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From Instincts to Analytics

Most businesses have a detailed understanding of what gets done and by whom, but when it comes to understanding how work gets done (and how it gets started and how it progresses for that matter), the waters are murkier. But, as we have discussed many times before, in order to improve business processes –and ultimately improve business outcomes– you have to first have an accurate and detailed understanding of every part of the process.

Sometimes, it can be tempting to work with tenured managers, knowledgeable administrators, or other subject matter experts to build these workflows. Perhaps they have personally been a part of a project or process since its inception. Or maybe they are responsible for some specific piece of it. Either way, this group should have the knowledge to accurately map out a workflow. Right? Not so fast.

Our instincts may very well tell us our group of experts are just people to build our workflows so we can begin to optimize our business process. The problem with our instincts is… well, our instincts. The challenges to this scenario are distinctly human. As people, we have feelings and ambitions. We tend to prefer data points that support our own hypothesis. We make assumptions. We prioritize things, both consciously and subconsciously, with inconsistency. We behave conditionally. As a species, we are inherently biased. And despite even our best efforts, these aren’t qualities we can always turn off.

A 2016 paper by McKinsey addressing business in the digital age touched on this exact issue and found that the right application of technology and data analytics can overcome the human bias challenge.

For business process management and process automation, we overcome it with Process Intelligence, which leverages a combination of process mining and business analytics. We dig deep into your existing system data to extract real-time details about workflow, productivity, and efficiency (and lack thereof). Figures and information tell the whole story, illuminating which parts need the most help with automation and which can build the highest potential ROI. With this data in hand, the human team–perhaps still comprising tenured managers, knowledgeable administrators, and other subject matter experts–can now make smarter decisions.

Gut instincts serve many purposes. They help us think and act quickly in situations that call for it. In some ways, our instincts help us build relationships, run businesses, and be great leaders. But in the “Age of Analytics,” instincts cannot be the primary driver for decision making. Read more about Process Intelligence here, here, and here.

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