Tobias Blickle's picture

In these economic times, most enterprises focus on their core competencies and understand that there is a close relationship between financial success, the efficiency of business operations and the satisfaction of their customers. True to the motto “What can’t be measured, can’t be optimized”, the ability to monitor and analyze organizational performance becomes more and more important. Companies begin to realize that collecting indicators without the link to processes is not enough to identify bottlenecks and to derive measures of optimization.

Traditional Business Intelligence (BI) software is used for pure data-oriented analysis. By contrast, Process Intelligence focus on the direct link between metrics / indicators on one hand, and the end-to-end processes (e.g. Order-to-Cash, Procurement-to-Pay, Idea-to-Product) causing these indicators on the other hand. Process Intelligence analytical capabilities are closely associated with the monitoring and controlling of business processes. Patented ARIS Process Performance Manager (ARIS PPM) enables enterprises to monitor and analyze the performance and structure of their business processes, i.e. the behavior of the organization. ARIS PPM drives the continuous optimization of your internal and external workflows, thus making a key contribution to your business success: If you want to optimize, you have to change organizational behavior and if you want to change organizational behavior, you must change the way you measure the organization!

ARIS PPM provides you with a key technology to assess your business processes in terms of speed, cost, quality, and quantity – and to identify optimization opportunities. You benefit from a comprehensive overview of business process performance on a quantitative perspective (based on the measurement of objective process indicators) as well as a qualitative perspective (based on a graphical visualization of the actual structure of your processes (down to individual transaction level), i.e Process Discovery).

As “(Automatic) Process Discovery” we characterize the combination of process-relevant data / events from IT systems (e.g., ERP, CRM, workflow / legacy systems, etc.) and the reconstruction and visualization of each executed process instance (e.g. customer order no. 12345 of May 5th 10:30 a.m). This is done automatically and persisted in a process intelligence repository (see Figure 1). The reconstruction process can result in a sequence of activities / functions (for simple process executions) or in a complex graph with branches and junctions. For each process instance, the result is a perfect image of the reality. The process instance is depicted as EPC (event driven process chain, the broadly used standard to describe business processes).

Figure 1: Process Assembly

ARIS PPM is also capable of dynamically generating an aggregated process view for each and every query (see Figure 2). Similar to the aggregation of key performance indications within OLAP tool, you can compare and benchmark the structure and behavior of different departments, plants, regions, etc. By drilling down into low performing regions you can get a picture of the behavior of the organization and can compare it to the behavior of high performers – thus identifying the best practices in your organization. The automatically discovered business process (or “aggregated process chain”) represents the average behavior of the underlying process instances that have actually been passed through. The structure can also be visualized as a Gantt-chart to comprehend easily the sequence and overlap of the activities in the process. This is especially suited for the detection of waiting times within a process –this Gantt visualizes the real times that actually happened in the organization.

Filtering of non-relevant paths
Figure 2: Filtering of non-relevant paths

Optimizing business activities and analyzing processes is not only about examining a sequence of actions and evaluating them using performance indicators. It is definitely worth extending the scope of automated analysis to address the further aspects, such as organizational analysis (Who works with whom, and how?) or physical supply chain (where have items been at which point in time? How did they move?), just to name a few.

IDS Scheer invented this Process Discovery approach and provides, with ARIS PPM, a proven and patented technology since the year 2000. It is used by many large customers including SAP, Bayer, Daimler, Credit Suisse, Kraft, Deutsche Post World Net, Yodobashi, etc. The broad experience with many customers gives us a sound understanding of the problems and challenges that occur with process discovery in real world projects (e.g. flexible extraction and high data volumes).

Typical use cases for Automated Process Discovery are identification of bottlenecks (related to time / quality) of the key processes, identification of allocation of resources and the main cost drivers of key processes or identification of the obstacles for efficient cooperation between teams and organizational units.

You can obtain a more detailed description in an expert paper available at IDS Scheer’s website.

Tags: process intelligence