Interview With Marcello La Rosa About Process Mining in the New BPM MOOC

Sign up now for the MOOC Fundamentals of BPM

A brand-new MOOC called Fundamentals of BPM is starting up next week on Monday, 12 October 2015. It has been developed by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, and is taking a theoretically founded but also very practical and practitioner-oriented approach. You can get a look behind the scenes in this BPTrends article on the new MOOC.

The MOOC is based on the textbook Fundamentals of Business Process Management, which has been adopted in over 100 educational institutions worldwide. It includes a practical segment on process mining as well as process mining case studies, exercises, theoretical backgrounds, and a video interview with Wil van der Aalst.

We are very happy that the MOOC organizers have chosen our process mining software Disco as the process mining software to be used in the MOOC. Fluxicon is supporting the MOOC by providing training licenses for the participants, who can use Disco to follow the process mining exercises and to explore their own processes to learn more about what process mining can do. You can sign up for the MOOC here.

We spoke with Marcello La Rosa, one of the instructors in the MOOC and professor and Academic Director for corporate programs and partnerships at the Information Systems school of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia.

Interview with Marcello

Marcello La Rosa

It’s great to see that you have included a section on process mining in the new MOOC ‘Fundamentals of BPM. Process mining is an important part if you take a holistic approach to process management, because it closes the loop and lets people evaluate how the processes are really performed, and where the weaknesses and improvement opportunities are.

In the process mining section of the MOOC, you will also report on a project carried out at Suncorp. Can you tell us more about that project?


One of the case studies discussed in the MOOC is related to a process mining project that Queensland University of Technology conducted with Suncorp Commercial Insurance in 2012. The objective of that study was to identify the reasons why certain low-value claims would take too long to be processed, as opposed to others, of the same type, which instead would be handled within reasonable times.

The company had formulated different hypotheses about the reasons for these inefficiencies but any process change following these hypotheses had not led to any measurable improvements. Process mining provided the flipping point.

In a nutshell, we extracted the data related to six months of execution of the two variants of this claims handling process from Suncorp’s claims management system, discovered the respective process models using Disco, and identified the differences between these two models.

In fact, it was found that in the slow variant the process would clog at a couple of activities due to rework and repetition. These findings were then supported by a statistical analysis of the differences and the data replayed on top of the discovered models to build a business case. Enroll in the MOOC to find out more about how Suncorp managed to use process mining to improve its business processes.

What is the most important impact that process mining has in your opinion in the organizations that are using it?


The speed of reaction, which has increased dramatically. Now organizations can get to the bottom of their process weaknesses in much less time. For example, the project with Suncorp was completed in less than six months.

This faster response time is possible because Process mining is changing the way business process management (BPM) is done. As we will see in the course, process mining offers a new entry point to the BPM lifecycle, through the monitoring of process execution data which is the last phase in a typical BPM project.

This, on the one hand, allows analysts to quickly discover process models – with the advantage that such models are based on the evidence of the data and are thus not prone to human bias. On the other hand, it offers an opportunity to jump directly to the analysis phase, without necessarily relying on a process model, to find out where process weaknesses are.

Who can benefit from participating in the new MOOC and why should they sign up?


This course is open to anyone who has an interest in improving organizational performance.

It will be useful to those who have already worked in the area of business process management (BPM) and would like to consolidate and expand their learnings, since this is the first course that offers a comprehensive overview of the BPM lifecycle (from process identification all the way to process monitoring). But given that no prior knowledge is required, this course also provides a great opportunity for professionals and students who are new to learn about the exciting discipline of BPM. This is achieved by combining a gentle introduction to the subject with more advanced topics which offer many opportunities for deepening the content.

Last but not least, the variety of learning media (short videos, activities, quizzes, readings, interviews, project work) will ensure following this MOOC is fun!

Thanks, Marcello!

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.