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Process Mining & Robotic Process Automation (Part 2)

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April 6, 2022 | Academy, Digitalization

Simple Steps to sustainable success

The technologies of Process Mining and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) efficiently and purposefully support the advancement of digitalization and automation in the company. They help to analyze, understand, improve, and automate processes where possible, ultimately increasing value creation.

The following (project) procedure has already proven itself many times in practice for the development of concrete potentials through a process mining project.

Measure, Focus, Act

Initiation

Clarifying and identifying key interests and stakeholders is the cornerstone of successful project implementation. Economic as well as technical and ecological aspects can be taken into account. The roadmap for value realization is defined and made visible by means of a dashboard. The scope of the required project resources should not be underestimated.

Set-up

The foundation for all further steps is the creation of data models. By establishing a real-time connection to the company’s source systems, all data in the company can be used to develop an event log. Process mining “digs through” all the data that accumulates in an company system as processes are running. These are usually databases and files from company information systems or ERP systems.

Analysis

The obtained data is then evaluated. To achieve this, corresponding analyses are carried out. Process experts validate the data and analyses, identify weaknesses and “waste” in the process (execution gaps). So-called execution instruments (e.g. order-to-cash, accounts payable, accounts receivable, lead-to-order, etc.) can be used.

Implementation

During implementation, the main focus is on eliminating the identified weaknesses and training employees in the new processes and in the use of dashboards. Accompanying and coaching employees should be done with the utmost care, especially to reduce their fears of not keeping up with new technologies and advancing digitalization. These fears are often triggered by the unknown rather than the possibility of their own failure. Many employees are more satisfied and productive after the introduction of new technologies, as they are supported and relieved in their work by the automated processes.

Handover

Even after successful optimization and automation, the processes continue to be monitored and documented. Dashboards are used to visualize the data in real time. By doing so, they contribute to the further development of the organization. The handover phase serves to transfer the project into day-to-day operations.

Process mining in combination with other, more advanced applications – e. g. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Process mining can be used together with other optimization tools and methods, especially AI and machine learning, automation/RPA and task mining. The combination of these tools opens up whole new opportunities for improvement and maximizes results.

With the insights gained through process mining, the stage is set for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). By evaluating the processes and optimizing them, robot technology can now be used efficiently and in a targeted manner. In-depth process knowledge is therefore essential for the successful use of RPA.

Whether and to what extent a process is suitable for automation depends on a number of factors, but process mining is a good way to clarify them.

Analysis of the various process characteristics, such as

  • homogeneity (number of variants),
  • conformity (compliance with standards) and
  • frequency,

provides initial indications. Individual consideration of processes or sub-processes leads to pre-selection regarding in which processes it is reasonable to implement “robots”.

The transparency gained is then filtered for economic benefit to get the deployment of robot-based automation off the ground. For example, an operation that can be carried out very easily by a robot, but which occurs only rarely, is eliminated (at the latest) when the profitability is examined. There are also operations that occur more frequently, but whose automation would hardly improve capacity and costs. Here, too, the use of robot-based processes is discouraged according to return on investment (ROI) considerations.

With the help of process mining technology, an internal IT competence team or external consultants, the most profitable solution can be found for each company and each process. With the selection of the right processes and activities, RPA in combination with process mining can ensure higher value creation, reduced costs and thus more profit for the company.

Author:

Dr. Christian Kubik
Senior Expert
STAUFEN.INOVA

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