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Best Practices, Process mining

Process Mining Wrap-Up: A Reflection with Minit's Chief Product Officer

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2019 may have been the year where Greta Thunberg takes a stance on climate change, the first photograph of a black hole is taken, and of course, Elon’s newest lunar rover is introduced. But we at Minit like to believe that this year has been the year Process Mining really took off.

And to reflect on the year, we’ve interviewed Minit’s very own Chief Product Officer and Product Visionary, Michal Rosik, on favorite highlights, trends, and foreshadowing for 2020.

(Want to discover the real numbers behind Process Mining?
Read our collection of ROI success stories from our clients.)

Michal, as a Product Visionary here at Minit, you’ve been busy teaching, researching, and consulting on Process Mining for over eight years now. What strikes you as noteworthy in Process Mining within the last year, and how has it been evolving?

We hear a lot of hype on paradigm shifts, predictive technology, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), etc. that’s primed and ready to instantly save your business. It works — to get people interested in Process Mining — though we typically find that they’re not prepared to absorb it.

In 2019, we finally saw a shift in thinking; a down-to-earth understanding of each hype’s drawback. From the inflated excitement, companies realized their shortcomings and accepted that their efforts were futile unless a proper analysis was made. This realization is set to continue in 2020.

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Can you provide an example? 

Take RPA, for instance. An unchecked investment ensures you’re automating crappy processes for quick wins. Predictions? They may pique your interest. Forecasting the fulfillment of X amount of orders is really cool, but without a proper analysis involved, it’s still based on misguided numbers from faulty process flows. 

Even in standard processes from PTP and O2C, vendors depict a perfect happy path, however the overall picture is much worse, which includes batches of deviations that cannot be properly evaluated. Transparency is often needed in these undertakings.

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MarketWatch has been reporting and foreseeing considerable growth for Process Mining in the near future ($1.42 billion by 2023). What sort of changes can we expect in 2020? 

The trend in combining Process Mining initiatives with other technologies is increasing not only for end-users, but for vendors as well. Companies providing RPA, DTO, ERP, and migration tools–since migrating crappy processes is just as costly–will all want to adopt the trend by either strengthening ties, acquiring or creating a Process Mining tool of their own. All-in-all, Process Mining as a stand-alone product doesn’t make sense. 

To add fuel to the fire, other industries, not typically associated with the use of Process Mining, are researching the subject. Healthcare, claims management, and restaurants where a series of steps can be collected, analyzed, and improved can use Process Mining to their advantage. Graphing a stressful week is fine, but understanding why it’s so stressful provides considerable value.

This ties in perfectly with our Solution Specialist, Roel Schenk’s Qlik presentation in Amsterdam where a company’s “Who, What, Where, When” questions are often answered with dashboards. It’s the “Why and How” that are discovered with Process Mining.

Exactly the point! The classic dashboard questions are asked by companies and provide valuable short-term results that are often needed immediately. Process Mining questions are in depth and uncover the root of the problem. 

Think number of warehouses vs. “why is my sales cycle taking so long?” 

Shipments for winter jackets from the German warehouse take two days while the ones from France take five. Process Mining tackles the why, involving an analysis of activities instead of just aggregated numbers. Since in the end, it’s the numbers that tell a story.

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There’s been a significant growth of interest in Process Mining among executives. Many of them will be starting their journey in 2020. What advice would you give them?

To find reason behind the numbers, you need dedication and courage.

Dedication in complete ownership, to ensure the flame won’t die out. Quite often we find a devoted employee has been replaced, and the entire project is back to square one. If the initiative is a company-wide core value, it’s much harder to set back.

Courage, on the other hand, ensures essential changes are made once root causes are identified. Since Process Mining often dictates where mistakes can be found and what needs to be done to solve them, courage is needed to see improvement. Often we see companies receive Process Mining results, choosing to shelve them instead of implementing change.

Until you make changes, you won’t see a return on your investment.

How do we know which changes are important and which resources to utilize?

It’s important to choose the right Process Mining vendor. Yes, the initiative is internal, however your vendor should match the level of dedication that’s being invested by the company.

In terms of comparing product, it should have all the bells and whistles, but it’s not crucial, since many Process Mining products often yield similar results. How a Process Mining vendor approaches the problem is vastly more important. So decide based on the dedicated relationship that’s built to improve your company processes.

On a lighter note, what processes will you be improving over winter break?

As an expert in Process Mining, my processes are seamless at home. [laughs] But seriously, besides resting from continuously optimizing everything, I might work on the process of eating all the delicious food without gaining weight. It might just be a process I’ll be unable to solve, so I’ll have to consult the consequences.

Process Mining: 4 Success Stories

Robert Heger

18. 12. 2019