In the last several years, process mining and it's next evolution, process discovery has redefined how companies can map, model, and manage business processes.
These approaches are more effective than the techniques of the yore. In the past, a cadre of business analysts was responsible for documenting process maps with a variety of techniques including interviewing the subject matter experts, shadowing process participants, and reviewing current state manuals. The resulting process maps and the consequent current state analysis was a critical input into defining a future operating model.
Whether it is done by internal business analysts or high caliber business consultants, the results of current state process documentation left a lot to be uncovered. However, that is not necessarily the fault of the analysts/consultants. As humans, we know more than what we can tell and often do not point out what becomes second nature and an integral part of our routine. Furthermore, with human analyst-based process documentation, it is impossible to document more than a couple of process paths – a so-called “golden process or happy path” and one exception path. But the reality is most processes have dozens of minor and major variants that have subtle nuances and divergent paths. We call these undiscovered process variants as the invisible enterprise.
The fragility of this current state process mapping leads to several downstream implications in operating model design, process re-engineering, automation, and transformation – almost always an adverse impact.
Because large firms typically hire consultants for any significant current state process analysis, it is a strategic imperative for consulting firms to leverage techniques such as process mining and process discovery.
We believe process mining and process discovery techniques can be a powerful weapon in a consultant’s arsenal to uncover the invisible enterprise. In particular, AI-based process discovery platforms such as Skan can be powerful allies and supplement and complement the capabilities of consulting firms.
Process Discovery and Consulting
Here are ways that consultancies can use process discovery in helping clients.
- Complement Evidence to your Expertise: Consulting firms bring tremendous expertise to the table. Adding the evidence – think of process discovery as an X-Ray or CT Scan of an enterprise – to the expertise can be a potent combination.
- Define Target Operating Model based on a Structurally Sound Thesis: Process discovery unearths the complex underlying operational blueprint and generates digital process twins. This blueprint and digital process twins will help consulting firms simulate, model, and design processes with high fidelity.
- Add Expertise to the Evidence: As you are able to add evidence to your expertise, consultants can add expertise to the evidence and enrich the information. For example, consulting firms possess a treasure trove of benchmarking data and process metrics. Leveraging these metrics and benchmarks, consulting firms can analyze the process blueprint and deliver insightful analysis and actionable advice.
- Re-Engineer with Precision: Knowing the full picture and the vivid details of underlying processes will lead to better re-engineering of operations and optimizing the processes.
- Power Automation and Transformation: Often, current state process mapping is a 4-6 week engagement in the discovery stage but consulting firms earn their spurs (and revenues) on what comes next – the operationalization of the consulting advice in terms of optimization, automation, and transformation.
Skan team is keen on partnering with strategy, operational, and IT consulting firms to add evidence to expertise. (To be on the same page, Skan is an AI-powered process discovery engine that observes human work – unobtrusively, at scale, and with high precision – and from the digital traces of work compiles a process metamodel that paints processes in vivid detail.)
Please get in touch with the Skan team to explore opportunities for collaboration that can result in a win-win-win for all parties.
Satya Iluri is Vice President of Strategy, Marketing, and Customer Success at Skan, an AI-powered process mining and process discovery platform.