Process Mining Camp 2013 — Fireside Chat with Tijn van der Heijden

Process Mining Camp 2013 -- Click here to register!

Are you as excited about Process Mining Camp as we are? Only two more weeks, and then we will shake the foundations of the Zwarte Doos and light the process mining fire in Eindhoven!

As a warm-up, and to get us all in the proper camp spirit, we asked some of the speakers for an up-front interview. Read the first fireside chat with Tijn van der Heijden below!

But first, allow me to point your attention towards an important deadline:

Register before 19 May to get a camp t-shirt!

Register in time to get your official camp t-shirt!

At last year’s camp, we made fancy camp t-shirts for our speakers and staff, and lots of other campers asked us if they could also get one. This year, we decided to give every attendee a stylish, official camp t-shirt to take home. We will only print a limited batch, and printing t-shirts takes its sweet time. Fortunately, we have found a great printer here in Eindhoven who will screen-print each t-shirt lovingly by hand – and best of all, they agreed to print our batch last-minute.

This means that we can extend the early bird deadline to Sunday, 19 May! Please make sure to sign up for camp before the sun goes down on 19 May, otherwise you won’t have the shirt to prove you were indeed there. Impress your peers with your impeccable sense of fashion, and your membership to our exclusive club of process mining pioneers, and click here to sign up right away!

But of course, at Process Mining Camp the focus is not on haute couture, but on riveting and insightful practice talks! One of our speakers is Tijn van der Heijden, who has managed to both design a comprehensive process mining methodology, and apply it to get the Rabobank started with process mining, all in the course of his Master project. Read on to get a sneak preview of Tijn’s camp talk!

Interview with Tijn van der Heijden

Tijn van der Heijden

Today, you can read the interview with Tijn van der Heijden, a business analyst with Deloitte. Tijn successfully introduced process mining as a new standard to achieve continuous improvement for the Rabobank during his Master project. At camp, he will show you his process mining project methodology that starts with the questions that you have about your process.

Anne: Can you still remember where and when you first heard about process mining? What exactly caught your attention and fascinated you about the topic?

Tijn: Yes, my first experience with process mining was a couple of years ago during a BPM course for my Master at Eindhoven University of Technology. During a lecture and a demo with ProM I got explained about the basics and possibilities of process mining. It fascinated me that it was possible to get a process model and so much performance information out of automatically logged events of an information system.

Later that year I followed a specific course in process mining with which my interest in the topic grew. The final assignment of this course was supporting a company by retrieving as much valuable information as possible out of a complicated event log, draw conclusions and give recommendations where possible. I really loved to analyse the log and to think about how the company could improve their performance based on the derived information. That was when I decided to develop myself more elaborately in the field of process mining.

Anne: What kind of complicated event log was that? Was it a real-life data set?

Tijn: Yeah, it was an event log from a hospital about the activities that took place for treating patients, real spaghetti log. But I don’t remember that much detail anymore. 😉 Can imagine that you know / played a role in providing the log.

Anne: Oh I know! This must have been the BPI Challenge data set from 2011. It was the first year of the BPI Challenge, the annual process mining challenge. The data set was really scary and only three people submitted something. JC Bose won the challenge that year with his impressive trace alignment application.

I think what you said before is critical with respect to the fascination with process mining: We all know that you can program anything and write custom applications that collect data for any purpose, but the beauty of process mining is that you start by ‘automatically logged events of an information system’, so with data that is already there. And I have heard people talk about how they sometimes used to dive down into the raw data records to try to understand something about the process (and what a pain that was). With process mining you can leverage these existing data to a whole new level.

When did you realize that you wanted to work on a methodology framework for process mining?

Tijn: My graduate supervisor, Hajo Reijers, brought me into contact with the manager of the Financial Services department of Rabobank Nederland. That manager had heard of process mining and was wondering if it could help him to improve the invoice process that he was responsible for. This was the chance where I was looking for, so I took this opportunity with both hands.

Preparing the process mining project in combination with making me more profound in the field of process mining by reading scientific literature, I notified that there was not much research in executing process mining projects for practice. A lot of the research on process mining is about developing algorithms, e.g. discover a process model or a social network, and structuring and interpreting the mined data. The little literature that is about applying process mining is almost always written from a scientific point of view. Due to this, not much information could be found on supporting organizations in applying process mining to improve their processes. By developing a process mining methodology meant to use in practice, I hoped to support practitioners in conducting process mining projects and to create a deliverable that shares insights and could be further developed and improved by others.

About a month later, at Process Mining Camp 2012, Christian Günther pointed out that the process mining community is still lacking a certain kind of commonly agreed methodology that shares best practices and describes a way how to apply process mining. For me this confirmed the value of my research topic and stimulated me to contribute to that methodology.

Anne: Thank you, Tijn! We look forward to hearing more about the specific steps in your methodology, and about its application at the Rabobank, in your talk at camp!

Come to Process Mining Camp 2013!

Would you like to hear more from Tijn about his experiences? Are you interested in sharing first-hand knowledge with fellow process miners? Register now to reserve your seat at Process Mining Camp on 28 May in Eindhoven. We only have a strictly limited number of tickets, and they are going fast…