A new challenge for Process Mining – Big Data

Process Mining is transforming the way we understand the reality of organization’s interactions and helping to accelerate adaptation efforts. When people contact for the first time how Process Mining operates, discovering automatically process models, showing analysis dimensions accurately, jumping immediately to the act of change and adapt the process they realize the power of process mining.

Here comes Social and Big Data is attached

Social business is transforming the way we work. Internally it unlocks silos. Outside puts the customer in control of the business processes. This shift brings additional challenges regarding how we manage communication channels and drive process execution. Additionally it introduces an exponential increase of the amount of data available, some or most of it, is not interpreted by the organization. Imagine your company invested in a Business Intelligence mobile solution that does not support Blackberry devices and your customer base uses this device type . Basically your BB customers don’t exist.

This exponential data increase is in different forms and flavors: classic relational / transactional data, documents, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, video, podcasts, images. The last five data types are used widely in social interactions. You can post a photo on Facebook, with content that relates with your company on a particular complain management scenario. TAP airline handles complains/information requests on Facebook. Sometimes customers upload photos taken with mobile phones showing a copy of the boarding pass where the airline can get data to help the customer. Football clubs get data from fan’s seats, tweets, facebook’s posts, merchandise that was bought in the fan’s shop, to measure fan’s engagement and cross sell services or football’s club partners products or services. All this data blend is called Big Data.

The emergence of Big Data is putting a lot of analytical pressure. This kind of data is dispersed is not inside of your company systems like the products your customers buy from you, (it’s stored inside Twitter’s servers or similar) making difficult to relate and analyze (natural language interpretation capabilities for example).

Event logs challenge

As we are headed towards more and more to the socialization of business processes, this means there is leak in the foundation of process mining: event logs. Event logs are data about the nature of your business process, meaning, what was done, when it was done, who did it and extra meaningful data necessary to replay process reality. Events logs are extracted from the company systems or from the companies systems if the process being analyzed is executed by more than one company (imagine a bank that processes some activities to issue a credit card and other part of the process is executed by the credit card manufacturer and others by the a logistic company that delivers the credit card for you).

Process Mining relies on the prerequisite that you have access and control on the data source. But with the socialization of business processes you loose that ability. You are inside a dark hole.

As someone was saying in a enterprise 2.0 conference, Facebook is a threat to the internet: information search and discovery due it’s protection / privacy mechanisms meaning you don’t have access to data. Keep in mind that you have customers talking about your company and you are not able to engage with, but you still have a customer interaction process, but is broken. If you made a reset how processes where analyzed before (running inside company borders) when a customer submit a complain and the complain has not handled it was considered as “in progress” state. Today, if you have a customer complaining using social media you still have a “in progress” process instance, but unfortunately the data is not stored in your company system, thus it cannot be recorded and it cannot be mined.  If you take a snapshot of the processes with events logs with data that is missing, how can you analyze reality?

Processing power is always increasing and this was one of the factors that enabled hyperactivity and new information systems, but one thing is processing an event log with 800.000  lines with standard data, other is processing the very same 800.000 lines with documents and video because the enterprise system that is providing support to process execution allows you to use video chat and inside that video chat is import information you need to analyze.

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One thought on “A new challenge for Process Mining – Big Data

  1. Pingback: Process Mining must embrace complex adaptive systems « End to End BPM

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