Focus before you scale - The first steps to Process mining
The right tool, for the right task, used in the right way
Process Mining is one of the best tools to discover, monitor and improve processes in your organisation. It is important, however, to carefully consider your requirements and needs. Deloitte has helped many clients across various industries to choose, test, implement and scale their process mining tools successfully. This article deep-dives into the first step: how to focus before you act and scale.
In the third article of our series on process mining we take a closer look at the first step in the focus, act, and scale approach. Focusing is critical to deploying a successful process mining tool which is adopted within the organisation, makes an impact and ensures a return on investment. The focus phase is the first attempt to mine process data, build process transparency and arrive at the right insights through implementation of selected proof of concepts. Not all organisations have the same requirements, and not all process mining tools are built equally. Therefore organisations need to focus carefully on selecting the right tool first.
There are a plethora of process mining tools in the market with various strengths, weaknesses and licencing costs. Buying the biggest and most expensive hammer is not the best solution when you need a screwdriver. It’s vital to seek out the most effective solution.
What questions should you be asking before commencing your process mining journey?
Once you have decided that process mining can bring value to your organisation, a few focus questions must be answered to ensure you are using the (1) right tool, for the (2) right task in the (3) right way:
1. The right tool:
a. How much am I willing to pay to license the tool?
b. How well does it integrate with my data sources (ERP, CRM)?
c. What features do I really need (i.e. do I also want Robotic Process Automation and Business Process Modelling capabilities)?
d. How user-friendly is the system?
2. The right task:
a. What processes and functional areas do I want to mine (e.g. Procurement, Order Management, R&D, Human Resources, IT, etc.)?
b. What data is available, and to what degree of quality?
c. Which integration is needed?
d. Do I need to automate processes?
3. The right way
a. On-premise or in the cloud?
b. Who in the organisation will make use of process mining?
c. Does the team have the capabilities to use the tools?
d. Can the team drive change in the organisation?
To answer the above questions, a rigorous process needs to be undertaken, to ensure you not only choose the right tool, but also prepare the team to unlock opportunities in the process.
Where do you start with your journey?
The first step is to look at where the organisation is missing out on value. Value is achieved by creating transparency in the process, enabling the identification of problems, and quickly resolving these problems. Identifying the right process will depend on your organisation’s strategy and current pain points. The underlying value creation cycle remains consistent though: using your data to generate transparency to drive improvements and ultimately value.
What process should you follow in order to focus?
Upon purchasing your process mining tool of choice and in order to maximise your return on investment, Deloitte recommends following a structured process to assess the opportunity through a proof of concept. Scaling too quickly and bringing the big hammer solution will inevitably do more damage as your organisation will lose trust in the tool.
As a rule of thumb it takes anywhere between 6 to 10 weeks from the start to the end of a proof of concept, depending on the complexity of the process and the availability of the underlying data required in the source systems. Ensuring business engagement throughout is imperative. This ensures that only the right opportunities are selected. In addition, teams begin to become familiar with the technology and see how powerful process mining can be.
Once the opportunity and process area is identified, the data is extracted, the proof of concept is live and the road to continuous improvement has begun. In just over one month you will have a new view of your organisation and where potential large opportunities for improvement reside.
Our approach to developing a first Proof of Concept can help organizations rapidly leverage process mining to not only gain insights and transparency but drive tangible optimizations in the process.
How will you be able to use the tool?
With the proof of concept in place, it may be hard to process the enhanced new view of the organization. To bring this data to life, dashboards are designed for every layer in the organisation to help drive decision-making, understand risks and ultimately drive improvement opportunities.
The right tool used the right way for the right task
Hospitals are full of data but finding the right tasks and data to mine are crucial to generating value. To identify and focus on value, it is best to look first at high-cost operations and areas of high variable cost. One of the most cost-intensive and critical areas in a hospital is surgery; hence it is a good place to begin. The large value drivers in surgery are maximising utilisation while at the same time ensuring adherence to strict medical guidelines.
Key opportunities in the process are as follows:
1. Surgery punctuality: Utilisation can be improved by ensuring operations start on time according to the surgery schedule
2. Changing cycles between surgeries: Decreasing the total time it takes to set up and prepare the surgery room increases the total surgery time available
3. Patient movements: Minimising the waiting time transporting patients in a hospital decreases the total standing time in the operating theatre and will improve total utilisation
4. Room allocations: Ensuring appropriate allocation of operating theatres leads to high utilisation, optimised room and patient preparation and predictable operations that ultimately save lives.
Identify the process performance indicators (PPI’s):
- First surgery punctuality
- Preparation time and total surgery time
- Time planned vs. actual time
- Waiting times (Patient logistics, anaesthesia, operating theatre preparation, and cleaning)
Operating theatre utilisation improvements
By measuring performance in real time, hospitals have an effective tool to identify opportunities to improve efficiency. Understanding delays will allow hospitals to act and promote the right behaviour; and the focus on high-cost operations will ensure that the process mining effort unlocks real value while also potentially saving more lives.
Other uses of process mining in healthcare:
- Emergency department: Process mining can build a comprehensive model of intake procedures using existing data. This enables emergency room providers to predict and prepare for busy times, optimise patient movement time, and identify future process bottlenecks
- Care delivery: Patients expect more and more from their healthcare providers, including personalised correspondence and a great digital experience. Process mining can help visualise the customers’ experience and potentially help identify new and improved communication channels
- Billing and revenue cycle management: Complex manual methods of billing and collections can make it time-consuming and costly to recover payments. Using existing data hospitals can build digital twins of their operations and automate debt collection, reduce bad debts and monitor patient data and treatment to minimise complaints and maximise revenue.
Deloitte Centre for Process Bionics
If you are interested in learning more about how process mining can bring significant process transparency, organisational agility, customer-centricity and cost efficiency to your organisation, please get in touch with one of our process mining experts.
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