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The first International Conference on Process Mining (ICPM) took place in Aachen, Germany from 24 to 26 June. As a gold sponsor of the event, we offered exciting demos to interested customers and enjoyed challenging exchanges of opinions and information with international researchers and other vendors. In an interview with the ICPM committee, we shared our views on the future of process mining. I am pleased to share it with you here.

 
 

Converging tools: Business process analysis & process mining      

 

ARIS has been active in the process mining market for more than 15 years. Many technological trends have influenced our product and led to new and adapted use cases in various customer projects. One of the most important developments we currently see in the market is a convergence of business process analysis tools (used for designing processes and publishing them throughout an organization) with process mining tools. This is also recognized in Gartner's recently published Market Guide for Process Mining. Professor Wil van der Aalst said in an interview with Marc Kerremans:

…Today’s organizations still use business process modeling tools to document and discuss their processes (e.g., using the BPMN notation). These modeling tools are disconnected from the traditional process mining tools… Seamlessly integrating process mining and process modeling is a necessity.”[1]

As a holistic business process management platform, ARIS already seamlessly incorporates numerous process mining capabilities and serves as a single source of truth and entry point for all employees on all process-relevant topics. This enables our customers to completely cover their Business Process Management (BPM) lifecycle: Starting with the design and blueprinting of their processes, which for example is a critical step for a successful migration from SAP® ECC to SAP S/4HANA, through a process implementation from a technical - but also from a business - point of view to secure the roll-out of new and adapted processes for the entire workforce. Based on continuous data extraction and analysis of these process traces distributed across different application systems, our integrated process mining tool discovers the actual execution of business processes - revealing bottlenecks as well as established but undocumented best practices. These process mining findings allow a rapid implementation of process adaptations and redesigns. Thanks to ARIS, a smooth roll-out of changed work instructions to all employees is secured as well, offering a complete journey through the lifecycle of BPM. This is what our customers are increasingly looking for.

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Evolution of use cases and application domains

 

As the first commercial process mining vendor in 2002, we have seen many evolving use cases in our broad customer base. While the original focus was on process performance management (PPM), i.e. measuring process performance indicators (PPI) and linking them to traditional key performance indicators (KPI), the main application domain has shifted to a more structural discovery and analysis of processes from early 2010. As more and more customers have implemented this, they are adopting two increasingly important use cases: Process conformance checking and process enhancement. This is also reflected in Gartner's recent market guide (Process Discovery will drop from 54% in 2017 to 34% in 2020 as it has become a mature use case; more emphasis is placed on the rising use cases of Process Conformance Checking: from 23% in 2017 to 30% in 2020 and Process Enhancement from 24% in 2027 to 36% in 2020). Since both are closely linked to the design of processes prescribing how your organization should work, ARIS Process Mining is a perfect offering for our long-standing customers, allowing them to seamlessly cover all major use cases within one integrated tool.

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Three main drivers boosting the use of process mining

 

Process mining tools have been predominantly supplied with data from conventional (business) application systems. In the future, we will see three increasingly important application domains that provide tremendous amounts of data – a decisive asset for increased transparency of an organization’s operating model, to achieve operational excellence and to build up a solid basis for making fact-based decision to transform organizations.

  • First, the process mining domain will be pushed by the Internet of Things (IoT); hence, more and more data from physical devices will be used to analyze behavioral aspects of an organization. With ARIS, we are already integrating with IoT platforms, so that we get as much data as possible directly into our system, e.g. for immediate analysis of production line-related processes, and to link them to other business processes.image

  • Secondly, it is not only about analyzing internal processes, but also about linking and integrating the external, customer-oriented perspective with process mining to create even more value for our customers. This use case, which we are already implementing with the first customers, will be pushed by our recently initiated strategic partnership with Adobe (see https://blogs.adobe.com/digitaleurope/customer-experience/adobe-and-software-ag). Soon, we will integrate with Adobe’s Experience platform to incorporate data, such as customer feedback, directly from their platform into our system, and then compare them with internal processes. Then we can adapt internal behavior to best fit customers’ needs – allowing the transformation of internal operations to provide a frictionless customer experience.

  • The third development we will see is based on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This will be another boost for the discipline of process mining. Process mining can reveal the actual potential for automating tasks in your processes. In addition, it is important to keep track of your entire optimization and automation journey: If you only automate single spots in your processes, you cannot ensure that the entire end-to-end process chain is really optimized. With ARIS Process Mining, you have the right tool to validate your automation success and to proactively counteract if automation is not going in the right direction.image

 

Will process mining replace well-established domains?

 

Even though process mining is becoming increasingly important and ensures the success of organizations, it will not replace established domains like business process modeling. It will rather become an essential building block in these areas. Regarding BPM, ARIS Process Mining is the tool our long-standing ARIS customers are building upon: They moved from a lower maturity level, which typically starts with designing processes, to the next level which is measuring processes to ensure a continuous improvement and monitoring of processes based on process mining findings. These findings can then be used for corresponding process adoptions that will be rolled out and published throughout the whole organization within our ARIS Connect portal serving as a single source of truth. This is what we consider as an Enterprise Management System (EMS) powered by ARIS (for more information visit: https://www.softwareag.com/ems)

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For more information on ARIS Process Mining visit www.processintelligence.com