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What is Business Process Intelligence? A Guide for Enterprise Leaders

What is business process intelligence?

Business process intelligence is the practice of collecting, analyzing, and monitoring your operational data to understand how processes work and uncover insights for how to improve them. 

It starts with process mining, which uses event data from systems like ERPs or CRMs to create a model of your process that is fed with real-time data for continuous monitoring. Then, AI algorithms automate process analysis by surfacing valuable insights about where and how a process can be improved.

Process intelligence provides a comprehensive view of how your organization operates—from day-to-day processes to overarching business performance.

Process mining vs process intelligence vs business intelligence

Like all languages, technology terms for process improvement are constantly evolving. How you define process intelligence can depend on your industry and your organization. 

Process mining, process intelligence, or process improvement—in the end, it doesn't matter what you call your organization’s tools for optimizing operational performance. What matters is your understanding of process improvement best practices and the technology that can make it happen.

Here is a brief breakdown of how a few key business process intelligence terms are commonly used:

  • Process mining: A technique for discovering, monitoring, and improving processes. It’s an objective way to visualize how business processes work using event logs and process models. 

  • Process intelligence: A holistic approach to process improvement using a combination of techniques such as process mining, AI, and automation. Often, terms like enterprise intelligence or operational intelligence can be used interchangeably with process intelligence.

  • Business intelligence: Aggregating, analyzing, and visualizing business data to provide strategic insights and support high-level decision-making across the organization.

The most notable distinction from this group is business intelligence (BI). Historically, BI has existed as a separate and distinct category from process mining and process intelligence. But this is starting to change as more organizations see the importance of tools that can offer both capabilities in a single place.

Process intelligence is also sometimes used to describe a combination of both business process management—a traditionally people-oriented approach to managing and optimizing processes—and business intelligence. 

How does process intelligence help organizations?

Process intelligence helps organizations make informed, strategic decisions that drive long-term success. It transforms how organizations operate by providing the power to truly understand how processes run
and the insights needed to improve them.

With a deeper understanding of processes and operational data, businesses can create a culture of data-driven decision-making, meaning they can adapt more quickly to market changes, deliver higher value to customers, and maintain a competitive edge.

And for enterprise leaders, process intelligence provides a one-stop shop for executive insights. Business process intelligence provides an at-a-glance view of the information most important to your bottom line.

The top 5 benefits of business process intelligence include:

  1. Data-driven decision-making. Process intelligence gives you a single place to evaluate your organization's business and process data. This provides enterprise leaders with the insights they need to make decisions based on data rather than gut feelings.
  2. Targeted automation. Automation is a great way to add efficiency into your processes. But without data, it might not have the desired effect. Process intelligence gives you targeted insights about where to apply automation for the maximum impact.
  3. Optimized costs. Having complete visibility into your processes allows you to remove bottlenecks and improve efficiency, which cuts down on costs and allows you to invest those resources elsewhere. 
  4. Operational agility. Likewise, the ability to have real-time information about your process performance gives you the ability to react quickly to unexpected changes, keeping your operation flexible and adaptable. 
  5. Continuous improvement. Every business wants to improve, but many lack the tools and expertise needed to do so on a regular basis. Organizations that have an easy way to get process insights can monitor them over time for regular improvements, providing a big competitive advantage over those who are scraping by with limited data and making decisions based on gut feeling.

Business process intelligence use cases

There are countless ways to use process intelligence. And a lot of the benefits of process intelligence align closely to common ways organizations use it. 

Process intelligence is often used for: 

  • Process improvement and standardization 

  • Compliance and risk management 

  • Digital transformation

  • Improving employee experiences

  • Improving customer experiences 

  • Strategic planning

  • Resource management and cost optimization

  • Demand forecasting and supplier performance monitoring

  • Project management and resource allocation

Process intelligence and process automation

Process intelligence naturally complements process automation, providing the strategic context needed to successfully apply automation and achieve the desired effect.

That’s because process intelligence can provide deeper insights about how automation affects every part of a process—including the impact of automation on an individual task, dependent tasks, and process performance overall. And, process intelligence tools often offer predictive capabilities to allow you to simulate scenarios and predict ROI  before the automation is even applied. 

Process intelligence software

According to Forrester, process intelligence tools are “a relatively new phenomenon” that has only appeared as a category in the last several years. Despite this, they estimate that around half of organizations are using process intelligence tools, and predict that the other half will soon follow1

“Forrester defines process intelligence software as products that provide analytics about an organization’s processes that are operated by humans as well as implemented in IT systems. Process analytics is mainly based on task- and process-mining capabilities but not limited to them. Process intelligence software enables decision-making on how to improve process performance."

– Forrester’s Process Intelligence Landscape Preview — Three Primary Trends To Watch


Sometimes called operational intelligence, these solutions use advanced data and analytics to measure, monitor, and improve processes—including process mining, AI recommendations for where to take action, and dashboards and reporting for tracking key business metrics.

Process intelligence solutions like Appian Process HQ provide you with fast answers to business and process questions, so you can quickly generate insights and take action without having to be a process or data expert.


Interested in learning more about process improvement? Download the Guide to Continuous Process Improvement.


1Forrester, Predictions 2024: Automation Pragmatic LLMs, Alternative Process Roadmaps, And Automation Risk Analysis Define 2024