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Process Mining: Unraveling the Misconceptions of This Must-Know Innovation

Innovations in Process Mining have transformed the way companies are performing process discovery, monitoring, and improvement.

Introducing new technologies such as Process Mining often creates misconceptions about how a business can apply and benefit from its capabilities. At a high-level, Process Mining takes the output from information systems (such as SAP and Oracle) and turns it into a fact-based process visualization. This is part of the broader technology called Process Intelligence that includes Process Mining and Task Mining. It is important to understand the technology when weighing the pros and cons of implementing it in a business. The most common misconceptions faced by businesses interested in Process Mining are the time and cost to prove value, the Process Mining vendor capabilities, and finally, the best use cases for Process Mining. 

Misconception #1 

The first misconception is the time and costs associated with proving the value of Process Mining. Many interested businesses believe that Process Mining is too expensive, and the time required to get started and prove value is too long. The correct response is that there are several vendors and service offerings to choose from, and they provide a wide range of time and costs to verify the value of Process Mining before signing a large contract. Below are the details for three service offerings: Proof of Concept, Pilot, and Consulting Licenses (with more information on license costs and time estimations).  

Proof of Concept: 

A Proof of Concept (or POC) is a demonstration of Process Mining’s feasibility and will only deliver a snapshot of a process. Proof of Concepts are performed on small processes or limited scope using a limited amount of static data and require less time to complete. An example of a Proof of Concept is a process or scope of under two million cases. The average time for a Proof of Concept can range from a couple of days to three weeks, depending on the vendor and the complexity of the process. The licensing costs for a Proof of Concept are often heavily discounted and negotiated but will typically fall below $60,000 per process for a more complex Proof of Concept process. 

This option is recommended for businesses trying to test Process Mining’s benefits with a smaller operation or budget.  


A Pilot is a limited scope roll-out of the full Process Mining solution and will deliver most if not all the capabilities provided. Pilots are performed on small to medium-sized processes using connections to static data or live system connections depending on the vendor and often transition into production. Pilots may include additional advanced capabilities that the vendor might offer. An example of a Pilot is a process with two to ten million cases annually. The average time for a Pilot will be two to six weeks depending on the vendor and the complexity of the process. The licensing costs for a Pilot are also heavily discounted and negotiated. Still, they will typically fall between $30,000 and $80,000 per process, and depending on the vendor, this will include more capabilities than the proof of concept. 

This option is recommended for businesses with a strong use case looking to benefit from Process Mining’s capabilities. 

Consulting Licenses:  

Consulting Licenses are performed on any sized process but provide very limited access. The Consulting License option will reduce licensing costs but does not allow the business’s end business users and analysts to leverage Process Mining capabilities. Instead, they will receive the analysis from consultants. This will require engaging a consultancy, and the consultancy will dictate the price for services and project timeline. This method will be cheaper per process license, but the total price depends heavily on the consultancy selected. 

This option is recommended for businesses looking to perform a one-time process improvement analysis or need quick snapshots of the business.  

There are many options that make the price and time commitment to start the Process Mining journey very manageable. With several different vendors and price ranges, there is an option for every company with a use case.  


Misconception #2 

The second misconception around Process Mining is that vendors offer the same capabilities. Many Process Mining vendors have developed a strong capability to visualize or map processes to facilitate process improvement, but that is not the end of the capabilities. The market leaders and innovators are using advanced complementary capabilities to expand upon the benefit of Process Mining.  

Below there is a list of the top Process Mining capabilities provided by Gartner: 

  • End to end process mapping — Automated discovery of process models, exceptions, and process instances. 
  • Conformance checking and gap analysis — Capabilities to check conformance, not only graphically through overlays but also data analysis and gap analysis. 
  • Intelligent process model enhancement — Enhancing or extending existing process models using additional data from the recorded logs. 
  • Data preparation and data cleansing support, supporting big data — Different ways to handle data. 
  • Real-time dashboards — Real-time or near-real-time connections to continuously monitored and adapted KPIs in dashboards. 
  • Advanced analysis capabilities — Predictive analysis, prescriptive analysis, scenario testing, and simulation. 
  • Process Mining applications — Allows organizations and partners of the Process Mining vendors to create applications, such as financial auditing tools. 

It is important to realize that a Process Mining vendor’s capabilities range from a simple snapshot of a process map to a technology that will be used in day-to-day work at all levels, both providing strategic and operational capabilities. The capabilities provided by vendors will impact the implementation timeline above and the benefits that can be achieved from Process Mining.  


Misconception #3 

The third misconception is Process Mining is used only to discover automation opportunities. Many businesses assume that it falls in the same branch as automation and is limited to automation opportunities. Process Mining has proven to be valuable in many scenarios, and businesses looking to start their Process Mining journey should consider all of them to see the most benefit.  

Gartner lists the most common use cases as:   

  • Improving processes by algorithmic process discovery and analysis. 
  • Improving auditing and compliance by algorithmic process comparison, analysis, and validation of the entire population set. 
  • Improving process automation by discovering and validating automation opportunities. 
  • Supporting digital transformation by linking strategy to operations. 
  • Improving operations resource optimization by algorithmic IT process discovery and analysis. 

 As we can see above, two of the most common use cases were around process discovery and automation. The remaining opportunities range from enhancing auditing and compliance to optimizing resourcing. The primary takeaway is not to limit the possibilities of Process Mining to strictly two use cases. As Process Mining vendors implement new capabilities (listed under Misconception #2), additional use cases will emerge. For example, Process Mining can be enabled with process intelligence and prescriptive & predictive analytics, which may provide an opportunity for end-users to make better decisions — reducing rework and training time for positions.  


The Benefit of Overcoming Misconceptions 

Emerging technologies such as Process Mining will continue to change the way we do business, and the most informed businesses will see the most benefit. It is important to know there are Process Mining vendors with service offerings at many price levels and implementation timelines to fit different business and budget needs. Next, businesses that understand all the capabilities that Process Mining includes will make educated decisions when selecting a vendor for implementation. Finally, knowing that Process Mining is not limited to automation will allow businesses to create meaningful change outside of just process map visualizations. Ultimately, businesses that understand these misconceptions will be better prepared to take their first step forward to implementing this cutting-edge technology and realizing the immense benefits that Process Mining offers.  


Ready to get started with Process Mining?  

Main Digital can help. We have extensive experience guiding businesses through it from start to finish, such as evaluating the tools you’ll need and building the business case.    

Reach out today and tell us where you are in your Process Mining journey. 


About Main Digital

Main Digital is a consulting firm specializing in business process transformation and secure intelligent technology implementation. Through intelligent technologies, Main Digital focuses on building a future with clients where people do the things they are best at and technology handles the mundane and simple tasks for them. Follow us on LinkedIn.