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Gain Instant Insight into Your Business Processes with Process Mining in the Cloud

by Keith Grayson, Senior Director of Database and Data Management Solution Management, SAP

April 22, 2019

As organizations continue to expand their global reach, optimizing business processes becomes increasingly important to ensure quality customer experiences and improve margins. Process mining solutions — such as the on-premise SAP Process Mining application by Celonis and SAP Process Mining by Celonis, cloud edition — have emerged as useful tools for supporting these types of initiatives by enabling businesses to drill down into their key business processes, uncover inefficiencies, and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Understanding Process Mining

Process mining is an analytical discipline for discovering and visualizing business processes using the raw data — or “digital footprints” — captured from enterprise application audit trails and logs. Because the visualizations are constructed from the raw data, without the influence of preconceptions or preexisting process models that structure and limit the results, they deliver accurate, valuable insights about how business processes are operating. Views of the data can go all the way from high-level schematic diagrams of process variants, all the way down to text-based reports at a very granular level — an order item in a specific purchase request in an end-to-end procure-to-pay process, for instance.

A process mining deployment can also help support the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) platforms. Automation is fundamentally a rule-based activity, and automation activities tend to fail when the rules they follow require more manual intervention than the manual processes that they replace. An optimal automation setup requires insight into the exact process flows that are followed by the individuals responsible for them — when people are involved in business processes, they often fill in the gaps in documented process steps in their own ways, and these manual interventions can be missed as the process is automated. Process mining helps identify process flows and variants, including undocumented paths and exception handling, so that organizations can decide which steps need to be reproduced in the automation. Process mining can be the difference that makes an automation project successful.

Ensuring Process Mining Success 

SAP Process Mining by Celonis, cloud edition, extends the process mining functionality of the SAP Process Mining solution with cloud-based capabilities that enable rapid insight into and optimization of complex processes. The solution provides prebuilt content — available via an Intelligent Business Apps store — that can be used to connect both SAP and non-SAP applications. The standardized processes and apps extract the required data, transform that data into the necessary format, and install predefined analyses and objectives without the need for time-consuming configuration of separate tools. It also includes a Transformation Center that provides quantitative analysis of end-to-end business processes, measuring their performance against objectives and milestones, and a Cloud Teams functionality that allows team members to collaborate with each other to address business process inefficiencies together. Enterprises can differentiate themselves through data-driven business process analysis, measurement, and actions, creating a high-performance collaborative platform for continuous improvement.

Using the cloud edition of SAP Process Mining delivers a transformational level of insight into end-to-end business processes with speed and ease, allowing organizations to shine a spotlight on key outcomes and gain accurate, quantitative insights that can be shared across the entire organization. A tool can only take you so far on its own, however — you must set up that tool for success.

Here are some best practices for ensuring a successful process mining deployment in your organization:

  • End-to-end business process analysis requires an empowered center of excellence team that has the authority and support of the business to champion and coordinate the use of the tool across organizational boundaries.

  • A process mining platform that can be shared with business owners and business users on the ground is the most effective deployment model. It gets everybody speaking the same language, enables continuous improvement, and measures the effectiveness of changes.

  • Process mining can be used to benchmark the automation ratio of business processes and identify areas for improvement. It is equally important to use process mining to map out as-is processes to ensure the success of automation projects, such as the implementation of an RPA platform.

With thoughtful planning for your process mining deployment, you can step confidently in the direction of becoming a data-driven intelligent enterprise. Learn more at https://www.sap.com/products/process-mining.html.

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