Process Mining: The Facts, Fiction, and Findings

Process Mining: The Facts, Fiction, and Findings

Prior to the advent of “ Process Mining”, we had ERP systems to help foster an efficient operational workflow and track business processes to ensure that tasks flow in a systematic and organized manner.

Going further back in time, studying business processes was largely dependent on subjective information that was retrieved based on interviews and workshops conducted. This led to incomplete process models due to limited and incomplete information.

Thus in 1999, the “Godfather of Process Mining”, Wil van der Aalst coined the term process mining in a research paper for the first time, thereafter many process mining tools were developed in the market.

Although Process Mining has already proven to be a valuable tool, its widespread adoption among corporations has added to some confusion or fiction related to what process mining does well and what it does not do.   Here are a few misconceptions to help you fact check the reality of process mining and what it can do for a business:

Complex Data

Most people are of the opinion that only big companies or large scale corporations that deal with huge amounts of data can afford to invest in something like big data analytics. However, that is not the case.

The aim of process mining is to track every process running through the workflow on an end-to-end basis, this means that, you don’t necessarily require fully automated processes or very complex data to be fed into the tool.

People often confuse process mining as a tool to help with strategy, planning and implementation, whereas, process mining focuses on optimizing business processes, process analysis and monitoring them for any deviations.

Affordability and Time Consuming

It is automatically assumed that a huge amount of money and data is required in order for a technology like process mining to work. Most businesses also are misguided that the time taken to observe value is elaborate and time consuming.

However, there are multiple ways to test the feasibility of the respective process mining tool pertaining to the scope of your project and amount of data to be processed. Multiple vendors and service offerings in the market also make it a more affordable and effective alternative to optimize work efficiency.


Process mining is frequently misunderstood as only being applicable to fully automated processes, or processes that are wholly controlled by an IT system. So, there is considerable conjecture pertaining to Process Mining being useful exclusively for ERP systems, Business Process Management and being limited to specific processes only.

That, however, is not the case. Almost every process in the current business world leaves a trail in the system, which produces data as a by-product. These traces can be used by Process Mining.

In fact, Process Mining's usefulness in those situations can be substantially higher than it is in fully automated processes. The ability to work flexibly is considerably greater in less controlled procedures, and as a result, there is often a lack of awareness of how individuals truly work. Process mining reveals those processes that were previously unknown.

Process Mining has the advantage of being able to operate with any process as long as there is a CaseID, Activity Name, and Timestamp somewhere in the IT system.

Limited Possibilities

While it is very clear by now that process mining focuses mainly on process optimization and tracking, it is not just limited to optimization and automation opportunities. Most businesses limit the scope of process mining to process map visualizations, however, it helps in a multitude of ways.

Process mining improves work efficiency by delivering and analyzing algorithmic processes while also validating automation options. This facilitates the formation of a stronger link between strategy and operations, which improves audits and compliance.

By realizing these developments, businesses will be able to make use and implement a tool like process mining to its full capability.

Process Mining Doesn’t Require Process Analysts

People often wonder if the process mining technology develops further and becomes fully automated, would that mean it would replace process analysts and process managers?

Good process mining necessitates the presence of good process experts. The importance of the human element should never be overlooked. The software is only as good as its users, and at the very least when it comes to implementing optimization techniques in actual operations, the entire team is required.

The above mentioned points highlight a consolidated understanding of what businesses often misinterpret when it comes to Process Mining. Process mining is not the panacea for all business problems. However, the tool does provide in-depth insights into processes and root causes of deviations at the current state of the art.

The optimization, on the other hand, is still the responsibility of the businesses. Understanding the technology better will eventually help businesses use the tool to their full potential!

Author : Re-vive