Today is a special day for us. We are very excited to introduce you to a new member of the Fluxicon team: Rudi Niks!
Here at Fluxicon, we have tried to stay as small as we can for as long as possible. We value the efficiency of having a small team, which makes it much easier for us to maintain our obsessive focus on quality and the close, personal contact with our customers. However, since our customer base has been growing so much lately, we started thinking about who would be a good fit to join the team.
We immediately thought of Rudi. In addition to his extensive experience with process mining and process improvement work, Rudi shares our values of honesty and quality. He is every bit as much of a process mining enthusiast as we are, and we are very happy that he agreed to join us! Together we will continue to build the best process mining software for professionals, and to support and grow the process mining community worldwide.
But we will let Rudi introduce himself to you in his own words:
My Journey of Becoming a Process Miner
13 years ago, I was one of the early adopters of process mining. I studied Business Information Systems at the Technical University in Eindhoven and we were introduced to this new technique of discovering processes from event data.
Process mining was still in its infancy and for many of my fellow master students it was a frustrating experience: First of all, good data sets for process mining were hard to come by. Secondly, the early versions of the academic process mining tool ProM had a particularly long learning curve. And thirdly, ProM was typically jamming just when you were about to begin your analysis! Christian — then a Ph.D. student in the process mining group — was our instructor and helping this first group of fledgling process miners on their way.
In 2011, I had an appointment as a management consultant at a major Dutch bank. We had made coffee and found a quiet spot. Frank introduced himself and the impact of digitization within the bank was soon the topic of conversation. He talked passionately about how these changes had a major impact on the processes of tomorrow. To survive this transition from a traditional bank to a digital bank Frank wanted to accelerate the change of the processes with … ‘Process Mining’.
I put down my coffee, and said: “You want to generate processes based on IT data? This is far to technical and scientific!” Frank laughed, opened his laptop, and gave me a brief demonstration of Disco. Amazed, I watched him, magically, creating a process map from his data set in seconds, and how easy it was to zoom in on all the variations.
A few days later, we were at the table with our first sponsor, the IT Service Manager. His ambition was to improve the services while lowering the costs. There were regular complaints that resolving incidents took too long. They were already working with continuous improvement methodologies, but it remained unclear what the route of an incident was through the different teams.
We analyzed the data and scheduled appointments with the teams that were responsible for handling different types of incidents. In earlier assignments I had realized that most of the improvement suggestions that came out of the workshops with the various departments were based on gut feeling. As a consequence, there was a lot of resistance to improve. In contrast, the process maps that we obtained with Disco told the story of what really happened with these incidents. The group delved deeper into the picture, uncovered the root cause for why these incidents were taking so long to resolve, and found other problems in the process that we had not even noticed. After 50 minutes, Frank and I walked out of our first meeting and we asked ourselves how many steps and time we can prevent in the other 500 types of incidents.
Over the coming years, I worked on many different process mining projects at different companies. In these projects, I saw first-hand how process mining empowers both the process improvement teams as well as the people who are responsible for these processes, and how fast you can move based on the new insights. Instead of six months like in a classical process improvement project, with process mining we typically succeeded to collect data, analyze it, and implement the improvements within 4 weeks.
When I give masterclasses or share my experiences at conferences today, I still see the surprise in the faces of colleagues and managers once I show them how you can magically discover processes based on data with process mining. I see the enthusiasm and ease by which professionals start analyzing their own processes in Disco. And I am continuously surprised by the new applications that they find that I had not thought of myself.
I began to realize that digitalisation does not only change organizations but that it also changes us as professionals. In an increasingly digital world processes produce more data, making them more and more traceable. These digital processes are no longer hidden in the minds of people, but in the databases of information. And these digital processes are also changing faster and faster.
I believe that Process Mining is a game changer to extract real value from these digital processes. As a proud member of the Fluxicon team I am looking forward to working with and supporting all of you who are taking on these changes and new opportunities in our profession!
Welcome aboard, Rudi!