Say Hello To Nitro
It is my pleasure to announce the release of our first software tool, Nitro!
Nitro is our tool for converting your data in CSV or XLS files to event logs that can be loaded in ProM. And we have put a lot of effort into making sure that using Nitro will be quick and easy – because you want to spend your time with analysis, not doing log conversion!
Why did we create Nitro?
We have been talking to a lot of people about their experience with process mining, both during our Ph.D. studies and, even more so, since we have started Fluxicon last year. And one topic just kept popping up: People love process mining, and the analysis results it can provide – but they just can’t figure out how to get started.
The most widely used process mining software today is ProM, an open source toolkit developed mainly at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. We have been leading contributors to ProM, during our time at TU/e and beyond, and it has grown into an immensely powerful and relatively mature application.
However, before you can start using ProM, you have to convert your log data into the MXML format used by ProM. During my time at TU/e I have developed the ProM_import_ framework, which is still the most widely used toolkit for converting logs to MXML. Yet, if your input format is not covered by one of the ProM_import_ plugins, you have the choice of programming your own, or giving up – and many people do the latter.
Process mining for the rest of us
We have found that most people get their log data from a database, dumped into CSV (comma-separated value) files. Curiously, the support for converting CSV data for process mining has been very poor, both in open source software like ProM_import_ and in commercial tools.
Nitro is our answer to that problem. It can read your data in CSV and Microsoft Excel format, and it provides an easy and user-friendly interface that allows you to get from CSV to MXML in a snap. In fact, using Nitro is so easy, we didn’t even include a manual. And of course, since we are speed freaks, we have made Nitro fast and powerful, so you will have to feed it a lot of data before it even starts to get slow.
The BPM 2010 conference
We will present Nitro next week at the upcoming BPM 2010 conference in New York. If you are there, please say hello or come to one of our demo sessions (see dates below). We will be happy to show you what Nitro can do for you!
At the BPM 2010 conference, there will also be two other interesting events for process mining people. First, there will be a meeting of the IEEE Task Force on Process Mining where, among other topics, the new XES standard will be made official. XES is the successor to MXML, and it provides many benefits over the venerable MXML, which will make process mining even more future-proof.
Second, the TU/e process mining group will introduce ProM 6, a completely redesigned version of ProM which supports the XES format. We have been leading the efforts to develop XES, the OpenXES library for ProM 6, and the new user interface layer for ProM 6, UITopia, so we very excited and proud of what our friends at TU/e have achieved. And of course, Nitro supports XES out of the box, so you won’t be left behind if you are an early adopter of ProM 6.
Go get some
We hope that you are as excited as we are about Nitro – we are convinced that Nitro is going to make process mining accessible to a large new group of people, and that is certainly a good thing in our book.
And if you are at the BPM 2010 conference, please say hello or come to one of our demo sessions:
Wednesday, 3:15 – 4:45, in the Demo Showcase session.
Thursday, 11:45 – 12:15, in the Calder room.
And last but not least, thanks to all the people that have inspired Nitro by telling us their real problems! Also, of course a big thanks to all our beta testers out there who helped us make Nitro stable and fast!