What is Process Mining?

Your guide to Process Mining

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Ian Hawkins

Process Mining

Process Mining defined

Process Mining is a cross between Business Process Management and Data Mining.

Process Mining will give you an overview of the processes being used in your organization, enabling you to keep the things that work and get rid of everything that doesn’t.

Your computer may already hold all the data you need, and turning that into business intelligence is Process Mining.


Process Mining: Explained by experts

Looking ahead to 2018, Consultant, Computer Engineer, and speaker Professor Pedro Robledo, stated that while business use of Process Mining was limited, currently, 'universities are investigating their great potential and applying it to specific projects. Organizations spend a lot of time modelling processes, since they cannot get all the information on what the AS-IS process is like. Process mining techniques allow a party to extract information from event and transaction logs to discover models that describe processes; so it reduces the time necessary to model a process that is then optimized and automated in BPM.’

That was then; today the fast pace of change has made Process Mining irresistible to businesses hungry for improvement.

‘With data mining, we often mean a process of analyzing data from several perspectives and summarizing it into useful information,’ says Marja Rajamäki, Business Development Manager at QPR.com. ‘We can then make decisions that affect the success of a company. On a general level, we aim to do the same with process mining as with data mining. In process mining, we take the data that exists in the information systems of a company and use that to visualize what is actually happening in the company’s processes and how they are executed in real life. Almost all IT systems store data and create logs that can be described in process mining terms as "event data". This is the basis for process mining and the analyses conducted.’

Adam Henshall from Process.St elaborates:

‘Process mining is a family of approaches which look at data from event logs to see what people are doing. From looking at the steps someone takes to complete a task, a process can be automatically constructed.’

Adam goes on to explain that there are three parts to Process Mining...

Automated Business Process Discovery (ABPD) - ‘ABPD is about tracking event logs to discover what people are doing and then defining a process around those actions.’

Business process conformance checking - ‘Conformance checking is analyzing the event logs to check actions line up with the process model… Where ABPD helps you find processes, conformance checking helps you make sure people are following already determined processes.’

Performance analysis - ‘From event logs we can see information like how long it has taken a person to do a specific task. Perhaps we believe that task can be done much more quickly? ...With the data from event logs, you could implement [Plan - Do - Study - Act] approaches when looking to boost the performance of your teams!’

Here’s the full article.


Process Mining is now being seen as an essential part of future-proofing an organization in a world where technology is changing the landscape - fast: companies that are unprepared for digital transformation will quickly fall behind organizations that have been more forward-thinking. Process Mining helps organizations adapt quickly by continuously analyzing data and developing insights that drive new value.


Did you know?

PEX Network hosts a free-to-attend annual conference on Process Mining


Process Mining case studies 

Celonis, one of the worlds fastest-growing technology companies (Deloitte Fast50) specialises in Process Mining. They have partnered with Siemens - a 170-year-old company with thousands of employees and an even higher number of number of business operations. Processes in such an organization quickly become highly complex, and this whitepaper explains Celonis’s solution to the challenges posed for Process Improvement.

Minit platform provides visual insights into business processes. Process mapping turns company data into information about how people, machines, and software interact.

Continuous analysis of the flow of operations helps users identify specific ways to improve their business by process optimization, and get the most out of their RPA projects.

G2Crowd provides reviews of process mining software providers.

understanding process mining

Process Mining helps users understand their processes, drive the transformation of the business, align the aims across departments and lead to lasting transformation of operations.


Who’s Who in Process Mining

Wil van der Aalst is a full professor at RWTH Aachen University leading the Process and Data Science (PADS) group. He is also part-time affiliated with the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e).

His research interests include process mining, Petri nets, business process management, workflow management, process modeling, and process analysis. Wil van der Aalst has published more than 200 journal papers, 20 books (as author or editor), 450 refereed conference/workshop publications, and 65 book chapters. He is one of the most cited computer scientists in the world and has an H-index of 136 according to Google Scholar with over 80,000 citations, and his ideas have influenced researchers, software developers, and standardization committees working on process support.

In 2017 he was awarded a Humboldt Professorship, Germany’s most valuable research award (five million euros).

Wil is on LinkedIn here.

Rasto Hlavac has over 20 years of hi-tech experience, founder of Minit.io and co-founder of GRADIENT ECM.

Vinay Patankar is CEO of Process Street. A tech entrepreneur, Vinay was the youngest Cisco engineer in Australia. Vinay says that the businesses don’t always need to beat their competitors - just focus on gaining market share and increasing volume. Process Street is his third internet company.

Alexander Rinke is Founder and CEO of Celonis. An entrepreneur at heart, Alex founded a tuition agency - his first company - at the age of 14. Since Alex’s appearance on the 30 Under 30 Europe list in 2016, Celonis held its first outside funding round totaling $27.5 million with big clients including Bayer, 3M, Dow Chemicals, Vodafone and SIEMENS.

Here is Alexander’s Forbes profile.


Process Mining trends 

As previously mentioned, Process Mining used to be considered an academic pursuit, though interest from business has grown in 2017/2018. According to research carried out by PEX Network in December 2018, Process Mining is anticipated to see a 30% increase in uptake over the following 18 months.

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Where to learn more about Process Mining

Reading list:

Process Mining: Data Science in Action by Wil M. P. van der Aalst (Author)

‘Great book, perfect balance between theory and everyday examples.’


Process Mining: Discovery, Conformance and Enhancement of Business Processes by Wil M.P. van der Aalst (Author)

‘The bible of process mining.’

‘I have read many papers and articles on process mining, and whenever I see that the author's name is Wil van der Aalst I know I am about to learn from someone who is both a master of process mining and a master of teaching.’