Tracy Keeling
Tracy Keeling (CIO Advisor)

Marc Dowd, Executive Partner from the IDC Executive Advisory service opened the call by thanking everyone for joining and with some of the Analyst Industry report data. Using extensive research IDC predicts that companies which use process mining tools will be 20% more profitable than their peers who do not use these tools. 

Evidence shows that 74% of organizations which start a process mining project are successful with the implementation.

Lessons Learnt

One leader felt that business tend to love business process mining tools or not use them at all. He said that he had used process mining to get ready for new ERP. 

He found that old ERP system is not a good way to figure out actual processes as this was fine where you had an end-to-end process in a single system, but this became more complex outside of this theoretical view. He hopes that these tools will help figure out actual processes.

Another attendee told the team about a BPM deployment they had begun 4 years ago. He was skeptical of the business benefits of these tools. His organisation found that these tools were too labour intensive to use to accurately define processes. 

The eventual outcome was where the business decided to drop BP tools– but use SAP instead to establish same processes, and procedures.

Marc thanked the attendees for their honesty on successes as well as less successful initiatives as a learning point for the others on the call as these lessons were invaluable.

Success with Process Modelling and ERP

Another attendee spoke about how he had used these business modelling tools for 10 years. The process had started with the idea of moving from internal development systems to SAP and the tools they implemented were to clean up processes taking 5 years of work to clean up business processes in a continuous improvement cycle. 

The CIO spoke of how they worked through but didn’t finish before SAP was introduced. Now after the fact, they are still trying to clean up processes which means they have implemented some of these which are sub optimal into their new ERP system. 

Marc asked about which process intel models the attendees had used. SAP Signavio solutions, which states it “can help you quickly empower your organization with business process transformation” had been used to mine SAP processes but people had issues where the process extended outside the SAP system. 

Managing Non-standard Apps and Processes

Marc opened the floor for the leaders to ask each other for help. One asked, how do you measure how custom developed apps and forms are used?

I Keeling, another IDC Executive Partner, explained that there are a number of tools and techniques available, but the fallback can always be basic manual process mapping and optimization and data flows are a good validation that you have captured everything.

BPM uses

Marc asked the audience, whether you need to model all your processes and how to know what should be modelled? 

A participant commented that they were pitched BPM tools to audit their systems as they needed to know how many issues were being handled as exceptions, rather than as normal processes and therefore costing the business money. They then asked, what is value that people get out of these tools?

Another Digital leader replied they had used business process mapping with ERP systems implemented 20 years ago to find out what parts of system/data was actually still being used by the business and remove redundancy to clean up the system.

Another said it was pitched to the board as a tool to help to find value destroyers and optimize.

The Executive Partners from IDC discussed how combining BPM with AI with automation tools could be used to track SLAs and trigger action.

Rolling out BPM

Some of the CIO’s said they have created a Centre of Excellence around processes within their business which had been successful.

I brought her experience as an ex-CIO to the proceedings and spoke about how she has done BPM using a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt to process map with alternative methods. She did not choose a blanket approach but looked for immediate value and savings. 

In both cases, she has used different approaches to look at ‘procure to pay’, ‘order to cash’ as the first key areas as well as with the data flow for GDPR which has given a good grounding in processes optimization. “For peripheral areas, we asked do we need to have all of these processes. Once we can see them, we can evaluate them” she said. 

It took a few years to work through the key processes across other areas, but reduced wait times, improved SLAs and got great results.

Another CIO agreed. He stated, “We focus on key processes – cash in, cash out, or in operations heavy organization. The focus on key processes is save time/money. He felt that if you try to model all processes, you get lost in the detail. They were now trying to use RPA and UI Path, feeling that maybe process modelling will help the automation.

Different Models

One CIO told us that in their experience with companies, one team is modelling, a different team is working to improve the processes. This didn’t work as well as one team working end-to-end.  

It was also felt that using process tools to help with IT governance to help with business cases for new technology allows you to measure demand better, but this had not been used extensively.

Shaping the Future

Marc posed a question to the leaders, “Is process mining a prerequisite for advanced tech like AI, virtual reality, etc?” 

Another leader said that if we can find a model, all apps become connected, we have a full flow of processes, a full landscape, that will be the main model and we will be able to use it rather than spending time on documentation. He felt it would probably be used more to workflow applications and will control many of the systems in the future, in real time.

Marc commented that while many companies want to automate processes and decisions but often, trust in the data is lacking. The closer you are to a process and related data, the less trust you have in the data, something the IDC Advisory team have worked through with a number of clients based on industry reports.

Marc stated that maybe we are the last generation of leaders who make decisions without data before the processes are fully available and data is available at every point as industries move closer to industries such as manufacturing.

More in Depth Knowledge

A rhetorical question was asked by the audience; how are companies high in the S curve doing? What are they doing in terms of process mining?

Marc mentioned that IDC research with vendors indicates that some process tools will soon be able to write code themselves or make suggestions around optimization based on AI in the near future

Questions were also asked about how process automation and task automation fit in with process mining. It was mooted that a “360 degree” Master Class to look at the best practices in leading companies bringing together knowledge from an Advisory, Analyst, CIO, Business and IT leader perspectives could be planned for 2024 if there is appropriate interest from the Digital Leadership Community. 

I and Marc thanked everyone for their attendance and candid “Chatham House rule” protected discussions and the shared value they bring.

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