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These 6 Process Mining Benefits Can Help You Build a Business Case for Investment

Susan Coleman, Content Marketing Manager
August 18, 2022

How can you be sure your technology investment will have real, positive business impact? When it comes to tech purchases, organizations, like individual consumers, often experience buyer's remorse. When consumers buy apps or gadgets that don't deliver on the promise of making our lives better/easier/more glamorous, we relegate the unused tech to a drawer, some miscellaneous folder on our computer desktops, or worse, a landfill.

You may be surprised by how often this very same thing happens to organizations that invest serious money into technology tools, only to regret those decisions later because the technology didn't deliver on its promises. It's therefore of utmost importance that you thoroughly vet each and every technology investment to be sure it's going to provide the value you need.

Oddly enough, there is a technology that not only provides value itself, but can also help you determine what other technologies are worth investing in. It's called process mining, and it can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to making decisions about which technologies are going to deliver real business value.

How well do you know your processes?

All organizations, regardless of size, location, industry, or other demographic, run on business processes. They are the lifeblood of your organization. Implementing process improvements will result in real value to your business. But where to start? You may have a very strong business process management discipline and still not have sufficient insight into everything that goes on in your actual processes.

And process performance may be something you don't think about that often--until, of course, something goes wrong. But that's not the time to begin focusing on business process improvement. A continuous process improvement approach is the smartest way to avoid--rather than react to--problems. And the best way to achieve lasting process efficiency is by utilizing a process mining solution.

What is process mining?

Process mining software works with the data present in your systems and solutions to create a map of every step and task that takes place within common business processes, including who is involved, how long it takes, and whether there are any process deviations from the "normal" run of things. Say for example you wanted to map your procure-to-pay process to determine where delays or other inefficiencies are occurring. Using data that's created across all of your procure-to-pay systems and workflows--from purchase order creation to goods receipt; invoice and payment processing; and data syncing between procurement, vendor management, and payables systems--a process mining tool can pinpoint where the process bottlenecks and inefficiencies lie. And it does so in a highly visual, highly actionable way by creating process models for the process flow you want to optimize.

Who should invest in process mining technology?

As with any tech investment decision, you need to determine if you'll achieve a net positive return. Process mining may not be a good fit for all organizations, but for anyone interested in digital transformation, it could play a vital role in getting the most out of your technology investments.

So, how do you know if process mining software will deliver real business value?

Ask the following questions to determine whether process mining will benefit your organization:

  • Are your business processes largely digitized? If so, you have plenty of data that can provide valuable insights into how well your processes run.
  • Do you operate in a market or environment that's highly customer, constituent, or patient focused? If feedback from any of these groups--or from your own employees or other stakeholders--points to inefficiencies or a lack of satisfaction, process mining can help you root out the sources of the problems.
  • Does your organization consist of multiple departments or geographies? If so, you may be lacking in transparency across all your touchpoints. With so many interdependencies, inefficiencies are bound to creep in, so you need a tool that can help you discover and eradicate them.
  • Are agility, flexibility, and adaptability top concerns in your organization? As the needs of the organization, your customers, and stakeholders change, your business processes and the technology that supports them also have to change. You need a way to continuously monitor your processes to take advantage of optimization opportunities as they present themselves.
  • Is managing risk a priority for your organization? Clear insight into what goes on in your processes is imperative for minimizing risk.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you could see tremendous benefit from investing in process mining software.

What are the benefits of process mining?

Process mining technology can help you zero in on what's holding you back and provide a road map for overcoming your obstacles. Use these benefits to build your business case for making an investment:

  • Establish a solid understanding of your as-is processes: When making technology investments, you not only have to be clear on your future goals--the to-be state of things when your new technology is up and running--but you also need a solid grasp of where you are today. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, "... understanding the current process is critical to knowing whether it is worth investing in improvements, where performance problems exist, and how much variation there is in the process across the organization."
  • Base decisions on real data: The best way to get this solid understanding of your current state is by consulting the data. Though the people who work with the processes day in and day out will have valuable expertise when it comes to certain aspects of your workflows, they may not be able to provide a truly comprehensive view of all process steps. Process mining, however, can deliver accurate, unbiased insight into all that goes on in your processes.
  • Save money and time through targeted automation: You may have heard the term "intelligent automation," which refers to the orchestration of robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other automation technologies. It's an approach that helps you assign the right technology to the right task based on each technology's capabilities. Process mining helps you identify what tasks within your processes will benefit the most from automation. The speed, accuracy, and auditability these technologies deliver can result in significant cost savings and much faster time to market.
  • Improve customer experience and user satisfaction: Applying process mining technology to any customer journey process can have a far-reaching, positive impact on your business. When your customer processes are optimized, you experience less churn, make more sales, and enjoy a distinct advantage over your competitors. And when you automate repetitive, manual tasks, your employees will find their time can be better spent on more meaningful work.
  • Reduce risk and increase compliance: How can you be sure your business operations are compliant and free from risk? There is no 100% certainty when it comes to risk and compliance, but when you have complete insight into your processes, you'll have a much clearer picture of potential trouble spots. Once you know where issues are likely to occur, you can more easily plug the gaps and save your business from costly and damaging incursions or fines.
  • Continuous improvement--not just a one-off exercise: There are no restrictions on how often you apply process mining to your processes. You can do so to determine your as-is state, level set during your process optimization project, do a pulse check six months after you've implemented changes. There's no limit. Process mining is a continuous improvement exercise that will serve your organization far into the future.

Discover the value.

The value of any technology is not in what it does, but in the benefits you experience from using it. If you want to learn more about process mining and how it can benefit your business, sign up for the Appian Process Mining Kick-Start program and talk to our experts.