Business Process Discovery and Automation: Here's All You Need to Know

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Business Process Discovery and Automation: Here's All You Need to Know

Despite businesses possessing extensive knowledge about the required processes, they often have no clue about the structure and integrity of these processes. This situation results in companies making suboptimal choices in process improvement and automation.

To prevent this, companies implement process discovery, which is a crucial technique to understand the complete picture concerning processes and their variations.

Process discovery provides businesses with accurate insights about the efficiency of the process and execution of appropriate actions for advancement. There exist several technology solutions to facilitate companies for process discovery.

Process Discovery - Definition

Process Discovery is a set of techniques and certain tools that help define, map, and evaluate the processes that drive an organization. BPD can either be conducted manually or via automation.

With process discovery, businesses can better understand their processes, gain knowledge of the less familiar process steps, and understand process variances. Such insights can help you identify complications, examples of minimum viable product and determine the best aspects of process improvement.

Process discovery tools operate based on machine learning, which helps them identify business processes, monitor and record deviations using ML algorithms, and make meaningful suggestions for automation. These tools can also design automation workflows, planning, mapping, and implementation swiftly and more efficiently.

How to discover processes?

Businesses benefit from raw event logs and obtain relevant data to realize their actual processes. Via cause-and-effect analysis, they can connect discrete events to develop process models that include their deviations. Process discovery follows these steps -

1. Extract data

Event logs, as well as performance metrics, are acquired from the business enterprise and departmental software systems.

2. Process and map events

The collected data is evaluated and mapped for each case from the event logs. In this step, the process deviations become evident. The variations typically occur due to manual alterations or errors in the process.

3. Congregate events to develop “as-is” processes

The generated process maps get combined and visualized to observe "who, what, when, and where” of each process variation, including the associated subprocesses.

These steps depict an example of process maps. Processes do not work as hoped in practical life. After running a business process discovery analysis, businesses realize how their “as-is” processes work. 

How does Business Process Discovery work?

A business process is the set of steps executed in your mundane work tasks that are performed to achieve the sought outcome. Business process discovery can streamline various processes in different industries and sectors such as HR, insurance, lending firms, and more.

Inefficiencies like poor service and degrading customer satisfaction, redundant expenditures, and plummeting employee morale are directly associated with poor coordination, measurement, and regulation of mundane tasks. These factors all make up the business processes.

 For instance, business process management can bring about considerable bottom-line and top-line impact for insurance firms.

BPM can achieve such a leap by promoting transparency for underwriting and policy administration. It helps efficiently align underwriting with the goals of the firm, facilitating swift decision-making.

Here's how business process discovery functions and streamlines mundane tasks for greater efficiency -

  • BPM establishes rule-driven decision-making and supports consistency in performance metrics.
  • BPM facilitates straight-through processing, which accelerates financial transactions.
  • By establishing a streamlined workflow, BPM promotes business user experiences which result in enhanced productivity and employee job satisfaction.
  • Besides regulating workplace mundane tasks, BPM also improves compliance with regulations.
  • Process discovery also helps build configurable underwriting systems to alleviate maintenance and support expenses.
  • BPM also promotes a firm's ability to issue policies, which leads to better customer and agent experiences.

Benefits of Automated Process Discovery

Automated Business Process Discovery (ABPD) is a wholly mechanized business process. The data gathered from the audit gets sorted and analyzed to determine process models.

ABPD process gives businesses a rational idea of their performance in various probable situations by examining existing data thoroughly.

Automation integrated into process discovery helps gather unstructured data and gains information from applications employed in business processes that comprise event logs, audit trails, databases, and transactions.

ABPD process further includes the utilization of this data to describe patterns and develop process definitions and models. An exhaustive analysis is feasible since the volume of data gathered and examined is enormous. It also helps identify underlying causes of problems, deviations from processes, and process distribution events.

Benefits of Business Process Discovery

Automated Process Discovery lets you aggregate, assimilate and evaluate process data to transform your mundane processing actions into insightful business operations. Here are some benefits rendered by process discovery in various domains -

1. Alleviated costs

By discovering actual processes, businesses can cut down variations and prevent errors that harbor redundant costs. Process discovery also lets organizations determine the best processes for automation, helping reduce costs in mundane tasks.

For instance, a process mining vendor reports that Vaisala, a Finnish company, has employed a process mining tool to identify the deviations in its operational processes, which include sales, technical support, as well as repairs.

As the company gained a better understanding of their operations, they enhanced their repair processes by ~59% depending on the product and reported a considerable reduction in operational expenses.

2. Enhanced Compliance

While auditing is a time-taking process, process discovery can truncate these processes by presenting all process variations. Besides, businesses can discover non-compliant deviations and execute action against such deterrents swiftly. 

Companies, on average, have observed a boost of 38% in compliance after implementing automation.

3. Better quality and performance

IT departments invest 30% of their time (Automation Anywhere) working out basic low-level tasks, which could be achieved seamlessly via automation. 

Process discovery automatically identifies, evaluates, and singles out tasks and priorities for automatable processes. This gesture yields greater accuracy and better understanding that ensures updated process workflows and boosted process optimization with no presumption or human bias.

4. Greater visibility

Process discovery establishes ownership visibility for individual and overall process steps across the company. Enterprises can set new routes and future automation opportunities effortlessly through business process mapping.

5. Enhanced scalability

With insights gained via process discovery, organizations can undertake wise decisions, for instance, which processes to automate next, thereby boosting the scalable processes.

RPA implementation involves data analysis, but it consumes substantial time if executed manually. According to Automation Everywhere, a typical rules-based process is 70%-80% automatable, rendering the need to manually operate tasks obsolete.

The need for Process Discovery

A 2020 survey by Deloitte concluded that 53% of their respondents had started implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in some form, and this percentage is set to become 72% by 2022. 

Process discovery documents and evaluates recurring user actions. It generates RPA bots to execute those actions automatically later, which paves the way for process automation. 

A scalable process in your business gets streamlined and receives a significant boost through process automation.

The traditional manual documentation approaches were time-consuming, inefficient, and financially taxing. Process discovery streamlines this -

  • It enables business users to log their activities.
  • Process analysts can gather and review records to determine future automation opportunities.
  • RPA managers can auto-create bots to finalize and harness information. 

1. Prioritization of automation opportunities

A report from Automated Everywhere claimed that employees set aside 10%-25% of their time on repetitive computer tasks.  

Automated Process Discovery tools determine and prioritize automation opportunities and observe the activities of several users first. Then they use pattern recognition technology to figure out processes and their repetitive steps. To effectively prioritize the tasks within these opportunities, it's essential to consider both the impact and the effort involved, ensuring that resources are allocated to maximize efficiency and outcomes.

Process discovery enables enterprises to mitigate RPA implementation timelines by a whopping 80%.

2. Seamless collaboration

Managers who perform or supervise end-to-end processes might not have a detailed view of overall performance. They might overlook minute details critical for identifying automation opportunities.

RPA developers are familiar with automation technology but lack in terms of process analysis. Process analysts have a general idea of boosting process information but lack the skills to exercise knowledge efficiently.

Process discovery promotes teamwork and allows different groups in a company to share information and produce a refined product.

3. Mapping of complex processes

As the mapping of complex processes takes place, the system utilizes inventory and by whom, and how gets logged. This critical information drives the technological needs of a company. Process discovery spots recurring issues and emphasizes specific areas of improvement. 

Final Words

With the elevating standards of various companies and their customers, it has become imperative to have a well-devised business process discovery approach. 

While BPD provides integrity in a firm, digitization has led to a surplus of data obtained from users. This scenario has brought in the need to automate manual process discovery tasks.

Companies are employing process modeling, process repositories, process simulation, workflow integration, automated reporting and other technologies to streamline tedious and repetitive tasks that are more susceptible to errors when executed manually. 

Suggested Case Study
Automating Portfolio Management for Westland Real Estate Group
The portfolio includes 14,000 units across all divisions across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Inland Empire.
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Pankaj Tripathi
Written by
Pankaj Tripathi

Helping enterprises capture data for analytics and decisioning

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