Process mining reinvented - why a consumer-grade user experience is a must have

Vaishnavi Sashikanth Profile picture for user Vaishnavi Sashikanth March 20, 2023
For process mining software to become the next essential business system, Product and Engineering teams must reinvent the user experience, says Vaishnavi Sashikanth, Chief Engineering Officer at Celonis.

Business success bridge as an industry strategy and economic solution concept connecting two divided paths to join together as a symbol of economy integration with 3D render elements © Lightspring - Shutterstock
(© Lightspring - Shutterstock)

Process mining software is poised to become the trusted, daily digital assistant for every business. For it to take the final step however, we must bring the power of it to find and capture value to everyone in the business, and to do that we must reinvent process mining.

In an earlier article, I wrote about how process mining is being reinvented to deliver an end-to-end map of your business. Through a new approach called object-centric process mining (OCPM), we can produce process models that more accurately reflect the interconnectedness of modern business operations. With these object-centric models, we can visualize the complex relationships between objects as they flow through a single process and even see how multiple processes interact with each other. Analysis that isn’t possible with traditional process mining.

OCPM makes process mining more powerful, but that power is only useful if it can be effectively used. For process mining to be the platform that drives performance excellence, we must put the technology in the hands of people across the organization.

Process mining must go from enterprise app to essential solution

For too long, process mining vendors built products that were designed more for IT professionals and data analysts than the non-technical business decision makers who can make actual process improvements. We must change this. We must democratize process mining with a user experience (UX) that enables everyone in the business to analyze and optimize processes right out of the box.

The ubiquitous business systems we use every day (email, word processors, spreadsheets, presentations, internet search) all followed this same tried and true path. They went from complex applications used by a few to simple apps used by almost everyone. And in doing so, these applications drove productivity gains across the organization and society in general.

Process mining technology has the same if not greater potential to improve organizational efficiency and drive business sustainability and in turn promote a more sustainable society.

Building essential apps means building bridges

Building enterprise apps that become essential for every user is no small feat. Successful software, business or consumer, must be powerful, scalable, responsive, secure and provide real value. However, these back-end characteristics often go unnoticed by the end user or are lumped together into a general feeling of “the app works pretty well.”  Running smoothly is just table stakes. As my colleague Bill Detwiler wrote, today’s users expect their corporate invoicing system to be as easy-to-use as a ride hailing app.

So the question isn’t why, but how. How do you build enterprise software at consumer scale, and in doing so ensure the broad adoption of process mining? It starts by listening to the customer.

During my career, I’ve worked in both the consumer space, at YouTube with Google, and the enterprise space, at Hyperion, Oracle and now Celonis. Whether you’re building software for enterprise users or consumers, success depends on understanding where your customers are coming from. That’s why I’ve always stressed the importance of building bridges between engineers and customers.

When engineers connect with their users, they learn what makes the customer successful, which in turn gets the creative juices flowing and enables innovation as they work to drive more delight with the install base. This is what my team and I are working on at Celonis. We’re reimagining the process mining experience and making the technology more accessible for everyone.

Reinventing the process mining user experience

At Celonis, we’re obsessed with understanding who our customers are, the work they are doing and the problems they are trying to solve. From the data analyst or process specialist to the line of business leader or executive, we’re building a user interface (UI) that flows naturally and guides each persona through what they’re trying to accomplish. The UI we’re building isn’t just a boatload of features, but a series of guided journeys. We call this new version of process mining, Business Miner™.

Business Miner is a new capability of Celonis EMS that enables non-technical business users to discover actionable process insights through a unique question-and-answer-based interface. Insights in hand, the interface allows users to share them with others within the organization and collaborate on and discuss them directly within Celonis. Additionally, new users are guided through a streamlined onboarding process. 

Here’s what this looks like in the real world. While looking at your company’s accounts payable process, Business Miner could present your newly onboarded Head of AP with questions, such as: “What is the breakdown of payments in early, late, and on-time?” Curated visuals would then guide them to key insights and suggest follow-up questions, such as: “What is the root-cause of my late payments?” Your Head of AP could then share these process insights and discuss them with their team directly within Celonis.

Without Business Miner, process exploration like this would require the work of an analyst and often code, such as Celonis PQL. Likewise, collaborating on the process insights would often mean jumping out of Celonis and sending screenshots through email or your corporate messaging app.

This more powerful, more accessible process mining user experience isn’t just theoretical. Companies are already using it to drive value. Alex Moro, Head of Process Re-engineering and Advanced Design at HSBC, says: 

We see Celonis as a critical platform to drive business performance at HSBC. Removing the barrier to entry for non-technical users with Business Miner will help us better realize the value of Celonis EMS.

Now imagine if every single process and every single business ran a bit more efficiently. That can create more sustainable businesses and in turn a more sustainable world. As I’ve said before, processes can save the world.

A grey colored placeholder image