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Best Practices

Introducing Process Mining into your Organization — Overcoming Skepticism

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Process Mining is more than a piece of stand-alone technology. Process Mining must be embodied by an organization’s mindset and deeply connected to a desire for digital transformation. While Process Mining software can display the benefits of a plug ‘n’ play solution, there are necessary pre-steps to consider before flipping on the switch. The introduction of Process Mining into an organization will begin with skepticism.

Not the best foot forward, but with the right approach and anticipation of resistance Process Mining has big potential. Here are four critical steps to consider, beyond the technology itself, when introducing Process Mining into an organization.

Involve the right people (buy-in)

Heads of Innovation and Process Excellence Leads are no strangers to skeptics. They juggle the intangibles of a digital transformation and are responsible for introducing bold data-driven initiatives into an organization. Their buy-in for Process Mining is apparent, and they are more often the ones who must drive buy-in from others. The successful introduction of Process Mining involves more than just finding the right technology; it involves proper communication with direct and indirect stakeholders.

Seek buy-in from other C-suite counterparts.

Even if their direct involvement isn’t necessary, their departmental processes may be (and should be) impacted by Process Mining implementation and findings. A brief overview of project goals and structure can combat pushback at later stages. Executive support and high-level champions will be key to your communication strategy and getting the right keys to the right gates at the right time.

Get started with Process Mining

Don’t ignore the small guys. Seek input from lower level team members as well. Their sign off isn’t necessary, but their cooperation and openness to change will determine the ultimate success of business process improvement (BPI) within their specific domains. While the “old” (ie: manual) way of process discovery, process mapping, and BPI depended upon their involvement, the “new” way (technology driven) doesn’t need them … necessarily.

Face-to-face interviews, endless sorting of documents and word-of-mouth process steps are replaced by time-stamped verifiable event logs within IT systems. However, the people who work with and are affected by processes serve as valuable players en route to Process Mining success. Involve them early, get emotional buy-in, and the payoff will come when change management comes into play.

Account for egos (the case for objectivity)

Consciously or not, the righteous Self, rears its head when the time comes for BPI. Managers who have been in charge of Business Processes for some time tend to assume their processes work as designed.

Tunnel vision sets in and they believe what exists on paper must surely exist in reality. They lean towards skepticism when faced with transparency deep dives. This doesn’t imply inherent wrongdoing, but rather a feeling that the rug is being swept out from under them and their competency is being questioned.

Position the introduction of Process Mining as a need for an objective, analytical approach for improving upon an existing process model. Relay the big picture goals of process mining (see the forest over the trees) while creating space for personal egos to adapt. It’s a part of our self-preservation as humans that make us question situations when we must relinquish control. Anticipating the need for adequate levels of hand-holding and acceptance will prove beneficial in the long run.

Technology as a counterpart (not the replacement)

“People are very open-minded about new things, as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” Charles F. Kettering’s tongue-in-cheek comment about change represents an all too common approach to business transformations, particularly those involving new technology. BPI has been around, in one form or another, since the advent of business. However, Process Mining technology is relatively new to the game. Process Mining takes a bold approach to BPI and embodies intimidating vocabulary like Big Data and Machine Learning. Introduce Process Mining into your organization as a business counterpart, not a replacement.

Process Mining technology is a beneficial tool aimed at uncovering lost opportunities, missed revenue and unchecked costs. It intends to aid and abet managers, not replace them. When positioned as an inside system intel, rather than the robot from the future coming to replace the humans, Process Mining software will be accepted as any other critical piece of business technology.

Setting ambitious, but attainable goals (PM is not god)

Don’t let your Process Mining project die before it flies. An early project death can be avoided by setting the right goals and expectations upfront. Process Mining might feel like magic, but its successful adaptation requires hard work, team commitment and a deep understanding of a company’s vision.

Process Mining is often not a top-down initiative. It begins with a group of enthusiastic employees who want to implement change, and are already at ease with the digital transformation. Demonstrating an over-fascination with the technology can hinder early adapters from building a case from a value-add perspective.

Be realistic about the availability of data, quality of IT systems, and remain aware of scope creep. Define tough, but realistic, goals. Promising the world may undermine the reality of a longer than expected proof of ROI. Unattainable expectations may deem Process Mining project failed before it’s been given the appropriate time to prove business value. Not only will this create deeper skepticism from already hesitant stakeholders, but may diminish the enthusiasm of those early tech Evolvers and strike Process Mining off the list for future initiatives.

Ready, set, process mine

Set your process mining initiative up for long-term success by including these critical steps in the introduction of such a transformative project; 1) get cross-department and multi-hierarchy buy-in 2) account for personal egos and human emotions 3) position technology as a friend, not a foe 4) set strong yet realistic goals. It’s only the beginning of your journey and Minit is here to help. Talk to one of our skilled experts to understand how we can support your organization in achieving business success through Process Mining.

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Michal Rosik

18. 07. 2018