This is Flux Capacitor, the company weblog of Fluxicon.
You can find more articles here.

You should follow us on Twitter here.

Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones 10

Calculator

People who have witnessed process mining for the first time are sometimes threatened by the idea that their jobs will go away. They currently manually model and discover processes in workshops and interviews in the traditional way. So, if you can now automate that process discovery, then you don’t need the people anymore who are guiding those process discovery workshop sessions, right?

Wrong!

Process mining is much more than automatically constructing a process map. If you think that is all it does, then you have not understood process mining and how it works in practice.

From Human Computers to Calculators to Spreadsheets

Think back to the time before computers, when computers were actually humans (typically women) who undertook long and often tedious calculations as a team: The replacement of the human computers paved the way for the millions of programmers that we have today. Or think back to the calculator: The calculator was essentially a little computer that you could hold in your hand. Before spreadsheets were around, people had to calculate everything manually, with a calculator. But once they had access to spreadsheets, they were able to do much more than that. They were not just simply doing the same things they were doing before, but in an automated way. Instead, they could now run projections based on compound interest for 10 or 20 years in the future, which simply would not have been feasible by hand.1

The thing is that process mining allows you to look at your processes at a much more detailed level. In a workshop or interview-based setup, you typically get a good overview of the main process — the happy flow. But the big improvement potential typically lies in the 20% that do not go so well. Process mining allows you to get the complete picture and analyze the full process in much more detail. And once you have implemented a change in the process, you can simply re-run the analysis again to see how effective you improvement has actually been.

In many ways, process mining is as revolutionary for processes as spreadsheets were for numbers.

Process Mining Requires Skills

Process mining is not an automated, push-of-a-button exercise. Not at all. It requires a smart analyst who knows how to prepare the data, how to ensure data quality, and who can interpret the results — together with the business.

That’s why also the workshops with the business stakeholders are not going away. As a consultant or in-house analyst you will need their input, because they know the process much better than you do. And you want them to participate and build up ownership of whatever comes out of the project — they are the ones who have to implement the changes after all.

It is one of the most powerful aspects of the traditional workshops that people from different areas get together and realize that they have different and incomplete views of the process, and that they start building a shared understanding. Process mining can be used in exactly the same way. You can run an interactive workshop with the relevant stakeholders at the table and come out with improvement ideas in a very short time. You will just make a better use of their time: Rather than taking weeks to discover how the process works, you can focus on why things are being done the way they are done. And you can dig much deeper.

Process mining takes skills and is not an automated thing. All of you in the business of helping people to understand and improve their processes should start building those skills. Because you will deliver more value and you won’t be less busy at all.


  1. In fact, Dan Bricklin tells exactly such kind of a story in this Business Of Software talk. Back when he was working on VisiCalc, he came into his business school class with a case analysis that was unbelievably detailed and basically impossible to do manually. 

Comments (10)

Thanks for the article. Isn’t part of the problem that the new jobs are not necessarily filled by the same persons that are doing the current jobs? The new jobs require different skills. If you are the best person for the current job does not mean you are the best person for the new job. See for example the Dutch tax office that is laying off 5000 employees and at the same time hiring 1500 data analysts. See article http://www.nu.nl/economie/4051929/reorganisatie-belastingdienst-kost-vijfduizend-werknemers-baan.html

Hi Marcel, thanks for your comment. Yes, this is true in general but I think it is not true for process mining specifically, because the improvement analysts that are currently doing interviews and workshops in the manual way are the best people to pick up these new skills. The main point is that process mining is not simply automating process improvement (in contrast to actual process automation, which does remove manual work), but that it brings the work to a higher level.

[…] [2] Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones. URL: http://fluxicon.com/blog/2016/06/process-mining-does-not-remove-jobs-it-creates-new-ones/ […]

[…] [1] Komplexe Abläufe verständlich dargestellt mit Process Mining. URL: https://www.data-science-blog.com/blog/2015/09/10/komplexe-ablaufe-verstaendlich-dargestellt-mit-process-mining-data-science/ [2] Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones. URL: http://fluxicon.com/blog/2016/06/process-mining-does-not-remove-jobs-it-creates-new-ones […]

Hi Anne,

Nice article. can you also list all possible skills for process mining Analysis also provide source from where we can dig into it will be very good.

Hirendra

Hi Hirendra, Thank you. I recommend to reach out per email and to sign up for our Process Mining News (see http://fluxicon.com/s/pmnews) to receive regular How-To articles about process mining.

[…] [1] Komplexe Abläufe verständlich dargestellt mit Process Mining. URL: https://www.data-science-blog.com/blog/2015/09/10/komplexe-ablaufe-verstaendlich-dargestellt-mit-process-mining-data-science/ [2] Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones. URL: http://fluxicon.com/blog/2016/06/process-mining-does-not-remove-jobs-it-creates-new-ones […]

[…] [1] Komplexe Abläufe verständlich dargestellt mit Process Mining. URL: https://www.data-science-blog.com/blog/2015/09/10/komplexe-ablaufe-verstaendlich-dargestellt-mit-process-mining-data-science/ [2] Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones. URL: http://fluxicon.com/blog/2016/06/process-mining-does-not-remove-jobs-it-creates-new-ones […]

[…] [2] Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones. URL: http://fluxicon.com/blog/2016/06/process-mining-does-not-remove-jobs-it-creates-new-ones/ […]

[…] [2] Process Mining Does Not Remove Jobs — It Creates New Ones. URL: http://fluxicon.com/blog/2016/06/process-mining-does-not-remove-jobs-it-creates-new-ones/ […]


Leave a reply