivity.
Discovered maps can be used to document functional areas, roles, responsibilities, systems, and inputs, and outputs of a process to provide clarity on how the critical processes to the operations of a business occur. These process maps also serve as a communication tool educating staff from a 360-degree view of how things work increasing the value of the knowledge capital thus providing a competitive advantage.
Process Mining has many effective uses, but it is most effective when used continuously, to review and to monitor and improve business operations. To learn how to apply Process Mining and establish a “continuous improvement” team that can continually improve processes get in touch with our team. We are ready to help your business improve at every possible level. Happy mining!