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Best Practices

How to Ease Process Mining Woes with Proof of Concept (POC)

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Process Mining demonstrates its greatest value from a long haul perspective. The technology is scalable and lends itself to building economies of scale. However, Process Mining can prove intimidating from a financial and change management point of view. For this reason, starting with Proof of Concept (POC) or Minimal Viable Product (MVP) are attractive first steps towards a more profound digital transformation. POCs and MVPs allow an organization to go for a sprint in preparation for the marathon.

One can expect to confront skepticism when introducing Process Mining into an organization. This hesitation can be overcome by involving the right people, discussing project goals, and in many cases, building a case for success via POC.

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Defining MVP and POC

Depending with whom you speak and in which context, the definitions for Minimal Viable Product and Proof of Concept will vary. Both hint at taking steps towards a final product or solution without diving head first into a costly venture without clear results. Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is strongly associated with a product itself. In the case of Process Mining MVP doesn’t fully apply, not technically. MVP is a term connected to the Lean Startup approach to business which specifically delivers an early version of a product in order to test features and customer experience.

Proof of Concept often relates to market viability, answering the question, “does my idea resonate with my intended audience?” or “is there market potential for this idea?”. Consider key people in your organization as your audience and prepare to pitch Process Mining as a solution to specific problems. Gather case studies and industry examples of Process Mining which demonstrate the technology as a feasible business proposal.

We propose taking Proof of Concept to another deeper level when it comes to introducing Process Mining into your organization. Apply the technology to real data — your data, your processes. Taking POC to this next level will ensure a business proposal that has full confidence without sacrificing unnecessary financial and emotional investment.

3 steps to building Process Mining POC

The following steps will help you understand what’s needed to build a strong POC for Process Mining. All steps need to be considered, at a minimum, to build a solid case. For example, subject-matter experts need not be defined by name, but discussing stakeholders and potential impact on teams is an important aspect to consider early on.

1. Get oriented:

Identify players in your team who will be impacted. Who are the stakeholders? Are there existing experts or will you develop subject-matter experts? Involving the right people can be the make or break point for Process Mining. Accountability must be rooted at the top level with support from on-the-ground employees. Test the waters early to ensure proper support for Process Mining is there. A single excited team or individual will fall flat and lose enthusiasm without adequate support.

Draft project goals and understand project history to ensure all members involved are speaking from the same script. At this stage, SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time specific) goals need not be defined to a T. Get draft goals on paper no matter how challenging. It’s critical to have these goals as a guiding path.

2. Plan:

Share process knowledge across your organization and determine the scope of your POC. Identify the “pilot process” to be tested. Start with a process that will have a positive, visible impact on a wide sector of the organization when optimized. Using a process with high visibility for your POC project will deliver quick wins and give Process Mining the legs it needs to take off.

Inventory processes and documents and establish access to data and systems. Who are the IT system gatekeepers? Were they included in your initial assessment of stakeholders? Who owns which data and how will you be able to access this information when the time comes? Answer these questions in the planning phase to avoid roadblocks in the future.

3. Put POC into action

This is when to push play on your POC. As mentioned, Process Mining lends itself to economies of scale. Once the groundwork for Process Mining is set, replication across additional processes is simple. The real effort is typically conducted up front (plugging in systems, planning) and after the mining is done (creating a model for “to-be” process). However, that middle element of Process Mining is easily replicable, and the initial steps remain valid for the entire project. The core steps for putting POC into action include:

  • Begin analyzing business processes (press play)
  • Conduct interactive analysis and refinement workshops
  • Uncover improvement points
  • Create the model for the to-be process

Start Process Mining trial with Minit

Minit works with businesses across multiple industries and disciplines with a common goal: improve business performance through process optimization. Our team of Process Mining experts can help get your Proof of Concept off the ground and give you the right tools and knowledge to carry a successful transformation forward. Start a trial of Minit, Process Mining software, today.

Get started with Process Mining

Michal Rosik

28. 09. 2018