Is Process (In)Visibility a Major Driver for Process Mining?

Dsire Palmen - Zebra

I have come across these beautiful photos by the Dutch artist Dsire Palmen, where she makes people invisible — They disappear in the context of their environment. Check out her website to see more images.

Invisibility is such an abstract concept. Process mining is quite an abstract topic, too: We talk about log data, about processes, and about software technology — all things you cannot really touch.

In fact, precisely the fact that these things are invisible makes them so difficult to comprehend. Of course, there are processes that are quite tangible, like factory processes.1 built in a two-story warehouse from over 700 household objects here.)) But it is one of the major challenges in understanding today’s digitalized business processes that they are inherently invisible:

In an assembly line, you can move from one step to the next step in the process and easily observe what is happening. But information-based processes usually don’t pass around piles of papers anymore. That means you simply can’t see what is going on.

So, in my view process invisibility is a major driver for process mining. For example:

  • People are not following the work instructions (because they don’t suit them or because they are not trained well) and nobody is aware of it.
  • Nobody has an overview about the end-to-end process with all its variations.
  • Performance and quality problems appear on the surface (complaints by the customer) but it’s unclear where these problems stem from.

What do you think: Isn’t process invisibility the real problem underlying these issues? Let us know in the comments.

  1. If you find production processes boring, check out this four-minute, fun video sequence of a [giant Rube Goldberg machine]( ↩︎

Anne Rozinat

Anne Rozinat

Market, customers, and everything else

Anne knows how to mine a process like no other. She has conducted a large number of process mining projects with companies such as Philips Healthcare, Océ, ASML, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, and many others.