Improving Process Automation With Process Intelligence Part 1: The Fundamentals

Workflow management is not a modern concept. From the early days of manufacturing and the industrial revolution, it was well understood that time and efficiency have a tightly woven relationship with production and money. Through the dawn of the digital age, workflow remained a focus for businesses everywhere. Workflow management technology was invented and techniques like agile project management rose in popularity, shining a light on the importance of smooth flowing processes.

Today, smooth workflows pave the way for digital transformation. As automation and hyperautomation continue to drive businesses forward, operational efficiency is more important than ever. At the heart of it all is the business process, and the key to unlocking its power is process intelligence.

In Part I of this series, we dig into the fundamentals of process intelligence, understanding what it is, why it’s important and how it works. In Part II, we look at process intelligence in action, seeing how it delivers value for today’s modern businesses. Let’s get started.

What Is Process Intelligence?

Process intelligence is a term to describe the combination of business intelligence and process mining. Process mining uses specialized software to “mine” all of business’ end-to-end processes. With the processes mined, business intelligence technology then determines what parts of the process need improvement, which might be best suited for automation, where to optimize, what to re-engineer, and more. This synergy between discovery and analytics is what we mean by process intelligence.

Why is Process Intelligence important?

Process intelligence gives us a window into the sometimes complicated workflows of business processes. These insights, and the benefits that come along with the changes we make because of them, are incredibly valuable. But beyond just visibility, process intelligence also offers us a way to make smarter, data-driven decisions without having to rely on human memory or being subject to its potential biases.

With the EZFlow platform by EPSoft, for example, the process platform does the heavy lifting, automatically pulling in a real-time view of your current workflows. Then, it provides recommendations with easy-to-follow suggestions for correcting bottlenecks and increasing operational efficiencies.

  • Data-driven decision making
  • Smoother workflow
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved resource management
  • Full transparency
  • Ongoing improvement

Task Mining vs. Process Mining vs. Process Intelligence

In addition to process mining and process intelligence, you might have also heard the term task mining. It’s important to understand these three terms, while all related, mean different things and are not interchangeable.

What is task mining?

Task mining software helps you look at the steps in a given task by accessing user logs and user interfaces. This user-level data shows all the steps relative to that user and that task, so that the organization can look at the task in the context of the larger process. In this way it is a part of process mining.

Benefits of Task Mining

  • Discovery of inefficiencies
  • Uncover patterns of disruption
  • Provides hard data metrics for optimizing productivity
  • When deployed as part of a broader strategy, it can be a driver for end-to-end process automation

Process mining is similar to task mining, but instead of user-level data, it uses process mapping and event logs to look at the totality of all business processes at the enterprise level. The goal with process mining is to improve efficiencies and also to uncover the best areas for automation when looking at the organization as a whole.

Task mining accesses user-level data that can shine a spotlight on how work gets done so you can uncover problems, fix them and improve how things get done in the future. It helps you understand how people interact with systems and data to complete their work. Process mining is a broader discipline, looking at the entirety of a process, helping you build an objective end-to-end process using real data. This lets you build a process as it really exists, and not how you might think it exists, or wish it exists.

Process intelligence brings the best of task mining and process mining together along with business intelligence, delivering deep insights about a business’ end-to-end processes, providing best areas for automation and easy-to-follow recommendations for improvement.

How Does Process Intelligence Work?

Process intelligence gives you the added value of being able to both start from scratch, or use existing workflows. Either way, the technology brings the best of automation to the table, helping you know the potential financial impact of your decisions before they’re made—all backed by verifiable data.

Build Realistic Workflows

When you’re not limited by existing documentation (or forced to create it by memory), you can leverage more accurate data, which lends itself to a better, more efficient workflow. If you already have a process in place, start by uploading your event logs into the EZFlow platform. If you don’t, EZFlow can systematically collect the data by recording your processes start to finish.

Visuals to Analyze

Accurate data in hand, the platform gets to work on analysis, looking at the processes, mapping the data and creating a visualized graph. Here you’ll discover your bottlenecks and inefficiencies, compliance issues and more. The system uses metrics like time to completion, number of repetitions in a task, frequency and duration to make these evaluations.

Discover the Best Opportunities

Making data-driven decisions means you don’t have to rely on guesswork or even rough estimation. You can use hard data to get visibility into potential cost and time savings for every potential change.

Get Automating

Once all the best opportunities have been identified by the platform, you can make adjustments if needed, or generate the BPMN as-is. If you want a new one altogether, you can also choose to upload a new version. Either way, when you finalize your BPMN, it is now time to build your automations—a step EZFlow kickstarts for you, pre-building your automations in the Automation Engine.

Up Next—Part II: Process Intelligence In Action

As you can see, there is a lot happening beneath the surface when it comes to process management, and process intelligence is all about understanding those moving parts in a way that helps you optimize the workflow. In Part II of our installment series, we will dig even deeper, taking a look at how process intelligence works in real life scenarios. Be sure to check back here on the blog for Part II.

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