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Data Quality Problems In Process Mining And What To Do About Them — Part 4: Wrong Timestamp Configuration


This is the fourth article in our series on data quality problems for process mining. Make sure you also read the previous articles on formatting errors, missing data, and Zero timestamps.

In the article on Zero timestamps we have seen how timestamp problems can lead to faulty case durations. But faulty timestamps do not only influence the case durations. They also impact the variants and the process maps themselves, because the order of the activities is derived based on the timestamps.

For example, take a look at the following data set with just one faulty timestamp. There is one case with a 1970 timestamp (see screenshot below – click on the image to see a larger version). As a result, the ‘Create case’ activity is positioned before the ‘Import forms’ activity.

Data quality problem in process mining - Wrong Sequences In Variants (click to enlarge)

If we look at the process map, then you see that in all other 456 cases the process flows the other way. Clearly, the reverse sequence is caused by the 1970 timestamp.

Data quality problems in process mining: Wrong Paths In Map (click to enlarge)

And if we look at the average waiting times in the process map, then this one faulty timestamp creates further problems and shows a huge delay of 43 years.

Data quality problems in process mining: Wrong Durations in Map (click to enlarge)

As you can see, data quality problems due to timestamp issues can distort your process mining analysis in…

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