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Process Mining at Veco — Process Mining Camp 2017

Process Mining Camp is just one week away. All tickets are sold out by now and we look forward to welcoming all of you in Eindhoven very soon! If you were planning to come but have not registered yet, you can get on the waiting list here and we will let you know if a spot opens up.

To get ready for camp, we are releasing the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Remco Bunder and Jacco Vogelsang from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways), Sebastiaan van Rijsbergen from Nationale Nederlanden, Wilco Brouwers and Dave Jansen from CZ, Gijs Jansen from Essent, and Roel Blankers and Wesley Wiertz from VGZ.

The final speaker at Process Mining Camp 2017 was Mick Langeberg from Veco. Veco is a precision metal manufacturer and Mick is a supply chain manager. With process mining, Mick found a technique to radically accelerate the New Product Development cycle and convert this to an opportunity for faster growth.

Veco had started using process mining three years ago as an addition to their Lean Six Sigma methodology, which helped them to reduce the lead time of production orders significantly. However, you often see that when you solve one problem, you uncover another.

As part of their growth strategy, Veco wanted to expand to new and existing customers outside of their existing part portfolio. When customers request a new product that they have not ordered before (so, it does not yet exist in the product catalogue), additional steps take place in the sales process: A sample first needs to be engineered, produced, and shipped to the customers before larger quantities are ordered.

To be able to close new deals quickly, Veco has the ambition to produce and deliver these samples within 15 days. However, by extracting data from the CRM and ERP system and analyzing it with process mining, they saw that it in fact took on average 52 days to deliver the samples to the customers. The longer the sample production process takes, the higher the risk that they may be losing these orders to the competition.

To understand the root cause of the delays, Mick and his team identified a new process ‘From Engineering to Order’ that was not managed before. In contrast to the production process of their regular catalogue parts, these sample parts required the involvement of the engineering department before they could be produced.

By involving members from both engineering and production, a “fast lane” was created for the engineering and production of these samples to speed up the ‘Engineering to Order’ process. By experimenting with this new process for a few weeks they were able to get “jaw-dropping” results. Within weeks, the director gave them the green light to implement this new way of working as the standard process, paving the way for future growth.

Do you want to learn more about how Veco discovered and improved their New Product Development process? Watch Mick’s talk now!

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Process Mining at VGZ — Process Mining Camp 2017

Process Mining Camp is less two weeks away and there are just a tiny number of tickets left. So, if you want to come, you should reserve your seat now!

To get ready for this year’s camp, we have started releasing the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Remco Bunder and Jacco Vogelsang from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways), Sebastiaan van Rijsbergen from Nationale Nederlanden, Wilco Brouwers and Dave Jansen from CZ, and Gijs Jansen from Essent.

The fifth talk at Process Mining Camp was from Roel Blankers and Wesley Wiertz from VGZ. The health insurance cooperation VGZ is using operational visual management to track process performance every day. Lean has been adopted as the problem-solving methodology.

However, it took Roel a lot of time to map the existing processes during brown paper sessions before they were able to understand the real problem. When they analyzed the non-routine dental care claims process they decided to try a different approach: Process mining.

After extracting and preparing the data, they discovered that this process took 28 days to complete. In the discovered process maps they could see that a lot of the requests were being forwarded from the administrative teams to the medical advisors. Just by sharing the discovered process and asking why these claims needed to be forwarded to advisors, they found that a lot of these cases could actually be handled by the administrative teams. Therefore, it was proposed to set up an experiment to transfer the knowledge between the medical advisors and the administrative teams. Using process mining, they were able to validate that this new approach has in fact improved the lead time by almost 40%.

With process mining they were able to identify the problem quickly. They got a fact-based insight, which prevented them from jumping to conclusions. Process mining is a great addition to the Lean toolbox and a fun way to collaborate with domain experts to find opportunities to improve.

Do you want to learn from the best practices from VGZ to extend your Lean toolbox with process mining? Watch Roel and Wesley’s talk now!

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Process Mining at Essent — Process Mining Camp 2017

Process Mining Camp is just two weeks away! Take a look at the speakers and workshops and get your ticket here. We are already down to the last few remaining tickets, so if you are thinking about coming to camp, now is the time to make your move!

To get ready for this year’s camp, we have started releasing the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Remco Bunder and Jacco Vogelsang from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways), Sebastiaan van Rijsbergen from Nationale Nederlanden, and Wilco Brouwers and Dave Jansen from CZ.

The fourth speaker at Process Mining Camp 2017 was Gijs Jansen from Essent, a large energy supplier in the Netherlands. Gijs Jansen is a business intelligence specialist and one day he was asked to calculate the “snake plot” and “ping-pong factor” for the process of becoming and being a customer. He had no clue how to approach this, but he was eager to solve this problem.

The business intelligence department is responsible to report Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for these processes. However, reporting a “snake plot” was something different compared to the existing reports they delivered. It required a deeper insight into how the customer passed though the different departments and the number of times each department touched each request.

A colleague suggested that he could try process mining. Gijs first started a small process mining project to analyse the credit insurance process. It was a simple process that was expected to be automated for most cases. However, the process mining results showed the contrary: Gijs found that disputes on contracts required a manual intervention for many cases.

This experience gave him the confidence to attack the “snake plot” and “ping-pong factor” problem. It took some effort but Gijs was able to extract the data for the customer process and transform it into the right process mining format. He then analyzed the process maps and saw how each customer request was handled, which departments were involved, and how often each request was touched by which employee. This resulted into a new set of KPIs that were discussed monthly to reduce the lead time and to limit the number of touches.

Do you want to learn about to the full process mining journey that Gijs went through at Essent? Watch Gijs’ talk now!

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Process Mining at CZ — Process Mining Camp 2017

Process Mining Camp is less than three weeks away! Take a look at the speakers and workshops and get your ticket here.

While we are all waiting for camp day to roll around, we are releasing the videos from last year’s camp. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Remco Bunder and Jacco Vogelsang from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) and Sebastiaan van Rijsbergen from Nationale Nederlanden.

The third speakers at Process Mining Camp 2017 were Wilco Brouwers and Dave Jansen from CZ. They shared their process mining experience as IT auditors. Also auditors see that the digital transformation is slowly impacting their way of working. Dave and Wilco believe that data analysis skills will become increasingly important for future IT auditors – not only to be more efficient, but also to be more effective.

As the frontrunners within their team, Wilco and Dave have developed a new approach for auditing their digital processes of the future. Process mining plays an important role in this new auditing approach. With concrete examples, they showed where they see differences compared to the traditional audit approach in the preparation, fieldwork, reporting, and follow-up steps in their audits.

Do you want to learn how you can innovate your own audit practice? Watch Wilco and Dave’s talk now!

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Process Mining at Nationale Nederlanden — Process Mining Camp 2017

Process Mining Camp is just three weeks away! Take a look at our speaker lineup and workshops and get your ticket here.

We have started to release the videos from last year’s camp so that we can all relive the experience. If you have missed the video of Remco Bunder and Jacco Vogelsang from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways), you can watch it here.

The second speaker at Process Mining Camp 2017 was project and change manager Sebastiaan van Rijsbergen from Nationale Nederlanden. As one of the largest financial service providers in the Netherlands, Nationale Nederlanden needs to accelerate the digital transformation to remain competitive.

Sebastiaan knows how to start something new and, step by step, impact the whole organization. From his process mining journey we can learn how involving multi-disciplinary teams, an iterative approach, and data governance are critical to scale up your process mining success.

Introducing process mining in an organization is often a bumpy road and requires you to power trough the “valley of despair” in the change curve. For example, process mining makes things more transparent than some people are comfortable with and Sebastiaan received quite some pushback from certain people in the company. However, one of the magical moments in Sebastiaan’s process mining journey was when these very same people came back to him later on and told him that, in fact, process mining had brought peace into a discussion that had been heated with opinions and conflict before.

Do you want to know what process mining challenges Sebastiaan faced and how he resolved them? Watch Sebastiaan’s talk now!

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Two More Speakers at Process Mining Camp 2018!

Are you coming to Process Mining Camp on 19 and 20 June this year? Tickets are going fast and some of the workshops have already sold out. So, if you have not registered yet make sure to sign up now.

Today, we are excited to announce two additional speakers for this year’s Process Mining Camp!

Wim Kouwenhoven from the City of Amsterdam will share how process mining has helped him in his role as a program manager and Wil van der Aalst will talk about the new skill set for process and data scientists in his closing keynote.

Take a look at the full camp program here.

Practice Talk by Wim Kouwenhoven — City of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is well-known as the capital of the Netherlands. The city itself has a population of more than 850,000, with about 1.5 million people living in the entire Amsterdam city region. The municipality is responsible for defining and enforcing local policies regarding areas like poverty, taxes, sports, parking, and many more.

Wim Kouwenhoven is a program manager for the financial function of the municipiality. Change management often plays a major role in the programs he is involved in. This was also the case with the introduction of process mining. Wim will share the change traits that were critical for them to get most out of their process mining projects, so that they could actually improve the financial function and get the city of Amsterdam on the move.

Closing Keynote by Wil van der Aalst — RWTH Aachen University, Germany

With innovation and research continuously advancing, professionals are under pressure to expand their knowledge and keep up. BPM practitioners, for instance, need to apply a more data-driven approach when analyzing processes. The same applies to Lean Six Sigma professionals, IT Auditors, Business Analysts, etc. Meanwhile, data scientists are often still focused too much on flat data rather than behavioral data. Process-oriented data analysis techniques like process mining can help both groups to bridge the gap to analyze processes based on data. Moreover, ethics and privacy questions need to be addressed with an ever-increasing urgency.

What are the skills that old and new professionals need to develop today to be ready for the new data science economy? Wil’s keynote will give you an overview about the spectrum of skills needed, and tell you how you can develop yourself further in these areas.

Wil van der Aalst is the founding father of process mining. He started to work on “workflow mining”, as it used to be called, way back when nobody even thought the necessary data existed. As a full professor at RWTH Aachen University, Wil has supervised countless PhD and Master students on the topic and is head of the IEEE Task Force on Process Mining. He is the author of the book “Process Mining: Data Science in Action” and the creator of the popular Process Mining MOOC.

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Process Mining at The Dutch Railways — Process Mining Camp 2017

Are you getting ready for this year’s Process Mining Camp? If you haven’t registered yet, make sure to secure your ticket for 19 and 20 June now!

To get us all into the proper camp spirit, we will be releasing the videos from last year’s camp over the coming weeks. The first speakers at Process Mining Camp 2017 were Remco Bunder and Jacco Vogelsang, two pioneering information analysts at Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways). Remco and Jacco had joined camp in 2016 and got inspired by the talk of Paul Kooij. As innovators, they were eager to get started and find a good use case to show the value of process mining within their organisation. But where to start and how to do it?

They decided to simply apply process mining on every dataset they could put their hands on. By doing this, they gained knowledge and experience and started making unexpected observations. One of the first experiments was to track the OV-Bike (a bike rental service) from ‘rented’ to ‘return’. They saw that a lot of the bikes seemed to be reported as stolen upon return. This was unexpected and further investigation revealed that many of the bikes got reported as stolen because the ‘report stolen’ button was too close to the ‘return’ button. This minor mistake lead to the ordering of too many new bikes.

Eager to find more, they started looking at how the lockers at the stations were being used. Especially if lockers are abandoned for more than 94 hours, it was required to check the locker and empty the content out of the locker. With process mining they were able to show that it would be better to wait an additional 48 hours before emptying the locker.

They continued to analyse even more complex processes such as the reporting and resolution of broken windows, escalators, elevators, etc. by benchmarking the quality and efficiency of resolving these failures for different channels, stations, and vendors. The experiments from Remco and Jacco are a fantastic example of how enthusiasm and persistence can help you grow from a process mining novice to achieving great results within just 1 year.

Do you want to start experimenting with process mining within your organisation? Watch Remco’s and Jacco’s talk now!

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If you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.

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Process Mining Camp 2018 — Get Your Ticket Now!

Have you always wanted to meet other process miners in person? Perhaps you followed the MOOC and would like to share your experiences with people who are also just starting out. Or you have already worked with process mining for several years and now you want to learn from other organizations about how they made the next step?

Get your ticket for Process Mining Camp on 19 & 20 June now!

For the seventh time, process mining enthusiasts from all around the world are going to come together in the birth place of process mining1. Last year, more than 220 people from 24 different countries came to camp to listen to their peers, share their ideas and experiences, and make new friends in the global process mining community.

Like last year, this year’s Process Mining Camp will run for two days:

Day 1: Practice Talks on 19 June

The first day (Tue 19 June) will be a day full of inspiring practice talks from different companies, as you have seen at previous camps.

While we are still putting the finishing touches on this year’s camp program, we are excited to share with you the first five speakers for our practice talks:

Fran Batchelor — UW Health, United States

UW Health is a large academic medical center associated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison located in Midwestern United States. More than 600,000 patients are served annually at 7 hospitals and 87 outpatient clinics.

Fran Batchelor is a Nursing Informatics Specialist at UW Health supporting surgical services at 3 of its hospitals. Fran will share the challenges and successes of introducing process mining to UW Health. She will also demonstrate how process mining was used to analyze the flow of urgent and emergent surgical cases added to the schedule and how this technology provided a new way of using the data.

Niyi Ogunbiyi — Deutsche Bank, United Kingdom

Deutsche Bank is Germany’s leading bank with a strong presence in Europe and significant presence in Americas & Asia Pacific.

Niyi Ogunbiyi is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt in the Chief Regulatory Office (CRegO) Operational Excellence Team. In his talk, he discusses how the bank has fared in its process mining journey and which lessons they have learnt along the way. One of the things he will show is how they balanced the exploratory and the targeted parts of their process mining analyses.

Marc Tollens — KLM, The Netherlands

Founded in 1919, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the oldest scheduled airline in the world still operating under its original name. In 2016, the KLM Group operated worldwide flights with over 200 aircraft, generating €10 billion in revenue and employing 32.000 staff from its Amsterdam basis.

Marc Tollens is a digital product owner. He leads the development teams to develop online services to create an optimal journey for their customers. In his talk Marc will share how he used process mining to help his teams to learn how to get the most out of each sprint.

Dinesh Das — Microsoft, United States

Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Dinesh Das is the Data Science manager in Microsoft’s Core Services Engineering and Operations organization. The converge of digital technologies with machine learning and cognitive solutions gives him the opportunity to reimagine everything every day. He believes that process mining can be a silver bullet to accelerate the digital transformation and is passionate to share his experience.

Olga Gazina — Euroclear, Belgium

Euroclear is one of the largest Financial Market Infrastructure providers in the world. Many of Euroclear’s business processes rely on sophisticated IT services developing a large variety of reliable, scalable, and secured solutions.

Olga Gazina is working for the Internal Audit department as a Data Analyst. With the goal to make internal controls more efficient, she has applied process mining to the code testing process of the Component and Data Management IT division. Olga will share the main steps of dealing with complex data and tips for finding the most useful angles from which the process should be looked at.

Day 2: Workshops on 20 June

On the second day (Wed 20 June), we will have a hands-on workshop day. Here, smaller groups of participants will get the chance to dive into various process mining topics in depth, guided by an experienced expert.

Participation in workshops is of course optional, but if you want to hone your craft and focus on your topic of choice with a group of like-minded process miners, you will fit right in! The workshops take place in the morning and all four workshops will run in parallel (so you need to pick one).

You can choose between the following four workshops:

Workshop 1 · How can I use process mining in my internal control system?

Marc Gittler & Patrick Greifzu, Deutsche Post DHL Group

The benefits of process mining during internal control and compliance audits have been discussed often in recent days. The main objective of these reviews is to get an overview of high-risk processes and to identify gaps within the internal control system. In the past, traditional data analysis techniques did not produce sufficient results, because they are time-consuming, technically challenging, and not free of bias.

During this workshop, you will have the opportunity to get in touch with experienced auditors, which have used data analytics and process mining techniques for different use cases. You will get an overview of the different phases of an audit process and how process mining will fit in these phases, from preparation to reporting. It does not matter if you work as an auditor, compliance officer, or risk manager — Process mining can be used by all control units (1st to 3rd line of defense) within a company to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the internal control system.

Marc and Patrick have over ten years of experience as auditors. Before they joined Deutsche Post DHL Group Audit, they worked as auditors in the banking sector. During that time, they applied data analytics and process mining techniques to make their audit work more efficient and target-oriented, especially for operational postal processes, to reduce the risk of losing revenue.

Workshop 2 · How can I prepare bigger data sets for process mining?

Eddy van der Geest, Tata Steel

Preparing your data for process mining can be a complex and time-consuming task. Especially when the data size exceeds the capacity of your beloved Excel application, you need to find other ways to transform your data in the right format for process mining.

ETL (Extract Transform Load) tools make it possible to combine and transform large data sets without any programming skills. In this workshop, you will learn how to perform some common data transformation tasks for process mining with an ETL tool. We will use the data analysis tool KNIME for the hands-on exercises. Even if you are not too tech savvy, you will see that you can prepare your data yourself in minutes, by just dragging and dropping and connecting the dots.

Eddy van der Geest is a senior auditor at Tata Steel. He has more than 25 years experience as an auditor and believes that data is the key to innovate his work. He frequently gives seminars about how to use data analysis tools such as KNIME to help others become more data driven.

Workshop 3 · How can I discover the real customer journey?

Rudi Niks, Fluxicon

Over the past years, many organizations have adopted new channels to interact with their customers. One of the challenges is to give the customer a seamless experience across these channels. Discovering customer journeys with process mining is one of the approaches that has become very successful to understand the real, cross-channel customer experience. Rudi has seen many examples over the years and is finally ready to share some best practices.

In this workshop we will focus on the typical challenges that you will face when analyzing customer journeys with process mining. For example, combining data from multiple sources, and working with the sheer amount of click stream data, can be overwhelming. Furthermore, you can get lost very quickly because the resulting process maps become very complex. To avoid this, you really need to know what you are looking for. Join this workshop and learn how you can bypass these common pitfalls when applying customer journey mining.

Rudi Niks has been one of the first process mining practitioners. He has over ten year of experience in creating value with process mining. At Fluxicon he ensures that Disco miners are the best process miners in the world.

Workshop 4 · What questions can I answer with process mining?

Anne Rozinat, Fluxicon

When you start out with process mining, it is often a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem: You are supposed to start with questions about your process, but which kinds of questions can you actually answer with process mining?

We will give you 20 typical process mining questions as a starting point and show you how to answer them. In this workshop, you will work hands-on with multiple data sets to understand the different approaches for measuring your process performance, analyzing compliance, and answering other process mining questions.

Anne Rozinat is the co-founder of Fluxicon and working with process mining every day. She has obtained her PhD Cum Laude in the process mining group at Eindhoven University of Technology and has given more than 100 process mining trainings over the past years.

Get your ticket now!

Process Mining Camp is not your run-of-the-mill, corporate conference but a community meet-up with a unique flair. The campers are really nice people who do not just brag about their successes but also share their pitfalls and failures, from which you can learn even more than from stories that go well. In addition, you will get lots of ideas about new approaches and use cases that you have not considered before.

Tickets for both the camp day and for the workshops are limited. To avoid disappointment, reserve your seat right away.

We can’t wait to see you in Eindhoven on 19 June!

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Even if you can’t attend Process Mining Camp this year, you should sign up for the Camp mailing list to receive the presentations and video recordings afterwards.


  1. Eindhoven is located in the south of the Netherlands. Next to its local airport, it can also be reached easily from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport (direct connection from Schiphol every 15 minutes, the journey takes about 1h 20 min).  
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Joris Keizers Wins the Title of Logistics Manager of the Year

Joris Keizers has received the title of Logistics Manager of the Year (see WDP and Logistiek Profs). Joris was chosen for this award due to his work as a process mining pioneer. He has been one of the first to introduce process mining in the logistics world.

To learn more about Joris’ work, watch his presentation at Process Mining Camp 2015 here and read the case study based on which he received the first Process Miner of the Year award in 2016.

Congratulations, Joris!

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Process Mining Transformations — Part 2: Unfold Loops for Activity Repetitions

This is the 2nd article in our series on typical process mining data preparation tasks. You can find an overview of all articles in the series here.

In the previous article, we have shown how loops can be split up into individual cases. The same principle can also be useful when looking at looping activities.

For example, let’s take a look at the purchasing process in Figure 1. When we analyze the performance of this process we can see that some cases do not fulfill the SLA of 21 days throughput time. It seems that the two ‘Amend’ activities could be an important factor in these delays. Not only because of the long average waiting times but also because some of the cases go through the ‘Amend’ step multiple times: At least one case went through the ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester’ step 12 times!

Figure 1: Fragment of the process map for the purchasing process. The primary metric that is shown in the map is ‘Mean duration’ while the secondary metric is ‘Maximum repetitions’.

The nature of a loop (or cycle) is that even if the same activity is repeated within the same case, it is represented by the same activity node in the process map. For example, the secondary metric in the process map in Figure 1 shows that the activity ‘Analyze Request for Quotation’ was performed up to 14 times within a single case. But each of these iterations is represented by the same activity in the map.

In order to understand the impact of these repetitions in more detail, we would like to “unfold” each repetition to take a deeper dive into the repetition patterns.

In this article, we show you how you can achieve this. We will “unfold” each repetition of the activity ‘Analyze Request for Quotation’, ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester’ and ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester Manager’ into a separate activity node to analyze the impact of these repetitions in more detail.

Step 1: Transform your data

When you look at case 1212 in Figure 2 below, then you can see that the ‘Analyze Request for Quotation’ activity (highlighted in green) and the ‘Amend Request for Quotation’ activity (highlighted in blue) were repeated multiple times. This means that in the context of the process map from Figure 1 this case moves up and down between the highlighted activity nodes. We would like to unfold the looping activities to get more visibility into the repetition pattern.

Figure 2: Example case 1212 with repeating activity pattern (click on the image to see a larger version).

To make things even more complex, the ‘Amend’ activity can either be performed by the Requester (see light blue highlights for activity ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester’ in Figure 2) or by the Manager (see dark blue highlight for activity ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester Manager’ in Figure 2). However, for our specific analysis we do not want to make this distinction. We care about how many amendments were made in total, regardless of whether they were made by the requester or the manager.

To be able to analyze each repetition, we need to add a sequence number to each iteration of these activities within the same case. Similar to the approach of unfolding loops for cases, we will add a counter to each occurrence of the repetition.

Previously, we have shown you how you can do the heavy lifting in Python. In this example we show you how you can do this with an ETL tool. ETL tools have the advantage that you don’t need to be a programmer to do data transformations. We use the ETL tool KNIME but you can use any other ETL tool or programming language of your preference to get the same result.

With special thanks to Eddy van der Geest, who contributed the solution to this specific data transformation question, you can find the KNIME workflow below (see Figure 3). You can also download the data set here and download the KNIME workflow here to follow the example of this article.

Figure 3: KNIME workflow that adds a counter for each repeated occurrence of an ‘Amend’ and ‘Analyze’ activity (click on the image to see a larger version or download the KNIME workflow to follow the steps yourself).

This workflow loads the dataset from the purchasing process and adds the sequence number for each occurrence of an ‘Analyze Request for Quotation’ activity within the same case as a new column to the right (see green highlighted rows in Figure 4). Furthermore, it keeps a joint counter for the repetition of either the ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester’ or the ‘Amend Request for Quotation Requester Manager’ activities in another new column (see blue highlighted rows in Figure 4).

Figure 4: The result of the data preparation step for the case 1212. You can see that 2 columns are added that include a counter for the ‘Amend’ and ‘Analyze’ activity repetitions.

Based on this transformed data set, we can now analyze our loop pattern in more detail.

Step 2: Analyze the activity repetitions

To actually unfold the loop in the process map in a visual way, we include both the ‘Amend’ sequence number column as well as the ‘Analyze’ sequence number column into the activity name when we import the transformed data set into Disco (see screenshot in Figure 5 below).

Figure 5: The three highlighted columns are all configured as ‘Activity’ (note the little letter symbol in the header) and, therefore, will be concatenated (combined together) into the activity name.

As a result, we have unfolded each activity occurrence in the loop pattern from Figure 1 (see Figure 6 for the same map but with the repetitions unfolded).

For example, rather than one activity with the name ‘Analyze Request for Quotation’ we can now see a separate activity for each iteration. ‘Analyze Request for Quotation-1’ is the first occurrence, ‘Analyze Request for Quotation-2’ the second occurrence, and so on.

Figure 6: Unfolded loop pattern from Figure 1 (click on the image to see a larger version of the map).

The process map has become much bigger now, but for our purposes it is helpful to see in detail how the repeating activities follow each other and in which combinations.

We can now also answer our initial questions about the amendments. For example, say that we want to know how many cases took three or more than three amendments (by the requester or the manager combined). To answer this question, we can simply add an Attribute filter in ‘Mandatory’ mode for the ‘Amend_SequenceNr’ field (see Figure 7 below).

Figure 7: Filter for all cases that had three or more repetitions of an ‘Amend’ activity.

After applying the filter, we can see that 14% of the cases had three or more amendments (see Figure 8 below).

Figure 8: As a result, we find that 14% of the cases had at leaset three ‘Amend’ activities and can analyze this subset of the process in more detail.

The throughput time of the cases that had three or more amendments can now be compared with the overal case durations to see whether they take longer.

And because the loop pattern has been unfolded, we can see exactly how much time passes, for example, between the fourth amendment and the fifth ‘Analyze’ activity, etc. We can play the animation over the unfolded process map, and so on.

It’s generally useful to have repetitions collapsed into a single activity in the process map to get a more compact overview, but sometimes unfolding these activity repetitions is exactly what you might want to do to get to the bottom of your loop patterns.

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