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4 Trends Shaping Process Mining in 2020


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Where is the Process Mining technology headed next year?

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    Process Mining (PM) is still a relatively new and evolving technology. Yet, the industry has experienced great advances in 2019, with multiple offline and online events, vendors introducing new features, as well as broader adoption within the market.

    Fingers crossed that all of this will continue in 2020. Going beyond and exploring further, however, you might be asking what will influence the PM field in the upcoming months.

    Here’s our 2 cents on that.


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    1. Robotic Process Automation (Yes, still)

    Right, we mentioned this trend already last year. And truly, we've experienced a great boom of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) implementation in the market.

    Yet, the technology is rising in relevance even as 2019 ends and 2020 begins.

    Deloitte's survey from May 2019, based on 523 executives from 26 countries, stated that “organizations are not only continuing to use RPA but are moving beyond it by increasing deployment of intelligent automation. 58% of the surveyed executives report they have started their automation journey.”

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    Covering this trend of RPA adoption spreading, we can talk about two sub-trends: monitoring of hybrid processes and tools integration.

    A: Monitoring of Hybrid Processes

    Even though we call the technology Robotic Process Automation, in reality it's Robot Task Automation.

    The bots are able to automate only partial tasks, as opposed to end-to-end processes.

    Simple example - can you imagine a bank that would allow a bot to take care of its mortgage approval process, end-to-end, with millions of dollars at stake? Right, neither can we.

    Processes usually combine both bots and the human workforce, hence the title hybrid processes. Since automation will continue, at least based on Deloitte's survey, the push for better monitoring of such processes and identifying potential bottleneck shifts will be harder.


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    B: Tools Integration

    Now, as we've been evangelizing throughout 2019 (here or here), a necessary step to a successful implementation of RPA is identifying the right candidates through PM.

    Because, automating ill-working processes doesn't cover the errors, it turns the spotlight on them. “Some experts even mention statistics saying that 40% of the companies that have implemented RPA without previous analysis of their processes, will pity the decision in the upcoming years as the process issues will start emerging,” said Michal Rosik, Minit's Product Visionary and CPO.

    More and more RPA vendors are realizing the simple fact that PM is an integral part of RPA implementation, and acquisitions confirm it.

    Therefore it's highly probable that in 2020, the market will witness more and deeper integrations of PM with RPA solutions.

    2. Data Context

    We already talked about context as the next step in Process Mining.

    Data doesn't make sense if you can't use it or don't know how to use it. Only with context, it transforms into information that can become a valuable insight.

    Using event logs (data) to feed the PM software is one step. The next should be getting context around the data, which you usually get from the people working on the process, such as business analysts, process owners, and alike.

    Why is context important? One example for all: recording of the user interface for RPA purposes.

    When approached to record what employees are doing on their computers, managers tend to say that it won't be feasible as employees click and search not only within the company's tools like ERP or CRM. They tend to jump to their personal applications, be it Gmail or Google search.

    And the truth is that the raw data will spit out all the applications employees visit. However, a simple solution lies on the table - asking the process owner for the relevant applications for that particular process. (Or, asking for context of the data.)

    “Then we can simply ignore all other applications that the employee used and get real and usable recording for the RPA process discovery. And that is just the beginning,” explained Michal Rosik.

    3. Push on Process Compliance and Simulation

    According to McKinsey, one of the key practices of continuous improvement in action is performance transparency.

    This goes hand in hand with process transparency and compliance.

    PM will be viewed not only as a purely process discovery tool, but also as a compliance checking tool. It will help organizations compare the “as-is” state of the process with the model situation, and, more importantly, accordingly act on it – a step often omitted by the managers.

    4 Trends Shaping Process Mining in 2020 Process Compare
    Comparison of two processes in Minit Process Mining

    A great asset in such a situation – when companies have all the relevant insights at hand but are afraid to act on them – is so-called process simulation. Process simulation helps managers see the results of changes applied to a process before going live in production.

    Such information can provide the missing piece of certainty into their everyday operations, and encourage them to act on the findings from the process discovery phase of the PM initiative.

    A caveat: compliance checking is a challenge for many companies. At least based on what the father of PM told Gartner analyst Marc Kerremans for the Market Guide for Process Mining in June 2019: “...middle managers are often afraid of Process Mining results. The increased transparency of processes may reveal mismanagement, inefficiencies, and compliance problems. Not everyone is happy to address these problems.”

    Our advice: don't be afraid, become a process hero.

    4. Search for New Use Cases

    You already know the usual suspects: P2P, OTC.

    These are the most common and widely popular processes where companies employ PM. Fast adoption of the technology helps organizations discover and map these robust processes. As such, they can also bring the fastest visible value of PM and “quick wins” to all the relevant stakeholders.

    However, it’s time to start exploring not-so-obvious usages in fields you would probably not even think about at first.

    At least that's what Michal Rosik thinks: “Because, you know, everything that consists of steps leading from one point to the next, is in fact a process. Even though we might not call it exactly that, at first.”

    He also give two examples:

    • railways (exploring questions like “Why are trains late? Where do unexpected circumstances come into play? Can we predict when and if the trains will be late?”), or
    • gaming combined with healthcare(brain scans of processes going on in the heads of people playing first-person shooter video games). 

    As this is not an exhaustive list of everything that will be going on in the PM field in 2020, we would gladly hear your opinions and commentaries. What do you think will shape the PM industry in the upcoming year?

    If you think you're ready to find out how your business benefits from the use of PM, be it pre-step to RPA or simple process discovery, be sure to contact us and let us guide you.

    Photo by Mitchell Gaiser on Unsplash

    Picture of Michal Tomek

    Written by Michal Tomek Michal Tomek is a Writer & Content Manager here at Minit. Check out his articles!