Tale of two stories - the productivity trap and the innovation dilemma when using Process Mining


As a person with financial background working in Business Administration, the value proposition using old methods can prove quite complex.

Let’s discuss productivity first - productivity is easily defined: same input with more output, or less input with same output. Unfortunately the requirements these days do include less input with more output. So in financial laymen terms: spend less but give me more, or just spend less and give me at least the same. This means that avoiding cost or process cost can NOT be used for business plans. It must be an actual cost reduction in the sense of cost out.

Thus comes the second challenge: if you want to innovate, everyone understands that you need to seed before you can harvest. But please, during the meantime, feed the family! Or in other words - you will get money and I trust you to make a positive impact, but in meantime where can I cut cost? So for innovation topics you would usually need a bad bank of actual cost drivers which you would need to optimize.

So it is often a lose-lose.

Thus let me propose a different approach which has proven very successful in our organization:

  • the financial savings are just a proof that we have done our homework, but they are not the goal. They are the proof, that we have achieved our goals.
  • The why of the value must be focused around people (organizations, teams, collaboration and governance models, etc.), not the technical implementation or phase out of tools
  • driving automation or avoiding rework is a necessary evil and first step, using process mining was creating a higher level of confidence and mitigating risk, the actual savings, change, etc. and thus impact is the consecutive step of action–> so automation itself does not drive savings, but it merely enables to have a confident situation about doing the next step
  • who needs to be confident to do the next step? the ones being affected, not always the ones who are responsible. If you think you can save XYZ FTE due to ABC million activities of an avoided rework activity, then let’s have this figure confirmed by the ones doing the work.
  • process mining will not give you the answer whether it is right or wrong, but it can help you asking the ultimate questions

So in case someone is asking: Yes, we are saving millions of EUR each year - not because of Process Mining. But because through Process Mining.