Blog | Apr 27, 2020

Is Process Mining Critical to Businesses Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Knowledge is power. If process mining is not conducted immediately then workflows carried out by critical staff and/or critical systems may falter or fail during this epidemic and be difficult to sustain or recover due to a lack of actionable information.

I do not work for a Process Mining vendor. This is not in any way an advertisement for one. I am writing this blog to highlight what I think are serious gaps in most organization's Business Continuity planning and Crisis Management programs. I'm encouraging organizations to heed this warning and act now, before the window of opportunity closes for using these tools to proactively acquire critical process information. Act before business processes are compromised by the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, which could occur in as soon as a few weeks.

What is Process Mining?

Process Mining refers to techniques for collecting, analyzing and generating reports about business processes. Currently there are four key vendors in this space; Celonis, ABBYY Timeline, Signavio and FortressIQ. Each takes a slightly different approach to collecting data, but all can, to a certain degree, produce workflow reporting that enables an organization to gain understanding of end-to-end business processes. Normally a process mining tool would be deployed for two weeks or so in order to collect baseline information about an origination's process flows. I recommend a very rapid adoption with a collection cycle of only a couple of days in order to collect a baseline of information about critical business processes and crisis management reporting workflows.

Why organizations with critical business functions and crisis management programs need to deploy process mining ASAP

With the spread of COVID-19 at an exponential rate there is a probability that key workers, even if they were equipped to work remotely, will be unable to carry out their roles as they fall ill with the virus. They will not be able to launch or carry out other manual steps in critical business workflow or for crisis management reporting. With near certainty I believe that existing process and reporting documentation will have gaps regarding the current state of workflow. The reasons for the gaps are due to organic modifications in the organization since the last set of document was published, undocumented manual stets that key contributors make to processes and by the nature of crisis management, where new activity and reporting requirements have been discovered and created during the crisis, which have not been documented. Even if the gaps are small, they could hinder or halt critical business processes and reporting capabilities.

What to do with information from Process Mining

If rudimentary process mining is conducted against critical processes and staff an organization will be much better prepared to either plan to automation parts of their processes through Robotic Process Automation, so ensure that they will not be susceptible to being compromised by the virus. Alternately, an organization could use this information to build an updated business continuity plan that could equip other manual resources to continue supporting critical processes, such as Supply Chain and Risk Management, as well as crisis management data collection and reporting.

Whenever possible it is better to act proactively rather than reactively in operating and safeguarding your organization's business processes. Leveraging Process Mining tools could be a critical part of a proactive strategy.

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