Intelligent process discovery: Vital to your automation journey

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By Marilyn Royce

We are living in a fast-paced business environment where organizations are constantly seeking ways to streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. One of the key strategies employed by businesses to achieve these goals is process automation. However, before embarking on an automation journey, it is essential to gain a deep understanding of existing business processes to identify areas that can benefit from automation. 

This is where intelligent process discovery plays a vital role. Let’s start exploring the concept of intelligent process discovery and its significance in driving successful automation initiatives.

What is Intelligent Process Discovery?

Intelligent process discovery (IPD) is a data-driven approach that leverages advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze and understand how business processes are executed within an organization. It involves capturing and analyzing large volumes of data from various sources, such as transaction logs, user interactions, and system events, to uncover hidden process patterns and variations. 

By using various components and incorporating the latest technologies, intelligent process discovery tools can identify the most common process flows and bottlenecks in an automated and efficient manner.

What are the key components of Intelligent process discovery?

IDP is a comprehensive approach that combines various components to uncover valuable insights about business processes that include:

1. Business Process Management (BPM)

Business Process Management involves the systematic management of an organization’s processes to achieve desired outcomes. BPM provides the foundation for process intelligence discovery by defining process models, documenting workflows, and identifying key performance indicators. It enables organizations to map out their existing processes and provides a framework for analyzing and improving them.

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation use of software robots or bots to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks. RPA plays a crucial role in intelligent process discovery by capturing and executing process steps, collecting data, and generating valuable insights. By leveraging RPA, organizations can automate manual tasks and streamline processes, freeing up resources for more value-added activities.

3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 

AI and ML algorithms analyze large volumes of data to identify process patterns, exceptions, and variations. These technologies enable organizations to gain insights into process flows, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies. AI and ML can also predict future outcomes and recommend process optimizations. By leveraging these technologies, organizations can make data-driven decisions and continuously improve their processes.

4. Integration

Integration plays a crucial role in intelligent process discovery by bringing together data from various sources. It involves integrating data from transaction logs, user interactions, system events, and other relevant sources into a unified view. Integration ensures that all process-related data is available for analysis, providing a holistic understanding of how processes are executed within the organization.

5. Interaction

Interaction refers to the capture and analysis of user interactions with systems and applications. This component involves monitoring user actions, clicks, keystrokes, and other interactions to understand how users navigate through processes. By analyzing user interactions, organizations can identify process variations, deviations, and user-driven workarounds. 

What is the process of Intelligent Process Discovery?

The typical process in the process intelligence discovery includes the following steps:

  • Data Collection: Relevant process data is collected from various sources, including transaction logs, system events, and user interactions.
  • Data Preprocessing: The collected data undergoes preprocessing and cleansing to ensure its quality and reliability. This step involves removing irrelevant data, handling missing values, and standardizing formats.
  • Process Mining and Analysis: Process mining techniques are applied to the preprocessed data to extract process-related information.  
  • Visualization and Reporting: The insights gained from process mining and analysis are visualized and reported in a meaningful way. 
  • Process Optimization and Automation: Based on the insights obtained, organizations can optimize and automate their processes.
  • Monitoring and Continuous Improvement: Continuous monitoring allows organizations to detect new process variations, identify emerging bottlenecks, and make necessary adjustments to optimize automation outcomes. 

The Importance of Intelligent Process Discovery in Automation

The rise in popularity using artificial intelligence technologies expands the possibilities for automating business processes and includes almost any scenario. Other reasons include:

  1. Process Visibility and Understanding

Process discovery solutions provide organizations with comprehensive visibility into their existing processes. It uncovers the actual paths followed by employees and systems, highlighting variations and exceptions that may exist. This visibility enables businesses to gain a clear understanding of their processes, including the steps involved, decision points, and the sequence of activities. Armed with this knowledge, organizations can make informed decisions about which processes are prime candidates for automation.

2. Process Optimization

Before automating a process, it is essential to optimize it for efficiency and effectiveness. Process discovery solutions help identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and unnecessary steps in a process. By analyzing the data collected, organizations can pinpoint areas for improvement and streamline the process flow. This optimization step is crucial as automating a poorly designed process may lead to suboptimal results or even amplify existing inefficiencies.

3. Automation Potential Assessment

Intelligent process discovery plays a pivotal role in assessing the automation potential of different processes. By analyzing the complexity, frequency, and standardization level of a process, organizations can determine which processes are best suited for automation. For instance, highly repetitive and rule-based processes are excellent candidates for automation, while processes requiring a high degree of human judgment may be better suited for partial automation or manual handling. 

4. Risk Identification and Mitigation

Intelligent process discovery (IPD) not only uncovers process inefficiencies but also helps identify potential risks and compliance issues. By analyzing process data, organizations can detect patterns of non-compliance, fraud, or errors that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. This early detection enables proactive measures to be implemented to mitigate risks, improve compliance, and enhance overall process control.  

5. Continuous Improvement and Adaptability

Business processes are not static; they evolve and change over time due to factors such as market dynamics, regulatory updates, or technological advancements. Process discovery solutions facilitate continuous process improvement by providing organizations with real-time insights into process performance.  

Intelligent process discovery (IPD) serves as a critical enabler for successful automation journeys. It equips organizations with the knowledge needed to drive effective process automation initiatives. Embracing this data-driven approach with intelligent process discovery tools such as AssistEdge will not only enhance process efficiency but also enable organizations to stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.