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What is Process Intelligence?

What is Process Intelligence?

Like we need another buzzword to keep track of, right?

New business terms are way too often introduced just as a way to repackage some existing concept or functionality just to be able to charge more for it. But Process Intelligence is so much more than that – it is a new way of attacking the largest challenge modern businesses and organizations face.

We live in a time of never ending and increasingly rapid change, where organisations and workflows constantly have to adapt. Shorter product life cycles and increasing global competition leads to more and more complex solutions in order to stay competitive, regardless of industry. This makes it very difficult to have a good overview of our flows and processes. Gone are the days where the factory foreman could overview the entire operation from his office balcony and spot any sign of trouble with his own eyes.

Process Intelligence is a concept that aims to regain that control and improve the organisation’s ability to understand, analyze and improve their process flows. The idea is to have a constantly updated and dynamic view of the operational processes, combined with smart functions for detecting deviations and bottlenecks. This makes it a great tool for operations managers (COO, process owners etc), quality management or business analysts in their work with improving operational efficiency and quality. 

The concept is based on three primary sets of functionality:

Discovery

Traditionally, the information required for mapping process flows has been gathered manually. Process Intelligence is a shortcut in this effort as it instead leverages the data already stored in business IT systems. Based on event logs and timestamps in these, visual process charts and analytical models are automatically created. The results can then be presented in reports and dashboards, so the right people always have an up-to-date view of the current flows for any unit, product or other subset.

Example of automatically generated process chart, showing how many times each activity has occured

Analysis

Business processes are seldom linear. They usually contain deviations, planned as well as unintended. These deviations usually affect the performance and quality of the process. Process Intelligence quantifies the impact of these deviations, allowing us to see the most harmful variations (low hanging fruit for process improvement initiatives), as well as the best performing variations (that can be used as best practice for internal benchmarking).  

Analytical view showing the relative frequency of each event, as compared between two different organisational units

Monitoring

New problems and deviations tend to emerge over time. Since Process Intelligence uses a direct connection the the business systems, the results can be refreshed at any time to track changes over time. This gives us early detection of new problems, as well as the ability to validate the impact of any improvement initiatives or changes.

Summary view showing the relative probability of delays for each combination of managers and product groups

Together, these three capabilities provides an excellent foundation for operational improvement initiatives, either as one-offs, or preferably as continuous improvement programs. Compared with traditional approaches to gathering this information, Process Intelligence mean big savings in time and effort, ability to work with a broader set of processes and flows and a way of detecting problems we would otherwise never hear of.

In other words, much more than an empty buzzword.

Peter Selberg
Founder and CEO, Agilon Analytics