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The Measures and Metrics

A process Mining solution is somehow a “Measuring solution”.

But what we’ll need to measure ? The very good news here is, contrary to the “wild wild world” of Data Mining, we can more easily define the different measures (or KPI) we want to focus on when doing Process Mining. Indeed in the Data Mining “world” almost everything can be measured, forecasted, etc. Of course all of these measures depends on the data itself, but this is an another subject we’ll focus on later.

In the Process Mining area we’re only focusing on Processes (contrary to the Data Mining which focuses mainly on “flat” data for example). As we’ve seen before a process (whatever the process role) is based on different steps or activities. For sure these steps can be sequential or parallel, having several branches, but they are still a list of tasks driven by decisions. So a process can be seen as a tree. Each leaf of this tree is a step into the process.

But, what we need measure most of the time is related to time and/or cost. Of course it will be possible to add more metrics but when investigating a process these two kinds of KPIs are the most frequently used.

Typical measures or KPIs:

  • Cost
  • Time
  • Duration
  • Resources
  • Prices
  • Savings

Catagorical measures like Quality can also be integrated in the analysis but they are more complicated to evaluate as they need a global and agreed definition beforehand. For these particular measures we always try to transform this metric value in a measurable value.

It’s also interesting to take a look at the Six Sigma (DMAIC) methodology as this method needs to be fed by such metrics or KPI the Process Mining will provide at the end. But at this stage we need to define the measure we’ll need to focus on. A measure is a metric or a KPI which means something to the business. In fact these measures are typically deducted from the previous requirements and must be agreed by the business himself. Most of the time we take in account the Time and cost dimensions but other dimensions can also be considered like:

  • Location
  • Personas, employees, suppliers, etc. (we’ll see this dimension in detail soon)
  • Business organization
  • Product or service
  • Category

In fact this really depends on the process and obviously the business activity. But listing the metrics we’ll need to set up is really important at this stage.

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