Recap of Process Mining Camp 2019

For eight years, it has been an amazing experience for us to welcome process miners from all over the world at the annual Process Mining Camp. Also this year’s camp was fantastic! The atmosphere was great and there were a lot of inspiring talks by process mining professionals from many different areas.

Here is a short summary of this year’s camp. Sign up at the camp mailing list to be notified about next year’s camp and to receive the video recordings once they become available.

Opening Keynote

Anne Rozinat, co-founder of Fluxicon, opened the camp by emphasizing that it is an exciting time to be a process miner. The field is growing faster than ever before on a global scale. Fluxicon is very proud that professionals from 40 (!) different countries joined camp over the years to share best practices. It is also exciting to see that our academic initiative has exceeded the 600 universities mark.

For the professional, having a good tool for process mining is essential, but developing process mining as a discipline is the key to unlock the true potential. Besides extracting, preparing, and validating the data, you need to identify the best candidate process for process mining. Furthermore, you need to consider the impact and the ethical aspects of such an initiative. Then, you start your analysis by exploring the data and discovering the process, but you also have to choose the right moment to move into a more targeted analysis. Finally, being able to translate the insights into a solid business case and actual process change is crucial to realize the improvement opportunities.

For us at Fluxicon it is still amazing to see how people react when they first find out about process mining. It brings us back to the days when we were experimenting and could see our ideas work in practice for the first time. It is wonderful to see that process mining keeps on spreading across the globe; it is literally (almost) everywhere.

Process Miner of the Year

Kevin Joinson from GlaxoSmithKline was awarded the Process Miner of Year Award. He developed a new approach for cost deployment in manufacturing.

Cost deployment is a method from World Class Manufacturing, where an industrial engineering approach is taken to understand the cost of losses within an organisation (based on 100% of the cost). A key success factor was the involvement of the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and the initial segmentation of the data.

One of the results of Kevin’s work is that the processing time of the quality management processes could be improved by 22%. We will share his winning contribution with you in more detail in an upcoming, dedicated article.

Freerk Jilderda – ASML, The Netherlands

Freerk Jilderda from ASML kicked off with the first talk of the day. ASML is the leading developer of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry. The machines are developed and assembled in Veldhoven and shipped to customers all over the world. Availability of the machines is crucial and, therefore, Freerk started a project to reduce the recovery time.

A recovery is a procedure of tests and calibrations to get the machine back up and running after repairs or maintenance. The ideal recovery is described by a procedure containing a sequence of 140 steps. After they identified the recoveries from the machine logging, they used process mining to compare the recoveries with the procedure to identify the key deviations. In this way they were able to find steps that are not part of the expected recovery procedure and improve the process.

Jozef Gruzman & Claus Mitterlehner – Raiffeisen Bank International, Austria

The second speakers were Claus Mitterlehner and Jozef Gruzman from Raiffeisen Bank International. They started process mining 12 months ago as a part of their smart automation portfolio to derive insights from process-related data at the bank. Since then, they were able to apply process mining on various processes such as: corporate lending, credit card and mortgage applications, incident management and service desk, procure to pay, and many more.

Based on their experience they have developed a standard approach for black-box process discoveries. Using process mining, they first explore and review the processes on their own (prior to the in-depth analysis with the subject matter experts). They illustrated their approach and the deliverables they create for the business units based on the customer lending process.

Zvi Topol – MuyVentive, United States

Zvi Topol from MuyVentive, was the third speaker of the day. He explored process mining for a completely new use case: The improvement of conversational interfaces.

Chatbots and voice interfaces such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are changing the way we interact with computers. Using natural language processing and machine learning, data scientists can detect the intents during the course of a conversation. Zvi added process mining on top of the detected intents to visualize the conversational flows. He showed how the discovery of conversational patterns can help to improve the customer experience of these conversational interfaces.

Bas van Beek & Frank Nobel – PGGM, The Netherlands

As the fourth speakers of the day, Bas van Beek and Frank Nobel showed how they made an impact with process mining at the Dutch pension provider PGGM. The process lies at the heart of most of their process improvement initiatives and it is always a multi-disciplinary effort. However, the nature of each initiative is quite different.

Some projects are more focused on the redesign or implementation of an IT solution. Others require extensive involvement from the business to change the way of working. Frank showed the difference in approach by two examples. Afterwards, Bas showed an example where they used process mining for compliance purposes. Because they were able to demonstrate that certain individual funds actually follow the same process, they could group these funds and simplify the audits by using generic controls.

Mark Pijnenburg & Carmen Bratosin – Philips Healthcare & ESI, The Netherlands

The fifth speakers, Mark Pijnenburg and Carmen Bratosin, applied process mining to the usage of MRI machines by physicians. Understanding the actual usage patterns in the field is especially interesting to improve the system requirements and to increase the test coverage based on real-life behavior for these machines.

But it is not easy, because the technical logging produced by the MRI machines is only available on a technical log level used for debugging. Furthermore, each physician has their own preferences regarding the machine setup for certain exams (adding to the complexity).

However, this did not stop Carmen and Mark. They started to select the key activities in the technical log, then aligned them with the user interface elements, and finally matched them with the steps described by the American College of Radiology to get them onto the abstraction level a radiology expert would understand. Following this approach, they were able to compare the actual usage with pre-defined exam cards.

Sudhendu Rai – AIG, United States

Sudhendu Rai, lead scientist and head of data driven process optimization at AIG, was the sixth speaker. He developed a ‘Process Wind Tunnel’ framework to evaluate and optimize process structure and parameters using real-world data prior to committing to a final process design. Not to test the aerodynamic qualities of aircraft models, but to test the qualities of future state processes.

The initial model needs to reflect the reality as closely as possible. Process mining is a great way to discover the key steps that need the be part of the simulation model. Furthermore, process mining helps to determine the probabilities of transitions and the distribution of the process times to populate the model.

Sudhendu then developed “What-If” scenarios that reflected alternative process re-designs of the current process. Using discrete event simulation he tested the impact of each scenario before making the decision to implement a change in the actual process. In this way he was able to find the best scenario and could reduce the cycle time from 12 days to 5 days, increasing the throughput by over 30%.

Boris Nikolov – Vanderlande, The Netherlands

The seventh speaker, Boris Nikolov, presented the application of process mining in logistic process automation. As a process improvement engineer, Boris supports customers by solving problems and by implementing new systems for baggage handling or parcel sorting and routing.

One of the customers in the parcel distribution center called Boris to solve a problem of recirculating parcels. Normally, parcels entering the system are scanned and routed to the right locations. However, a percentage of parcels kept circulating. Using the standard checks, he was not able to find the problem quickly and therefore tried to analyze it using process mining. In this way his was able to find that the lookup of the location of the parcels in the ERP was delayed and not known in time to be routed to the right location.

Besides solving problems, he also used process mining in the design stage of new baggage handling systems for airports. In order to save time, they develop simulation models to test if the design meets customer requirements. Data produced by the simulation models provided great insight when testing failure scenarios and helped to improve standard operating procedures.

Hadi Sotudeh – JADS, The Netherlands

Sometimes, we see an application of process mining that nobody thought of before. Hadi Sotudeh, PDEng student at JADS, had such an example when he applied process mining to data from the 2018 World Cup in football.

After transforming the data, he was able to explore the actions of the players but found that there was not one dominant pattern. He took various approaches to take other perspectives to discover patterns. He was able to look at interactions with individual players, zones in the field, and to see the patterns for a particular outcome (goal or throw-in). Because the football interactions do not follow a typical (standard) process, finding the right level is one of the challenges to get insights. Taking various perspectives can help to learn new things about the opponent pattern of play, or for a team to learn from mistakes.

Wil van der Aalst – RWTH Aachen, Germany

Wil van der Aalst gave the closing keynote at camp. He started with giving an overview of the progress that has been made in the process mining field over the past 20 years. Process mining unlocks great potential but also comes with a huge responsibility. Responsible data science focuses on positive technological breakthroughs and aims to prevent “pollution” by “bad data science”.

Wil gave us a sneak peek at current responsible process mining research from the area of ‘fairness’ (how to draw conclusions from data that are fair without sacrificing accuracy too much) and ‘confidentiality’ (how to analyze data without revealing secrets). While research can provide some solutions by developing new techniques, understanding these risks is a responsibility of the process miner.

Second Day: Workshops

The majority of the campers stayed for the second day to join one of the four workshops. In the workshops, (1) Rudi Niks explained how to improve digital processes when using process mining in each of the stages in the Lean Six Sigma improvement methodology. (2) Wesley Wierz and Rick van Buuren guided the workshop participants though the steps of extracting event logs from an ERP. (3) Andrés Jiménez Ramírez and Hajo Reijers discussed the combination of Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and process mining in their workshop. (4) Anne Rozinat taught the participants how to answer 20 typical process mining questions.

And, of course, during the breaks people got the chance to discuss and learn from each other.

We would like to thank everyone for the wonderful time at camp, and we can’t wait to see you all again next year!

Photos © by Lieke Vermeulen

Wil van der Aalst at Process Mining Camp 2018

Process Mining Camp is just one week away (see an overview of the speakers here) and there are just a few 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 to release the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Fran Batchelor from UW Health, Niyi Ogunbiyi from Deutsche Bank, Dinesh Das from Microsoft, Wim Kouwenhoven from the City of Amsterdam, Olga Gazina from Euroclear, and Marc Tollens from KLM.

The final speaker at Process Mining Camp 2018 was Wil van der Aalst, the founding father of process mining. In his closing keynote, Wil talked about the updated skill set that process and data scientists need today. Since process mining research was starting up in Eindhoven in the late 90s, the availability of suitable data has increased tremendously, which makes it even more important that this data can and will be used in an appropriate and responsible manner.

This requires dedicated capabilities from the process miner in each stage of the analysis pipeline: Processing and analyzing data, being responsible about the effects on people, and on business models. When you look for people who are skilled in all of these technical areas, as well as in soft skills like communication and ethics, you start looking for (as they would say in the Netherlands) a “sheep with 5 legs”, or something that is very rare. Becoming a data scientist requires a lot of effort to learn all the skills that are needed to live up to these high expectations.

As ambassadors of process mining, we also have the responsibility to use the right terms. Wil sees a clear a distinction between Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data mining. At the same time, one could argue that process mining is data mining, but the underlying techniques are very different. So, saying that process mining is part of data mining, or AI, doesn’t make any sense. 

There are incredible expectations around AI and Big Data, which is very dangerous as we have seen in past “AI winters”. We should be careful not to overpromise and try to be realistic. The incredible successes of machine learning techniques like deep learning are, for example, still limited to very specific fields.

Some in the media and big technology companies use terms like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning interchangeably. They might argue that you don’t need process mining as you can just put an event log into a deep neural network and a process model will come out. There is, however, not one deep learning algorithm that can discover a process model. Instead, when we look at process mining it combines the fields and methods of ‘process science’ and ‘data science’. This makes it even more challenging for us to cover all required skills.

But do you, as a professional, need to know how a car works internally in order to drive it? It depends on what you want to accomplish. For example, if you need to drive fast around the Nurburg Ring, it can be very useful. Also, if you need to select a car then it would certainly be useful to know about its internals. Process mining is a relatively young technology. Therefore, it is useful to know how it works in order to select the right tool, and to use it to maximum effect.

So what kind of skills do you need as a process miner? You need to be able to extract and clean the data, spend time on the analysis, and interpret the results. This is not easy. All the involved parties need to invest the time to determine what the process maps actually mean, so that they can really trust their interpretation. The sheep with five legs would be the ideal process miner, but in most cases this is not realistic.

Traditionally, you will often rely on collaboration between a data-driven expert and a business/domain-driven expert. However, you can also think about more hybrid process mining profiles. Some experts can integrate technological skills into their domain knowledge, while other data scientists can be process mining experts which are especially skilled to perform specific types of analysis in a particular domain.

Do you want to know what kind of process miner you could become? Watch Wil’s talk now!

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.

Process Mining at KLM — Process Mining Camp 2018

In only two weeks we will see each other at this year’s Process Mining Camp (see an overview of the speakers here). If you are not registered yet, get one of the last tickets here now!

To get ready for this year’s camp, we have started to release the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Fran Batchelor from UW Health, Niyi Ogunbiyi from Deutsche Bank, Dinesh Das from Microsoft, Wim Kouwenhoven from the City of Amsterdam, and Olga Gazina from Euroclear.

The sixth speaker at Process Mining Camp 2018 was Marc Tollens, a digital product owner at Air France KLM. In order to compete in the aviation market, KLM focuses on providing an excellent customer experience. They adopted the agile methodology to be able to reduce the time to introduce new touch points in the traveler’s journey. The performance of the agile teams is crucial to get the most out of each sprint.

As a Sunday afternoon project, Marc collected data from Jira, a project management software for (agile) software development, to see how process mining could be applied to help the teams learn from each other. Surprisingly, the flow of each team was quite different.

Marc started comparing the flows of the three teams to identify key differences in behavior and the resulting effects. In this way he could see if a team was able to deliver what they promised and whether they started testing too early or too late. He shared his observations with the teams during the retrospective and returned for the next sprint to see how the improvement worked out.

Do you want to see what happened after the retrospective? Watch Marc’s talk now!

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.

Process Mining at Euroclear — Process Mining Camp 2018

This year’s Process Mining Camp is just three weeks away. If you have not registered yet, don’t wait and reserve your ticket here now!

To get us all in the right mood for camp, we have started to release the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Fran Batchelor (UW Health), Niyi Ogunbiyi (Deutsche Bank), Dinesh Das (Microsoft), and Wim Kouwenhoven (City of Amsterdam).

The fifth talk at Process Mining Camp was given by Olga Gazina and Daniel Cathala from Euroclear. As a data analyst at the internal audit department Olga helped Daniel, IT Manager, to make his life at the end of the year a bit easier by using process mining to identify key risks.

She applied process mining to the process from development to release at the Component and Data Management IT division. It looks like a simple process at first, but Daniel explains that it becomes increasingly complex when considering that multiple configurations and versions are developed, tested and released. It becomes even more complex as the projects affecting these releases are running in parallel. And on top of that, each project often impacts multiple versions and releases.

After Olga obtained the data for this process, she quickly realized that she had many candidates for the caseID, timestamp and activity. She had to find a perspective of the process that was on the right level, so that it could be recognized by the process owners. In her talk she takes us through her journey step by step and shows the challenges she encountered in each iteration. In the end, she was able to find the visualization that was hidden in the minds of the business experts.

Do you want to see how Olga was able to find the right perspective in her spaghetti process? Watch Olga’s talk now!

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.

Process Mining at the City of Amsterdam — Process Mining Camp 2018

Process Mining Camp is coming up in just under a month and tickets are going fast! Take a look at the speakers and workshops and get your ticket here to join the event.

To get ready for this year’s camp, we have started to release the videos from last year. If you have missed them before, you can still watch the videos of Fran Batchelor (UW Health), Niyi Ogunbiyi (Deutsche Bank), and Dinesh Das (Microsoft).

The fourth speaker at Process Mining Camp 2018 was Wim Kouwenhoven from the City of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is well-known as the capital of the Netherlands and the City of Amsterdam is the municipality defining and governing local policies. Wim is a program manager responsible for improving and controlling the financial function.

A new way of doing things requires a different approach. While introducing process mining they used a five-step approach:

Step 1: Awareness

Introducing process mining is a little bit different in every organization. You need to fit something new to the context, or even create the context. At the City of Amsterdam, the key stakeholders in the financial and process improvement department were invited to join a workshop to learn what process mining is and to discuss what it could do for Amsterdam.

Step 2: Learn

As Wim put it, at the City of Amsterdam they are very good at thinking about something and creating plans, thinking about it a bit more, and then redesigning the plan and talking about it a bit more. So, they deliberately created a very small plan to quickly start experimenting with process mining in small pilot. The scope of the initial project was to analyze the Purchase-to-Pay process for one department covering four teams. As a result, they were able show that they were able to answer five key questions and got appetite for more.

Step 3: Plan

During the learning phase they only planned for the goals and approach of the pilot, without carving the objectives for the whole organization in stone. As the appetite was growing, more stakeholders were involved to plan for a broader adoption of process mining. While there was interest in process mining in the broader organization, they decided to keep focusing on making process mining a success in their financial department.

Step 4: Act

After the planning they started to strengthen the commitment. The director for the financial department took ownership and created time and support for the employees, team leaders, managers and directors. They started to develop the process mining capability by organizing training sessions for the teams and internal audit. After the training, they applied process mining in practice by deepening their analysis of the pilot by looking at e-invoicing, deleted invoices, analyzing the process by supplier, looking at new opportunities for audit, etc. As a result, the lead time for invoices was decreased by 8 days by preventing rework and by making the approval process more efficient. Even more important, they could further strengthen the commitment by convincing the stakeholders of the value.

Step 5: Act again

After convincing the stakeholders of the value you need to consolidate the success by acting again. Therefore, a team of process mining analysts was created to be able to meet the demand and sustain the success. Furthermore, new experiments were started to see how process mining could be used in three audits in 2018.

For Wim process mining is a discipline, not only a tool. Therefore, you need to find the right balance between the process, the tools and the people. Firstly, if you focus too much on your own results you will limit the learning experience organization wide. Secondly, the more pressure we put on others the less results will be achieved for the organization as a whole. Finally, you need to inspire others and let process mining grow.

Do you want to learn from the best practices from the City of Amsterdam and grow your own processes? Watch Wim’s talk now!

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.

Process Mining at Microsoft — Process Mining Camp 2018

Process Mining Camp is just five 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 Fran Batchelor from UW Health and Niyi Ogunbiyi from Deutsche Bank.

The third speaker at Process Mining Camp 2018 was Dinesh Das from Microsoft. Dinesh Das is the Data Science manager in Microsoft’s Core Services Engineering and Operations organization.

Machine learning and cognitive solutions give opportunities to reimagine digital processes every day. This goes beyond translating the process mining insights into improvements and into controlling the processes in real-time and being able to act on this with advanced analytics on future scenarios.

Dinesh sees process mining as a silver bullet to achieve this and he shared his learnings and experiences based on the proof of concept on the global trade process. This process from order to delivery is a collaboration between Microsoft and the distribution partners in the supply chain. Data of each transaction was captured and process mining was applied to understand the process and capture the business rules (for example setting the benchmark for the service level agreement). These business rules can then be operationalized as continuous measure fulfillment and create triggers to act using machine learning and AI.

Using the process mining insight, the main variants are translated into Visio process maps for monitoring. The tracking of the performance of this process happens in real-time to see when cases become too late. The next step is to predict in what situations cases are too late and to find alternative routes.

As an example, Dinesh showed how machine learning could be used in this scenario. A TradeChatBot was developed based on machine learning to answer questions about the process. Dinesh showed a demo of the bot that was able to answer questions about the process by chat interactions. For example: “Which cases need to be handled today or require special care as they are expected to be too late?”. In addition to the insights from the monitoring business rules, the bot was also able to answer questions about the expected sequences of particular cases. In order for the bot to answer these questions, the result of the process mining analysis was used as a basis for machine learning.

Do you want to know more about the combination of process mining and machine learning? Watch Dinesh’s talk now!

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.

Process Mining Camp 2019 — Get Your Ticket Now!

The registration for this year’s Process Mining Camp has opened!

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 20 & 21 June now!

For the eighth time, process mining enthusiasts from all around the world will come together in the birth place of process mining1. We are already super excited to meet you all, and we are very proud of the fact that Process Mining Camp is just as international as the process mining community itself. Over the past years, people from 34 different countries have come to camp to listen to their peers, share their ideas and experiences, and make new friends in the community.

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

Day 1: Practice Talks on 20 June

The first day (Thu 20 June) will be a day full of inspiring practice talks from different companies, as you have seen at previous camps.

We are excited to tell you that the following speakers will share their experiences in their practice talks at this years’ camp:

Freerk Jilderda — ASML, The Netherlands

ASML provides chip makers with everything they need to mass produce patterns on silicon, helping to increase the value and lower the cost of a chip. The key technology is the lithography system, which brings together high-tech hardware and advanced software to control the chip manufacturing process down to the nanometer. All of the world’s top chipmakers like Samsung, Intel and TSMC use ASML’s technology, enabling the waves of innovation that help tackle the world’s toughest challenges.

Freerk Jilderda is a project manager running structural improvement projects in the Development & Engineering sector. In this talk he will outline the use of data analytics and process mining to analyze and improve lithography system start and calibration sequences, resulting in higher system availability.

Sudhendu Rai — AIG, United States

With roots that trace back to 1919, AIG is a global insurance company with operations in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. AIG provides a range of insurance products to support clients in business and in life, including: general property/casualty, life insurance, and retirement and financial services through General Insurance, Life and Retirement and Investments business units.

Sudhendu Rai is a Lead Scientist and Head of Data-Driven Process Optimization in the COO Office of AIG’s Investments organization. In his talk, Sudhendu will discuss their ‘Process Wind Tunnel’ framework that utilizes data analytics, visualization, process mining and discrete-event simulation optimization for improving insurance business processes within AIG.

Carmen Bratosin & Mark Pijnenburg — ESI & Philips Healthcare, The Netherlands

ESI is an independent research organisation for high-tech embedded systems design and engineering. Philips Healthcare is a global maker of many healthcare products, among which are imaging systems such as X-Ray, CT, Fluoroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines.

Carmen Bratosin is a research fellow at ESI and Mark Pijnenburg is a Clinical Verification Lead at Philips Healthcare. Mark and Carmen will show how process mining can be used to analyze the system usage of an MRI machine. It helps to understand how the customer (the physician) uses the MRI system, and how its behavior deviates from the expected (and designed) behavior. But to get to the actual process mining analysis, the low-level technical system log data of the MRI machine first needs to be prepared in several ways.

Jozef Gruzman & Claus Mitterlehner — Raiffeisen Bank International, Austria

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is a leading Retail and Corporate bank with 50 thousand employees serving more than 14 million customers in 14 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Jozef Gruzman is a digital and innovation enthusiast working in RBI, focusing on retail business, operations & change management. Claus Mitterlehner is a Senior Expert in RBI’s International Efficiency Management team and has a strong focus on Smart Automation supporting digital and business transformations. Together they will show how RBI started its process mining journey, how process mining fits into their Smart Automation portfolio, and in which areas of the Bank they have made discoveries so far. Based on a concrete Use Case Josef and Claus will show you how they assess and discuss their process mining findings.

Boris Nikolov — Vanderlande, The Netherlands

Vanderlande is the global market leader for value-added logistic process automation at airports, and in the parcel market. The company is also a leading supplier of process automation solutions for warehouses. Vanderlande’s baggage handling systems move 3.7 billion pieces of luggage around the world per year, in other words 10.1 million per day. Its systems are active in 600 airports including 13 of the world’s top 20.

Boris Nikolov is a Process Improvement Engineer at Vanderlande. In this talk, he will tell us how they use process mining to gain insight on how to validate and optimize test scenarios during some of the most critical phases of a project — acceptance testing and operational trials.

Bas van Beek & Frank Nobel — PGGM, The Netherlands

PGGM is a non-profit cooperative pension administration organization. They are founded by the social partners in the care and welfare sector and serve 750.000 employees and pensioners.

Bas van Beek is process consultant and Frank Nobel is process and data analyst at PGGM. In their talk, they will show how process mining goes further than unveiling the bottlenecks in their processes. Discovering and analyzing the process is often the starting point to develop a solution. They show how the goal and approach of the analysis are slightly different when you decide to start a Lean Six Sigma or compliance initiative compared to, for example, the goal of automating tasks, developing a data science or robotics process automation solution.

Zvi Topol — MuyVentive, United States

MuyVentive, LLC is an advanced analytics R&D company focusing on AI/ML and Conversational Analytics work.

Zvi Topol is a Data Scientist and CEO at MuyVentive. In his talk, Zvi will show how to leverage process mining techniques to improve natural language interfaces. Based on an example using the Microsoft Cognitive Services LUIS API, Zvi will show you how conversational data from chatbot interactions with customers can be transformed into structured data, which in turn can then be analyzed further with process mining techniques.

Keynote by Wil van der Aalst

At the end of the first day, prof. Wil van der Aalst will give a closing keynote about the topic of Responsible Data Science for Process Miners.

Wil van der Aalst — RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Data Science techniques can run the risk of enabling systematic discrimination based on data, invasion of privacy, non-transparent life-changing decisions, and inaccurate conclusions. We use the term “Green Data Science” for technological solutions that enable individuals, organizations, and society to reap the benefits from the widespread availability of data while ensuring fairness, confidentiality, accuracy, and transparency.

Wil’s keynote will give you a sneak peek into the latest research in responsible data science. He will show the results from two ongoing research projects that focus on fairness in the process mining analysis and on the analysis of anonymized data.

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.

Day 2: Workshops on 21 June

On the second day (Fr 21 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 to improve processes in the digital age?

Rudi Niks, Fluxicon

Digital transformation does not only impact the expectation of the customer. It also impacts the techniques and methods that companies use to delight customers every day. The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) improvement cycle lies at the heart of the Six Sigma methodology. Process mining is a great addition for the Lean Six Sigma practitioner to understand and analyze the real complexity of the value streams.

In this workshop we will go step by step through a typical Lean Six Sigma project and experience together how process mining can be used in each stage of the DMAIC.

Rudi Niks has been one of the first process mining practitioners. He has over ten years of experience in creating value with process mining as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. At Fluxicon he ensures that Disco miners are the best process miners in the world.

Workshop 2 · From ERP system to dataset: How do I prepare a useful event log?

Wesley Wiertz and Rick van Buuren, Sifters

Preparing a high-quality eventlog from an ERP-system can be a considerable challenge for organizations. Retrieving the raw data from the system or its database is often the first hurdle. Then, when the data is available, its amount and complexity can be overwhelming. Finding the relevant pieces of information is like finding a needle in the haystack. Finally, you need to make sure that the data correctly reflects the process, which is essential to be able to rely on the findings and to convince stakeholders.

How to overcome these challenges is the topic of this workshop. You will be guided through the process of data preparation and we will demonstrate the pitfalls and best practices step by step.

Wesley Wiertz and Rick van Buuren have extensive experience in the fields of financial audits, IT audits, and business intelligence. With a strong focus on compliance and traceability, they now focus on helping clients with the extraction of relevant data and the preparation of high-quality, validated event logs for process mining.

Workshop 3 · How can I combine process mining with RPA?

Andrés Jiménez Ramírez, Universidad de Sevilla and Hajo Reijers, Utrecht University

The lifecycle of any Robotic Process Automation (RPA) project starts with the analysis of the process that should be automated. This is a very time-consuming phase, which in practice often relies on the study of process documentation and on interviews with subject matter experts. Process mining can help to discover the actual process based on IT data, but the data that is collected from the IT systems is often too detailed to be used directly.

We will walk you through a possible transformation of low-level screen-mouse-key-logger data (a sequence of images, mouse actions, and key actions stored along with their timestamps) into a UI log that can then be analyzed with process mining techniques. We will also discuss the different scenarios in which it makes sense (and in which it does not make sense) to apply process mining in RPA projects.

Andrés Jiménez Ramírez is assistant professor at Universidad de Sevilla and Hajo Reijers is a full professor at Utrecht University. They have a lot of experience with process mining and applied process mining in several real-life RPA projects.

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. Our 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 20 June!

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 (convenient, direct train connection from Schiphol every 15 minutes, the journey takes about 1h 20 min).  
Process Mining at Deutsche Bank — Process Mining Camp 2018

Process Mining Camp is coming closer! This year’s camp takes place on 20 & 21 June, so keep these days free in your agenda. The program will be announced shortly and you can sign up at the camp mailing list to be notified as soon as the registration opens.

Meanwhile, we have started to release the videos from last year’s camp. You can already watch the video of Fran Batchelor from UW Health here. The second speaker at Process Mining Camp 2018 was Niyi Ogunbiyi from Deutsche Bank in the United Kingdom. Niyi is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt in the Chief Regulatory Office at Deutsche Bank.

Niyi started with process mining on a cold winter morning in January 2017, when he received an email from a colleague telling him about process mining. After searching the internet, he started the MOOC and shared his ideas with the team. They also got very excited to see what they would be able to do with it. They started with their proof of concept in October the same year. In his talk, he shared his process mining journey and the five lessons they have learned so far.

1. Be Persistent & Inventive

His first lesson was to be persistent to get the right people on board to secure the required sponsorship and the funds to get started. Also, getting the data can be challenging. Therefore, you need to be inventive and sometimes try to find other ways to get your hands on a dataset to just get started.

2. Be Clear What Process Mining Can & Can’t Do

The second lesson was to understand what process mining can, but also what it cannot do. To figure this out, they needed to take a step back and look at their current approach. Traditionally, process discovery is done by conducting interviews, which can take a lot of time. Additionally, the resulting model does not always reflect the reality. They saw that process mining could contribute to perform these analyses more quickly and with a higher precision. Another benefit was that with process mining they could test their process for conformance more easily on large data sets instead of manually reviewing process conformance manually based on a smaller sample of cases. Nevertheless, they also learned that process mining would not answer all the process-related questions and that domain expertise is required to be able to translate the insights into actions.

3. Find The Right Balance Between Targeted vs. Untargeted Exploration

When performing their analysis, they found that they were initially spending a lot of time on explorative (untargeted) analysis. While this was fun, and while it revealed a few things about the process that they would not have even thought to ask questions about, the insights from these explorations were often difficult to translate into action and were more anecdotal. In order to become more focused in their analysis they developed templates to answer questions that were relevant to their stakeholders. For example, understanding the relations between the lead time and rework and the case variations. This approach helped them to keep focusing on the relevant factors with the biggest impact. Niyi recommends to spend not more than 30% of your time on untargeted, explorative analysis and 70% on targeted, question-focused analysis, which was the third lesson.

4. Relate Analysis Results To Stakeholders’ Pain

Fourthly, in order to make the insights actionable you need to be able to relate them to the stakeholder’s pains and gains. Ideally, you can relate the analysis results to problems that otherwise keep the process manager up at night. This will really help to make them care about your analysis and they will help you to drive the actual change that needs to happen after the process mining analysis to realize the benefits. But also give them a clear understanding about the overall opportunities to improve and help them to determine if they are working on the right improvement initiatives.

5. Celebrate Your Successes & Cut Your Losses

Finally, they were able to complete the proof of concepts and continue with a number of other projects. Often, when you have completed something you immediately move on to the next. But in order to build resilience, don’t forget to also take a moment to celebrate and pat yourself on the back. Also: Be realistic and cut your losses when things don’t work out or are just too ambitions.

As a next step Niyi and his team are selecting more processes for process mining. For example, they are looking into employee trading to check conformance and the combination of process mining with RPA. Process mining is great to identify which activities would be the best candidate to automate and to estimate the benefits. Finally, they also see great potential for process mining in fraud detection and are experimenting with this.

Do you want to know more about the lessons Niyi learned? Watch Niyi’s talk now!

Process Mining at UW Health — Process Mining Camp 2018

This year’s Process Mining Camp is around the corner! We are super excited and the preparations are in full swing. Process Mining Camp takes place on 20 & 21 June this year, so keep these days free in your agenda. The program will be announced shortly and you can sign up at the camp mailing list to be notified as soon as the registration opens.

Meanwhile, we will be releasing the videos from last year’s camp over the coming weeks to get us all into the proper camp spirit. The first speaker at Process Mining Camp 2018 was Fran Batchelor from UW Health in the United States. Fran is a Nursing Informatics Specialist who supports the surgical services at three of UW Health’s hospitals. She used process mining to analyze the flow of urgent and emergent surgical cases added to the schedule. What did she find?

The operations for most cases are scheduled and planned well in advance. For these patients the room is being prepared and the patient is transported to the room and after the operation the patient is transported to the recovery room. At the hospital they have 27 operation rooms available.

There are other patients that require urgent care, for which additional ‘hold’ rooms are reserved. However, sometimes there are more emergent cases than available operating rooms, such that schedules need to be adjusted. The smooth flow is critical for emergent cases and the challenge is to allocate the operating space for these patients.

At the hospital, two additional operation rooms were to be opened for the emergent cases and a project was started to determine how these rooms could be best allocated. Neurosurgery had made a case for all available new space and was in line to receive it. However, Peripheral Vascular also voiced a need. A team was assembled to provide information regarding the decision making. How many add-on cases are there without a dedicated hold room being available? How are they moving through the process and are they still meeting the internal performance metrics?

From the database the team extracted the data for each step in the process and developed the logic to identify the add-on cases. By visualizing the process using process mining they were able to see how add-on cases behave. They were able to see that 70% of the cases were scheduled and of the 30% unscheduled cases 12% didn’t have dedicated hold rooms.

When looking at the flow of the add-on cases, they realized that not all cases have the same urgency. By giving the cases a priority, they were able to distinguish between the different levels of urgency. Especially when focusing on the emergent cases of Neurosurgery and Peripheral Vascular they found that 43% of the cases that took longer than 1 hour to get to the operating room belonged to the Peripheral Vascular surgery (a higher volume compared to Neurosurgery). So, it was most logical to allocate the additional rooms for both of these procedures.

Process mining reduced the political and emotional components when taking these decisions. By looking at the data and the visualization it was possible to tell the story more easily. Without process mining it would not have been possible to make such a clear-cut case and the decision would have been made differently.

However, it was not easy and took two years to get to this point. First of all, it was a challenge to set up the project and get access to the right data. Secondly, they needed to develop the sponsorship to develop the capability to apply process mining and drive the project. 

Fran was able to overcome these hurdles by being persistent, handpicking the right team, selecting a project scope for which the complexity was manageable, and by ensuring that the surgical leadership was involved in leading the project.

Do you want to know more about how UW Health was able to allocate the right operating rooms? Watch Fran’s talk now!

Process Mining Transformations – Part 5: Remove Repetitions

This is the 5th article in our series on typical process mining data preparation tasks. You can find an overview of all articles in the series here.

In a process mining analysis, the variants can be an interesting metric to distinguish the common and exceptional behavior. However, to analyze the variants in a meaningful way we need to have the data set on the right level of abstraction (see also these strategies to simplify complex process maps).

In a previous article about unfolding activities we have shown how to unfold each iteration of a repeating activity. Adding this additional detail was helpful to answer questions about the number of times these repetitions occurred and to analyze them in more detail.

But there can also be situations, where we want to get rid of repetitions altogether.

Take a look at the following example snippet from the 2016 BPI Challenge. The data set consists of the steps that people follow to apply for unemployment benefits. Each step is a click on the website of the unemployment benefit agency (click on the image to see a larger version).

What you can see in this process map is that there are a lot of self loops (highlighted by the red rectangles in the image above). These repetitions come from multiple clicks on the same web page. They can also come from a refresh, an automated redirection, or an internal post back to the same page. So, they are more of a technical nature than an actual repetition of the same process step.

As a result, these repetitions are not meaningful for analyzing the actual customer experience for this process. What is worse, these repetitions also create many more variants than there actually are from a high level process perspective.

For example, when you look at the process map above, they you can see that there is a dominant path through the process (indicated by the thick arrows). However, when we look at the individual cases (see screenshot below), then there are 158 different variants for just 161 cases.

Only variant 1 and 2 have cases in common and we can quickly see why: The many repetitions create unique variants by the different numbers of iterations. For example, the currently selected case 1903105 has 12 repetitions of the process step ‘Your last employer’. These stem from the number of clicks that the user has taken to fill out the form on this page. If another applicant had clicked one time more or less on this page, then these two would immediately fall into two separate variants.

However, there is a way to extend your data in such a way that you can analyze more meaningful variants. In this article we will show you how.

What we want to do is to be able to focus on the steps in the process that are different. For example, when you right-click on the case history table of case 1903105 shown above, you can save this individual case history via the ‘Export as CSV…’ option. When we do this for another case 2137597 and open both of them in Excel, we can highlight the steps that we actually would like to compare (see below).

As you can see, both the cases 1903105 and 2137597 are following a different variant pattern if you look at the data on a detailed level. However, you can argue whether on not they are actually different from a customer experience point of view. When we highlight only the first occurrence of the reoccurring events (marked in green), you can see that both cases are actually following the same sequence through the process.

The repetitions introduce a lot of variation that is not relevant from a high-level view of this process. So, what we would like to do is to be able to exclude these repetitions from our analysis. We will do this in a non-invasive manner by adding an extra column that indicates whether an event is a repetition or not in the following way.

Step 1: Export your data with the right perspective

For most processes, you can take multiple perspectives depending on how you configure your case ID, your activity name, and your timestamp during the import step. Since the interpretation of what repeating activities are depends on your current perspective, you can best simply export your data from Disco as a CSV file.

You will see that the exported CSV file includes the CaseID, Activity and Timestamp columns in the way in which you have configured them previously during your data import (when multiple columns are selected as the CaseID or Activity they are already concatenated).

Step 2: Transform your data

To identify reoccurring events, I have used the following Python script (see code below or download the script here). This script goes through every event for every case. It evaluates if the proceeding event was the same and adds a “isRepetion” column with TRUE (when the proceeding activity is the same) or FALSE (in all other cases). The Pandas library ( has been used to iterate trough all the events. However, you can take the same approach in any programming or query language of your preference.

The result is a CSV file that includes the new “isRepetition” column. When importing this new CSV file into Disco you can mark this column as an “Other” attribute, so that it can be used for filtering in the next step (see screenshot below).

After importing this new data set, the process map still looks exactly the same as the map we saw at the very beginning (with a lot of self-loops due to the many repetitions).

Step 3: Filter the repeating activities

However, now we can easily exclude the repeating events from our analysis by applying an Attribute Filter (see screenshot below). This will keep only the first occurrence of a sequence of reoccurring activities, which are exactly the green events in the Excel comparison above.

When pulling up both the activity and path sliders in the process map, we can now see that all the self-loops have disappeared (see below).

Furthermore, when we inspect the variants in the Cases tab, then we can see that the variation in the data set has been reduced (see screenshot below). The 161 cases now follow 65 different variants and Variant 1 has become a dominant variant that covers 44.1 % of all the cases.

The dominant variant is now describing the expected behavior. With the simplified data set the variants are on the right level to analyze what happens to the cases that deviate from this expected process pattern.

Step 4: Analyzing the process

With the filtered data set we can now also analyze the rework in the process without being disturbed by the repetitions that were observed on the same page. Here are two examples:

Question 1: How often were applicants returning to the initial process step?

If applicants return to the beginning of the process then this could mean that they postpone their application to take time to find the required information. They either don’t understand what is being asked or they don’t have the time to complete the application at once. Filtering these cases can be done using a Follower filter in Disco as shown in the screenshot below.

55% of the cases that don’t follow the dominant variant include this pattern. In the process map below you can see that for the 50 cases that return to the beginning of the process, 28 cases (more than half) go back after the ‘Send data’ step, potentially leading into a resubmission of the application.

Question 2: What happens when resubmitting the application?

To analyze in more detail what happens when the application is resubmitted, we first need to filter all the applications where the ‘Send data’ step occurred again (see screenshot below).

To focus on the actual re-submission part, we want to analyze what happens after the first occurrence of the ‘Send data’ step. For this, we can add an Endpoints filter with the ‘Trim longest’ option to remove all the steps after the first occurrence of ‘Send data’ (see below).

Now, we can analyze which pages were revisited after submitting the request the first time (see below).

The advantage of the approach described in this article – adding an attribute to filter out repetitions rather than removing the repeating events from the data set altogether – is that you preserve your original data and can always go back to analyze the process on a more fine-grained level as well later on. For example, perhaps there are some of the process steps for which you want to analyze the detailed click sequences on the page in a second step.

Finally, two things need to be kept in mind when you remove repetitions from your data set:

  1. If you are analyzing your process from multiple perspectives (see Step 1 above) then you need to apply the transformation steps described in this article for each of these perspectives.
  2. If you remove activities to simplify your process with the Milestone simplification strategy (or have applied some other filter that removes events) after you have added the repetition attribute, then this can create new repetitions that were not there before. To remove these new repetitions as well, you need to go back to Step 1 and repeat the process.