Process Discovery vs Process Mining and Mapping | FortressIQ

Digital transformation can be a lot like constructing a highrise building. Starting off on a digital transformation journey can be easy, just as building the ground floor of a highrise can be easy, but the more floors you add, the more structural support you need and things quickly become complicated and can break down. Referencing a McKinsey study, a recent Forbes article, “Companies That Failed At Digital Transformation And What We Can Learn From Them,” declared that “a staggering 70% of digital transformation projects fail” because of roadblocks they encounter that cannot be overcome.

To achieve success you need a way to eliminate many of these roadblocks from popping up when you’re far down the path of a digital transformation project. One method is to gain a deep understanding of current state business operations. Various methods exist, and some are more detailed and accurate than others. So, let’s break it down.

There are 3 major methods used to gain a complete understanding of your current state that are in use today:

  1. Process Discovery
  2. Process Mining
  3. Process Mapping

 

Process Mapping

Process mapping is the human-side of establishing an ‘as-is-process.’ It’s usually performed by consultants and starts with manually measuring a business process against an organization’s larger vision to ensure that processes are aligned with a company’s core competencies, capabilities, and overarching values. Traditionally this has involved manual interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs) and is subjective based on the SME’s view of the process. Although it’s important to map out a high level process flow, at best, you capture only a couple different process iterations. And, apart from being highly subjective, it is resource intensive and expensive given the cost of consultants or business analysts to travel and perform interviews, as well as the time commitment for the SME. It can often take several weeks or months to produce results.

 

Process Mining

Process mining is a more modern method using technology to generate a high level view of a process in order to identify and examine bottlenecks. Mining tools also typically require a business analyst to label the data before algorithms can be applied. These solutions offer great visualizations of overall process timing and high level bottlenecks in the process, and work well in decoding the interactions within a single ERP system like SAP or Oracle. The biggest drawback with this approach is the need for access to log files. This method can be cost-prohibitive due to additional needs like building APIs to sync systems. It can also be much less accurate if the process involves applications such as Excel or email which do not produce log files; the actions performed by a user outside of what is in the logs are completely ignored, reducing overall process coverage.

 

Process Discovery

Taking an automated approach to process discovery is the latest generation of technology that takes a cognitive approach to learning a process. Digital process discovery uses computer vision — instead of system-generated logs — to observe and capture the process as it’s being executed by a user in real time. Using a highly scalable cloud-based platform, the data captured is translated into extremely granular time and motion studies from the processes discovered. This AI-driven approach is compatible with all systems and applications — including ERP, email, and web-based — with no integrations or APIs required. Because of the methods used in capturing the information, it delivers a 100% accurate depiction of processes and tasks. For example, you may have 40 users in a department executing the same task 35 different ways and digital process discovery can visualize these differences and calculate the length of time for each version. The insights gained from this level of detail can be used to rapidly accelerate digital transformation initiatives such as automation and RPA, process reengineering, and process documentation for compliance or auditing.

Overall, each method can compliment one another, and can be useful for digital transformation projects. However, digital process discovery offers the most complete solution and can add tremendous value by eliminating roadblocks that you may encounter on your digital transformation journey. For more information, check out our infographic on process discovery versus process mining.

Process Discovery and Automation are Value Drivers for Complementary Enterprise Solutions

Process Discovery is Essential for Automation

Enterprise organizations who are embracing new technologies such as process discovery and automation to achieve their transformation goals understand the value that these solutions bring in addressing digital challenges. Early adopters, in particular, who have overcome initial RPA deployment setbacks, and are now looking to more intelligent automation solutions understand the importance of process discovery and mining solutions and how necessary they are to maximizing the ROI of automation tools.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

Companies who have adopted these solutions for internal use should also consider how their own products and solutions could add additional value to their customers if they were process discovery and automation-friendly. This is especially relevant for software and IT services companies. The same challenge of scalable implementation encountered by companies internally when they were deploying automation will be faced by their customers as they too try to implement automation at scale.

Gartner recently published the February 2020 “Product Managers Must Use Hyperautomation to Enhance Offerings” report, which names FortressIQ as a robotic process discovery tool. According to Gartner, “within the last few years, many organizations have faced competition from digital “natives” and increasing pressure to cut costs. Automation is often key to addressing these challenges by increasing speed and efficiency while reducing costs, but the typical overly long response times from more traditional IT approaches are holding this back. Hyperautomation is about fixing these pent-up automation requirements at speed. Through excellent governance and planning by their product managers, vendors are thriving by aligning their products to this pent-up demand for quicker and more automation inside their customer organizations.” We believe that companies whose solution offerings can be configured to add increased value by complementing RPA and process tools can improve their customers’ experiences, increase ROI, and gain an advantage over competitors — a win-win.

Understanding Process Discovery 

In order for companies to tweak or adjust a product successfully, the product team needs to thoroughly understand the capabilities of the tools they’re trying to align with. FortressIQ is an enterprise platform that accelerates transformation with data-driven metrics on current state business operations. Using AI we discover, map, and document all processes and tasks executed by your workforce to deliver deep insights not achievable with other methods or tools. These insights enable companies to make better decisions about how to address complex initiatives such as automation.

Not all process discovery solutions are created equal. FortressIQ brings a cognitive, intelligent approach at enterprise scale. Our hyper-scalable solution can automatically create a rich, structured view of an organization in as little as a few weeks, with no integrations or APIs needed. As a result, automation initiatives can both scale and be extremely targeted. Additionally, the extremely granular and feature-rich data collected can be used to validate and test an organization’s overall transformation strategy.

To summarize, when companies producing enterprise software and IT services, automation vendors, and process discovery solutions all align to highlight the respective offerings, the customer wins.

Interested in learning more about cognitive process discovery from FortressIQ? Learn about our approach, or request a demo here.