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A Process Mining Elevator Pitch

For every entrepreneur, there is something which is extremely important: The elevator pitch. The scenario is that you find yourself in an elevator with a well-known investor. How do you best use the little time you have on the elevator, to explain what you do to the investor, and hopefully make him interested in your project?1

So, I thought that’s also a nice challenge for the blog: Explain process mining in as few words as possible.

It works best using an example. Take a look at the following log from the ProM tutorial below. This log fragment contains information about four process instances (cases 1-4) in a process that handles traffic fines. Each row corresponds to an event that happened for one of these cases (Case ID column) and states which activity was performed (Task Name column), who performed it (Originator column), and when it happened (Timestamp column).

Example log

Now, the core idea of process mining is to use these log data to automatically discover a process model that shows the flow of the traffic fine process. The resulting model is depicted below. It is read from left to right and shows that after a fine is entered in the system, the bill is sent to the driver. If the driver does not pay the bill, a reminder is sent (potentially multiple times). When the bill is paid, the case is archived.

Mined model from example log

The shown example is very simple, but business processes are often really complex because people in different departments handle large numbers of cases throughout various steps and IT- systems. So, obtaining an overview about the actual process is difficult.

In addition to automatically discovering the actual process flow, you can also visualize the handover of work among people in the organization, analyze the timing behavior of the process and highlight bottlenecks, deviations from intended process flows, and so on.

I think that works well as an elevator pitch for process mining2. So, as a challenge, why not try this: In the comments, elevator-pitch what you do in as few words as possible, so that other readers may want to get in touch!

And of course, if you’d like me to give you the Fluxicon elevator pitch, please let me know 🙂

  1. By the way, this is also a very helpful concept when you are giving a presentation – whether you present at an academic conference, to your colleagues, or to a customer: Try to elevator-pitch your message in the beginning, in one minute or less. You will be amazed at how more engaged your audience will be! ↩︎

  2. That is, given a high enough building, of course… ↩︎

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