For historical reasons we Europeans are much more dedicated to scientific research unlike Americans much more effective to put their ideas and products in the market than the Europeans who love to publish scientific articles and to attend academic conferences.
Last year two important trends were introduced in BPM world: Adaptive Case Management and Social BPM.
Returning to the initial paragraph about a month ago I rediscovered one of the most prominent academic thinkers in the field of BPM: Wil van der Aalst. This man was responsible for developing the basic concepts of process modeling through petri nets (where all the other mapping standards drunk inspiration), in addition to the enormous contribution to scientific thinking around BPM in the last decade.
Wil van der Aalst last proposition is Process Mining. Pity both Gartner, Forrester and BPM community have not given importance.
What is Process Mining:
- Process Discovery: What processes are executed in our company, supported by enterprise information systems (ERP, BPM, total ad-hoc, e-mail).
- Conformance checking: Business processes are executed according to the rules defined, or human variants exist?
- Performance analysis: Where are the bottlenecks?
- Process prediction: When will the process end? Something that BP Logix has adopted long ago with Predictive BPM.
- Process improvement: How to redesign a process?
How this works?
According to the author, “Process mining techniques allow for extracting information from event logs. For example, the audit trails of a workflow management system or the transaction logs of an enterprise resource planning system can be used to discover models describing processes, organizations, and products. Moreover, it is possible to use process mining to monitor deviations (e.g., comparing the observed events with predefined models or business rules in the context of SOX).”
Contrary to what you might think, Process Mining also supports process discovery and analysis through diagnostic techniques of natural language spread in e-mail or other records scattered, thus supporting the world of unstructured processes.
How important Process mining is:
- In enterprise architecture, when analysts and people who work in your company lost time going fishing for processes that exist, in order to establish process and system architecture. Process Mining plays an important role in the discovery of true enterprise architecture.
- Process Conformity, how many times people discovered that the processes are not performed according to the rules (our human nature love finding new ways to execute). This does not mean that the process should be executed according to the rules, because some times the rules were not correctly set up.
- Process optimization: People that has the experience to perform process analysis by looking at process flows usually indicate easily where are the bottleneck, duplication, repetition, but nowadays (!) in the world of knowledge management where flows does not dictate the manner of execution is necessary to sit side by side with the people who perform work to understand what are the obstacles (in a large company this is a daunting task). But it is also true that normally escapes analysis teams some of the problem sources, or because there are biased opinions, or simply … bad reasoning.
- Business Intelligence helps to understand how we do things, but does have predictive capabilities needed to understand how work could be performed?
Are not we on the verge of a new and beautiful BPM challenge?