Process Intelligence Exists!

Just recently, I found myself reading an article on my iPad, in the back of an Uber, listening to Spotify, while wondering if consumer technology was passing me by.  During the ride, my wife sent me a selfie on snap chat and offered to Venmo me for our Netflix subscription. I didn’t know whether to be excited or offended!

The article focused on recent technologies that have changed the world we live in – those that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. I will say without embarrassment I was only familiar with about 60% of them, but use most of those at least once a week, a few on a daily basis. What’s undeniable is  the common thread: they are extremely easy to use, they help make my life less complicated, and they cause me to wonder aloud, “How did folks get along without this stuff?”

This year marks over 20 years in the technology sector for me, mostly focused on technologies that I’m extremely passionate about – process improvement and business intelligence. (Did I just hear you say “How Sad”?) We’ve made incredible advancements, yes. But what keeps me juiced is the next big thing… and right now the next big thing is Process Intelligence.

I’m convinced that in the none-too-distant-future, we’ll be asking ourselves how we managed without it.  This article’s title is “Process Intelligence Exists!” Hasn’t it always? Of course, but it was hard to get those answers; being resource and time intensive, and very, very costly. So when I say “Process Intelligence Exists!” what I really mean is that thanks to the ongoing digitization of everything business, a technology has emerged that makes it’s much easier to use, and makes life less complicated. Sound familiar?

Our day to day lives’ are rife with – they are fundamental to how organizations operate. From a business standpoint, we are involved with hundreds of them every day, in every industry. It appears a foregone conclusion that our ability to more easily understand and analyze those interactions – past, present and future – presents significantly opportunity for improvement. For instance, how many of these questions can you easily answer today, with 100% confidence?

  • How do my processes work today? Do they always follow an expected path?
  • How much time, and how many steps does it take to ship an order once a payment is confirmed?
  • How many times did we ship an order before payment was processed?
  • What are the actual sequences of steps when resolving the customer’s complaint — and are they always followed?
  • How well do we follow a particular protocol? How many violations do we have, and who exactly is at fault?
  • Should I worry that somebody invited a surgical consult without preparing the fresh X-ray for review?(ok that one’s personal)

In my line of work, the term ‘Process Intelligence’ gets bandied about quite a bit in association various groups of technologies and methodologies.  As a professional in the field, I’ve remained skeptical – mostly due to over promises, and under delivery. I’ve long been a champion of  Business Intelligence, but its ability to understand step by step processes leaves a lot to be desired (believe me we tried!). Business Process Management solutions can do amazing things to improve – but rarely do they provide any real Intelligence into a full end to end process. Process Mining leaves me frustrated and wanting so much more – it barely scratches the surface of answering the “why” questions that true Process Intelligence should.  While all are powerful and useful, they do not rise to the level of Process Intelligence. To my mind, Process Intelligence is only possible when the technology addresses all three of these foundational capabilities:

Process Discovery – Automatic process understanding of each and every individual process flow, highlighting common process schemas as well as the various patterns of execution.

Process Query – In-depth Process Intelligence, Process Cost Analysis, Root Cause Analysis, Protocol Analysis, Workflow Analysis – and more…. I want to ask my process intelligence tool complex questions to highlight reasons for process inefficiency and compliance risks.

Process Monitoring – Ongoing Process Analysis, Historic Cohort Comparison & Automated Alerting – meaning that a company can stay on top of processes efficiency gains, avoiding backsliding.

So what’s the punchline here? It’s the headline!  We have the technology! We can now ensure process optimization projects rely on data-led, evidence-based methods. Once you are presented with business processes holistically and in depth, it’s far easier to zero in on the ones that have the biggest and deliver a compelling ROI. We no longer need to settle for suboptimal process understanding and visibility. The best news?  Like those other advancements that changed our life’s, these technologies are as easy to use as that selfie stick to take a picture in your Tesla and post it to Instagram.

Expect more from Process Intelligence. Come and see me at the Process Excellence Event in January – I will be at booth #4 with ABBYY Timeline – the “True” Process Intelligence company.

About the author

Joseph Rayfield is an accomplished business professional with a proven domestic and international track record of delivery in aggressive growth environments. Joe has an extensive background in technology – ranging from Data & Hosting networks through to Enterprise SaaS Software Solutions, most recently spending time focusing on Business Process and Business Intelligence solutions, providing value for Enterprise customers and partners. Joe has worked in senior management positions in EMEA, Asia Pacific and the US – currently focusing on Global Business Development for TimelinePI.

December 27, 2017