We Had Fun At Process Mining Camp 2023!
Last week’s Process Mining Camp was wonderful! It felt like a family reunion, in a good way. We had a full program and plenty of time to interact with the community.
We started by welcoming the campers and telling them that the Process Mining Café is now also available as a podcast. The café is an extension of the discussions in our camp community and has covered a broad range of topics, from process mining research, over specific use cases, up to various aspects of the process mining methodology.1
As a continuation of the previous Process Mining Café, we then talked a bit more about data preparation. There are various phases of data preparation, some inside and some outside of Disco. We showed examples from different phases and gave tips for preparing the data to keep maximum flexibility in your analysis.
We also recommended that the campers think about their own strengths and knowledge gaps. Process analysts might consider adding some data preparation skills (like learning an ETL tool) because this will empower them to be even more independent. In turn, data specialists can benefit from familiarizing themselves with process analysis methodologies and picking up some change management skills.
Eric N. Kildea — Radwell International, USA
Eric Kildea from Radwell in the United States was the first speaker. Radwell buys, sells, and repairs industrial automation and electrical control equipment and Eric vividly showed us the complexity behind these physical processes. Previously, they had already tried mapping their processes manually, but this was very difficult. At the same time, they had terabytes of data, which he thought they should be able to use more constructively.
Eric worked closely with the process managers and experts for all his process mining projects. They know their processes very well. From their years of experience, they have developed a gut feeling about what is happening. Using process mining, they could then compare their gut feeling with the process reality. Eric showed two different cases. One identified over 16,000 items that should be shipped to specific branches. The other one resulted in hiring staff in a department that was just understaffed, given the increase in incoming items.
Stefan Wick — Universitätshospital Zürich, Switzerland
Stefan Wick from USZ in Switzerland presented two examples from the hospital setting. One case was a re-organization case: Nine hospital business units had to be reorganized into three new divisions. The goal was to group existing departments that work closely together in the same division, where possible. Stefan used process mining to analyze the relationship between clinics based on the sum of their interactions to ensure the correct placement.
At camp, Stefan showed in detail both the massaging of the data he had to do and the resulting views he could create in Disco. Overall, he had to split the data, duplicate records, sort events, split cases, and aggregate unit descriptions to the right granularity. He also encouraged the campers to use the recipe functionality to keep good track of their analyses.
Xhentilo Karaj — Euroclear, Belgium
Xhentilo Karaj from Euroclear in Belgium showed us step-by-step what the usage of process mining in an internal audit project looks like. He started with a checklist for the applicability of process mining in the Business Understanding phase. He then went through the Fieldwork, Clearance, and Reporting phases based on a concrete example.
In each phase, he looked at the challenges but also the opportunities that process mining brings compared to the classical audit approach. For example, traditionally, the analysis in the Fieldwork phase is based on samples and interviews. In contrast, process mining can be used to test the full population of data. In the Clearance phase, process mining changes the relationship with the auditee due to the fact-based observations.
Franck Diafouka, Ruth Zonanashvili & Mithra Gruber — European Medicines Agency
Franck Diafouka from the European Medicines Agency talked about capacity building as the process of strengthening organizations’ and people’s skills, abilities, and knowledge. Over time, they have moved from a centralized Centre of Excellence to a decentralized model, where process owners, internal auditors, and internal controllers all build up their own expertise and collaborate in an inter-group knowledge-sharing setting.
Franck also shared their experience from establishing a Working Group on Process Mining across different EU organizations and how they explore process mining for risk assessments. Mithra Gruber then connected the various stakeholders of process mining to challenges beyond technical aspects. For example, ethical considerations are essential to avoid staff discrimination by colleagues or management. Furthermore, data protection and privacy must be ensured to comply with EU DPR and other legislation.
Vanessa Schindler — T4media GmbH, Germany
Vanessa Schindler from T4media in Germany gave the last practice talk of the day. Vanessa’s job is to optimize and personalize websites for their customers, and she showed us what process mining adds to the toolbox of a customer journey analyst. Of course, she still uses web analytics tools like Google Analytics, but process mining helps her focus on the user’s actual behavior.
Technically, the data is available without any problems: The Case ID is the user on the website, the Activity is the pagename of the website, the Timestamp is the time of the visit of the site. What is difficult is the complexity of the user journeys: The data needs to be simplified to answer targeted questions. Vanessa demonstrated to us, based on several examples, how this works.
In the afternoon, we dove into three parallel workshops. The first workshop was a discussion workshop, in which the participants talked about various challenges that emerge when process mining is applied in an audit. It was an extension of the discussion about the challenges that Mithra presented from the working group before.
The second workshop put the campers in action to develop their own project plan. Based on a framework of identifying a process, the goals of the project, the stakeholders, and risks, a planning with deliverables for each phase was established.
In the third workshop, we worked hands-on on several process mining analysis questions in Disco. We saw that even seemingly simple questions could become quite complicated once you try to make them concrete enough to answer with the process mining tool.
Meeting the Community
In addition to all the learning, practicing, and knowledge exchange, it was just lovely to see everyone again. Some of us could finally meet each other in person after interacting virtually for a long time. So, there were a lot of lively conversations in the breaks between the sessions.
At the end of the day, we could enjoy the beautiful summer weather in a relaxing atmosphere over our BBQ and drinks. Everyone was talking about process mining and everything else. It was the cherry on top of a really nice day before finally saying goodbye.
You can sign up at our camp mailing list here to receive the video recordings and slides of this year’s presentations.
We already look forward to next year’s camp. See you then!