Can 2 plus 2 equal 8? Process Mining and dynamic BPM

Learning organization 2Traditional, static process management, in which process executors are expected to accurately execute optimal (ideal) processes prepared by the management, is no longer sufficient in the times of hyper-competition. There are no ideal processes anymore. The pace and the unpredictability of changes, the growing importance of knowledge, as well as other factors, necessitate a departure from traditional process management toward dynamic BPM.

The first principle of dynamic BPM, “Process execution should guarantee evolutionary flexibility”, allows for the constant verification of older, as well as the creation of newer knowledge by process executors in the course of their day-to-day work. The second principle, “Processes are considered completed only after having been documented”, allows for this knowledge to be disclosed and shared, as well as for the results of its implementation to be analyzed. This, of course, is possible only if you can of specific methodology and software, which can extract this knowledge from the logs of various systems and IT tools.

This is the role of Process Mining, a rapidly-growing technology, which enables companies to uncover knowledge which was previously hidden in the organization, as long as such knowledge is applied in daily work. It would seem that both these concepts work much better together than separately. In general:

  • Dynamic BPM gains a tool which allows for the quick analysis and application of knowledge created by a wide range of process executors.
  • Process Mining gains a source, a location for creating knowledge, which is then made public, shared throughout the organization, and applied.

The aim is to uncover, share, and make knowledge applicable in the organization before the competition. Or perhaps we should add that this is to be done on an ongoing basis, because this process must be as continuous as the changes in an organization themselves. In this sense, dynamic BPM allows for the change of organizational culture and the creation of a flexible and fast mechanism of verifying current knowledge, as well as acquiring or creating new knowledge. Each of the Process Mining contexts enables the analysis of different aspects of knowledge application, but in each we are dealing with the factual, objective evaluation of the knowledge by a specific customer (or customers). The main advantage of Process Mining is the speed and flexibility of uncovering new knowledge and presenting the results of verifying older knowledge. Of course, this work is also possible within the framework of a traditional audit or other methods of process verification, but in this case:

  • The time of realization will be much longer and the costs much higher (and the competition does not sleep)
  • These results will inevitably have to be averaged and as such, will not take into account all of the hundreds, or thousands, or sometimes even hundreds of thousands of individual process executions. The fact that clients expect processes to be individualized is one thing, but often even individual, innovative process executions might carry knowledge on new potential opportunities (active experiments which pave the way to “blue oceans”).
  • The results will be subjective and will consist of not only an objective assessment in the form of process output indicators, but might also include the covert, unfavorable opinion of the assessors themselves, which carries the threat of preferring old knowledge and dismissing new knowledge a priori.

Dynamic BPM and Process Mining are, for organizations competing under the conditions of hyper-competition, weapons with a crucial role similar to that of the air force in World War II. Thanks to the knowledge acquired, they enable strong attacks on the well-armored positions of the competitors, before the competitors manage to swim close enough to fire from their big guns or even get a clear picture of the position from which the attack came in the first place. The combination of dynamic BPM and Process Mining provides a genuine advantage to fast-paced and maneuverable organizations, which know how to make use of the collective dynamism of their employees. At the end of the day, it was the air force which was responsible for the Pearl Harbor massacre. And it was the air force which sank the largest ships of the line in Japan and Germany, which until that time were able to emerge victorious from each traditional naval battle. From there on, however, victories were decided by battles fought with entirely different rules of warfare.

Is it possible, then, that the rules of competition will change once again due to the use of new technologies in the radical acceleration of the discovery and application of knowledge?

Will the practical application of the concept of a learning organization be possible? An organization which will finally gain a framework and technologies which will guarantee the ongoing creation and verification and rapid extension of knowledge?

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By Marek Szelagowski @ dynamic BPM | July 31, 2013

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