Process Mapping and Process Mining Guide

Process Mapping and Process Mining Guide

Published By : Jimmy Hewitt December 16, 2022

All organizations use specific business processes. You use strategies for purchases, communication, distribution, internal procedures and more. Your workflows play a direct role in your organization’s overall efficiency, defining task lengths and overall productivity.

Many organizations use process mining to understand their internal procedures. Process mining can help your business by applying algorithms to log data in your systems. In turn, it discovers patterns and details of your work processes. You can use the information to locate performance gaps and make improvements.

Companies can also use process mapping to build visual workflow representations. There are a variety of process maps you can use to organize and map your procedures. You can use them to communicate processes between team members and find ways to improve efficiency.

Read on to learn more about the concept of process mining and mapping.

What Is Process Mining?

Process mining is a method used for improving workflows. It uses data science to identify and analyze work processes in your organization’s information systems. Integrating data mining and process analytics allows you to mine log data and understand performance more deeply. The log data can reveal gaps or bottlenecks in your workflows, and you can use it to resolve them. In turn, you can optimize your procedures with a data-based approach.

The method takes data from information systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM). These tools display log data in a process graph or model, detailing the work, who performed the task and the task length. During process mining, the system analyzes these resources and looks for deviations.

Process mining has a wide range of use cases for departmental teams, including:

  • Process managers: Many organizations have process managers, who are responsible for evaluating and improving specific departmental procedures. These managers can use process mining to access data-driven and fully transparent information about processes. The goal for process managers is to find ways for departments to increase efficiency. They can continually use process mining to evaluate and implement changes.
  • Auditors: Internal audit departments can also benefit from process mining. These teams monitor team efficiency and financial accuracy for organizations. Auditors can use process mining to analyze how well an organization meets compliance standards. Process mining also organizes data into a visual representation, which helps auditors present their findings. 
  • IT departments: IT departments can also use process mining to evaluate the performance of IT systems, apps or websites. Then, they can use the uncovered data to upgrade equipment or lower costs.

You might need process mining if you notice significant instances of underperformance or lost revenue. The process can help you enhance your existing structures. 

What Are the Steps in Process Mining?

A process mining guide can vary by specific departments and organizations. However, you can usually complete process mining with these basic steps:

1. Data Intake 

The first step in process mining is obtaining data. The method collects data as it develops across your organization’s system. Your company likely uses a wide range of applications and servers to store and process data. During process mining, the system collects and processes data logs of interactions. These interactions are called event logs, which can consist of anything from answering a customer’s request to paying a bill. Process mining ingests the event log details, such as case IDs, activity descriptions and timestamps.

2. Process Discovery

Once the system collects your data, it begins to analyze it. It gathers the data logs and organizes them into an end-to-end visualization. In other words, it builds a chronological sequence of each step of the interaction. For instance, if you were evaluating the process of paying an invoice, the visualization would display every step during this procedure. During the second step, your team can look closely at these processes.

3. Process Analytics

Next, you can study any gaps or inefficiencies that the data intake might have identified. For example, the system might have displayed bottlenecks, missed deadlines, skipped deadlines or unused resources. Process mining allows you to inspect these inefficiencies and uncover specific causes behind them. You can also observe the impact on other business metrics, like key performance indicators (KPIs) or sales conversions. For example, process mining might identify a specific business procedure that slows overall efficiency. In turn, your KPIs are impacted negatively.

4. Process Comparison 

Many organizations also engage in process comparison during data mining. In this step, you can compare process performance in different applications or intents. For instance, you can compare potential order times with different suppliers. You can use this method to narrow options and identify the best strategies for your organization.

5. Conformance Checking

You can also use conformance checking during your process mining routine. In this strategy, you can set a preferred process method and see where your data strays from this method. This step gives you direct insights into skipped steps or processes that take too long. You can view how others adapt procedures and how these variations impact overall performance.

6. Improvement Planning

The final step of improvement planning is to use your gathered data for improvement. Once you gain visibility into specific processes, you can begin to find ways to improve them. For instance, your team can consider redesigning processes or trying new actions to enhance your methods. If you have specific departmental goals, you can focus improvement planning on these. For example, you might want to increase efficiency. During this final stage, you can plan for ways to reduce the complexity of your procedures. 

What Are the Benefits of Process Mining?

Process mining is an important procedure for business improvement. Companies can identify and track weaknesses in their business procedures and find direct paths to enhancement. In turn, they remain adaptable and competitive options in the marketplace.

You also need process mining to build a data-driven digital transformation. All insights are backed by transparent and direct data. You can use it for a thorough examination of your processes and work towards becoming the best version of your company.

Other benefits of process mining include:

  • Lowered costs: In addition to event logs, process mining allows you to view operational costs. You can inspect inefficiencies and quantify them. For example, you can calculate specific percentages for gaps in performance or unused resources. Then, you can find ways to enhance performance and reduce these losses. Your team can also uncover areas that would benefit from automation or system upgrades. For instance, automation can eliminate manual or repetitive tasks, allowing employees to work on higher-priority tasks. Then, you can implement these changes and reduce expenses.
  • Enhanced efficiency: Process mining gives you a close look at your current performance levels. Viewing operational procedures allows you to notice performance gaps or inefficiencies. By staying aware of these gaps, you can remove obstacles and keep your organization working at top efficiency.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Bottlenecks and low-performance quality also impact your customers and clients. You can use process mining to improve customer systems and journeys. The easier it is for customers to use your services, the more likely your sales will increase.
  • Ongoing improvement: Lastly, process mining is an excellent tool for continual improvement. You can use the process model to analyze procedures at any time, and apply it as many times as necessary. For instance, you might use process mining to identify bottlenecks in your strategy and implement new strategies. After you implement them, you can apply process mining again to evaluate their effectiveness.

What Is Process Mapping?

Process mapping is another method for enhancing workflows. This visual map shows a series of events that lead to a result. It displays the users, steps, actions and timelines involved in each workflow. Process maps are also known as flowcharts or flow diagrams.

These are some common types of process maps:

  • Flowcharts: These charts provide a basic overview of a process. It uses a series of symbols and shapes to depict each step of a process in sequential order. 
  • Deployment maps: Deployment maps show the relationship between different teams or processes. The charts often show how one method impacts the entire company.
  • Rendered process maps: These maps compare a current position against a desired future position. Organizations use the comparison for improvement plans. For instance, you could display your current revenue against your ideal revenue in the future.

Process maps use symbols to describe elements. Here are some examples:

  • Rectangles: Rectangles typically represent a specific process and its related activities.
  • Arrows: Arrows connect shapes to depict the flow movement. For instance, the arrows could move forward, backward or both ways.
  • Ovals: Organizations often use ovals to signal the beginning or end of a workflow.
  • Diamonds: Diamonds typically display a turning point or opportunity to make a decision.

Overall, you might need process mapping if you want to create visual workflows. Process mapping breaks down procedures into detailed paths. You can use the charts to gauge your procedures’ effectiveness and make changes as necessary.

What Are the Steps in Process Mapping?

These are the standard steps in process mapping:

  1. Select a process: First, you have to select a process to focus on for mapping. Many organizations select processes that are underperforming or not achieving desired results. For instance, one notable business process is delivering products to customers. If you notice that deliveries are taking longer than usual and negatively affecting customer satisfaction, you might want to focus on this process for mapping.
  2. Outline the current map: Next, work with knowledgeable team members, or subject matter experts (SMEs) to outline your current process map. You can work together to document all relevant information. Then, separate the procedure into distinctive steps. Organize it sequentially and indicate the starting point, ending point and important steps in between.
  3. Use symbols: Once you organize your map sequentially, you can use symbols to enhance it. Many organizations use mapping software to implement and edit shapes. For instance, Blueworks process mapping helps you construct process maps that suit specific organizational needs.
  4. Get feedback: After you’ve completed the initial draft, share the map with team members to ensure everything is correct. Make sure you didn’t repeat any steps, leave steps out or include the wrong details. Once you finalize the map, evaluate it for effectiveness. Examine any bottlenecks or confusing areas. If you notice these, you can begin a discussion about process enhancement. For instance, team members might notice that you could remove a few steps or add new ones to assist with the flow.
  5. Implement and evaluate changes: Lastly, you can test out these potential changes. Discuss your intentional alterations with other team members and welcome any additional feedback they have. As you work the changes into your typical workflow, monitor them closely. You can use process mapping as many times as necessary to revisit your processes and make adjustments.

What Are the Benefits of Process Mapping?

Process mapping is an excellent way to inspect your internal processes. Your procedures are organized into accessible and distinctive flows. Process maps can help with training, performance improvements and customer satisfaction.

Here are more examples of why process mapping is important:

  • Accessible data: Process maps depict workflows with visual cues and symbols, making it more likely that all team members will understand. In turn, it becomes easier to evaluate work processes and seek areas of improvement. Teams can see an overview of the entire procedure and use it to enhance them in the future. 
  • Improved productivity: Process mapping is also a way to enhance employee productivity. It provides transparency for specific processes within departments, allowing you to identify inefficiencies or thought gaps. Your teams can use the charts to brainstorm streamlining methods. For instance, a department could use a process map to analyze employee onboarding. The chart might show that two particular steps slow down employees and keep them from completing procedures on time. In response, the department could combine the two steps or remove one. 
  • Easier training: Organizations frequently use process maps during training. They serve as accessible and easy-to-understand training materials that new employees can refer back to. Process maps can shorten the learning curve during training by providing a visual representation of workflows. In response, employees can understand their positions more thoroughly and experience more satisfaction in their roles.

What Is the Difference Between Process Mining and Mapping?

Process mining and process mapping are both helpful strategies for evaluating and improving workflows. Both methods look closely at company procedures and provide visual ways to understand them.

However, process mining and mapping have a few significant differences, including:

  • Discovery process: The two options use different strategies for collecting data. Process mining is based in data science, and it uses algorithmic systems to ingest and analyze data. Alternatively, process mapping uses input from employees, business analysts and SMEs to gather data about specific processes. In other words, process mining uses a data-driven approach, while process mapping mostly relies on workshops and interviews. 
  • Creation: The two options also differ in creation methods. Process mining requires advanced data-mining applications. Once you deploy these tools, they can automatically ingest and process data. But you can complete process mapping with basic software or even by hand.

Overall, process mining is rooted more closely with data, while process mapping provides a visual representation of specific tasks.

Request a Free Trial With Blueworks Insights Today

Process mining and process mapping are integral tools for companies. You might need process mapping or mining to transform existing structures.

If you’re ready to employ one of these solutions, choose Blueworks Insights today. This solution helps you build comprehensive and precise workflow maps. You can access important usage statistics, monitor user activity and use robotic process automation. 

To get started, request a free trial today.