This post explains how the new process mining methodology and tools can help you analyze, optimize, migrate, and monitor your content-centric processes.
1. The Current State of Workflow
Imaging and workflow systems have been in use for more than twenty years throughout the financial services and insurance industries. Yet consider the current state of workflow today: most content-centric workflows were designed 10+ years ago to route scanned images through a series of manual steps (index, QA, process, etc.). Most are undocumented and the people who developed them are no longer available. The technology is fragile and provides little visibility into exactly how items flow.
Yet, today organizations are pursuing straight-through end-to-end digital processes – and need to modernize their old workflows. One emerging capability in the market that makes this possible is process mining. Process mining is an analytical methodology for evaluating, improving, and monitoring processes by extracting knowledge from the event logs created by most information systems.
Process mining helps you analyze the historical log or key stroke recording data to determine how work items move through a process. It’s designed to optimize current processes and gain new insights to reduce costs and minimize exceptions. Process mining can also be effective for pre-migration analysis to determine which processes can be moved “as-is” and those that need to be re-engineered (for example if you are trying to move an older FileNet P8 or Documentum system to the cloud).
2. The Typical Workflow Is A Mess!
Typically, the clients we work with struggle to understand the paths that work items follow inside of their operations. The original process was implemented 20+ years ago, and then modified again and again to accommodate different exceptions, new types of work, and different functional roles. Fast forward, and you begin to understand the complexities that exist. The following illustrates the typical workflow in a contemporary document capture operation:
3. There are Two Target Use Cases
Process mining can assist organizations in two general ways:
- First, it helps you to optimize existing processes to gain additional cost benefits. Clients can quickly drill into the higher volume or value processes and measure variance and costly exceptions. They can use business-friendly process maps and dashboards to diagnose in-efficiencies and model changes. Often simple small changes can have a big impact reducing the amount of re-work and latency buried in processes.
- Second, process mining can assist with pre-migration analysis, as preparation to moving to the cloud. For example, firms can auto-generate BPMN process maps to validate requirements for business users. They can easily determine which processes to migrate as-is, which to re-engineer, and which can be consolidated or retired. This use of process mining significantly reduces external consulting and internal business analyst spending. As a result, migrations can be accelerated from 3+ years to 18 months.
- Process Mining Benefits
Process mining gives you many benefits, including:
- Diagnose the efficiency and effectiveness of a process and determine whether to move a process “as-is” or re-engineer.
- Determine the scope and breadth of variation in a process; understand latencies and dependencies; identify unused nodes and queues.
- Find identical or similar processes as candidates for consolidation enabled by side-by-side comparisons of processes in the content management system.
- Auto-generate BPMN process maps for existing workflows to assist business and technology teams in visualizing and understanding the current state. Often, if processes can be migrated “as-is,” the BPMN models can be imported into the target workflow system (Pega, Appian, Camunda, IBM) to generate executable code.
- Compare old and new processes to determine the resulting impact on cost and value. Using standard rates for touches and tasks, business units can conduct comparisons of processes in both in the old and new systems early in their migrations to assist with multi-year budget forecasting.
- Accelerate compliance sign-off on migrated processes. Processes can be compared to standardized “templates” (within a pre-built library) for conformance. With visual comparisons, the compliance team can more effectively review and sign off.
Start with a Trial or POC
Process mining is just beginning to emerge in the market. It’s been proven with enterprise resource planning, such at procurement or materials management processes with systems like SAP. Doculabs’ initial work with process mining is encouraging for content and workflow applications in financial services and insurance. Clients should consider conducting a proof of concept to determine the degree to which process mining may improve their processes.