Organizations face pressure to be everything all at once. They need to be transparent while delivering profit to investors or shareholders. Provide competitively priced products and quick service. Evade the competition and be at the forefront of digitalization. The pressure is constantly on for organizations to deliver value in all these areas.

So, how can organizations flourish in an environment where speed and precision are paramount?

The answer: Agility. It’s been a buzzword for a few years now, but for good reason. This article will explore how companies can be more agile by empowering their workforce to make effective decisions on the fly, using tools like Business Intelligence (BI) and Process Mining in a governed self-service context. It will also explore how the mature BI market has influenced the growing Process Mining market, in terms of making data easy to understand and accessible to more people.

What’s the difference between Business Intelligence and Process Mining?


Gone are the days of top-down management, where direction is set by higher management and passed down onto their teams. In order to become a truly adaptive and thriving organization, employees need to be equipped with the right tools to make swift and informed decisions, so they can act there and then.

The prevalence of BI and Process Mining software is testament to this trend, as they both provide the power of objective insights. While BI is mature, Process Mining is still in the growth phase of software adoption. We have, however, observed that Process Mining is following a similar path to BI in relation to governed self-service.

Using reports, dashboards and visualizations, BI gives the end-user insight into business operations, mostly using KPI’s and performance metrics, providing a means for data-driven decision making.

On the other hand, Process Mining is used for targeted insight into your processes. It looks at a particular process in its entirety, so you can identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies and risks. In this respect, Process Mining is invaluable.

Wil van der Aalst, the godfather of Process Mining, provides a succinct explanation of the key difference between BI and Process Mining:

“(With BI) the focus is on data and local decision-making rather than end-to-end processes (Process Mining)”.

Essentially, Process Mining goes one step further than BI, by providing users with a dynamic interface. Where BI uses a static model of the process as a starting point to define KPI’s and monitor them, Process Mining starts with creating a dynamic process model. This is known as process discovery.

But what if we could take all the best parts of BI – effortless visualization, simple reporting and context, and apply them to Process Mining?

In other words, what can we learn from BI to make Process Mining more accessible?

Insights for all


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BI started out as a means for a small group of people, sometimes just one person from IT, who could gain data insights, and spread this information to management. The next stage, self-service BI, is less reliant on an IT gatekeeper, so analysts can create their reports for management. The downsides of self-service are threefold:

  1. Discrepancies: The same data can be interpreted in different ways by different people
  2. Security: One person has access to all backend data, when they only need a part of the data.
  3. Dependent: Reliance on one person to produce reports.

In the past, when horizontal reporting lines were favored, both governed and self-service approaches worked. But now, organizations can’t afford to wait for decisions to trickle down through the ranks, or rely on one person to supply their reports. Next to that, with the onslaught of big-data, companies simply can’t be exposed to security risks.

Organizations are increasingly recognizing the benefits of empowering employees and management to make everyday decisions, using a bottom-up approach.

A bottom-up management approach goes hand-in-hand with governed self-service.

With governed self-service, data is safe and consistent, but individuals can access the specific data for their own reports and analysis. Governed self-service also enables non-technical management to obtain insights related to their decision making.

What can Process Mining learn from Business Intelligence?


As reporting lines become more horizontal, BI tools have become available to a greater number and level of users. One of the factors that has encouraged the democratization of BI tools – such as Qlik, Tableau and Power BI – are powerful visualization capabilities.

Effective visualization in BI is a by-product of the governed self-service solution, as more people need to obtain information and insights from complex data. We now see a similar trend in the sphere of Process Mining.

Process Mining, although newer than BI, is following a similar path to its well-known counterpart. Most tools are now at the stage of self-service; however, ProcessGold is an early adopter of governed self-service.

Enterprises realize in order to gain the most value out of Process Mining, they need to equip all process owners with Process Mining capabilities, enabling them to make smart decisions quickly.

The best of both worlds

Believe it or not, ProcessGold started out as a visualization software company. It all began back in 2005, when we emerged as a spin-off from Eindhoven University of Technology, creating software focused on making complex data understandable at a glance. We then moved into BI, before eventually seeing the need for a more holistic approach to analyzing processes and becoming a company solely focused on Process Mining.

The unique advantage of ProcessGold lies in its origins as a BI tool, which means we know the importance of linking processes to overall business strategy, making insights easy to understand and accessible to even non-technical users.

Visualization, for example, is an important tenet of modern-BI, that other Process Mining tools sometimes overlook. Visualization is driven by making insights easy to understand and contextual for users. You can read our separate article on Visualization for an in-depth look.

Our patent-pending TRACY process graph was developed to enhance the visualization and interpretability of processes. An industry first, it radically changed the way in which we visualize processes.

The ProcessGold tool also includes the ability to view historical trends to compare and monitor performance to a previous period. A traditional BI capability, we saw the advantage of using the same functionality to add value to Process Mining.

Overall, our experience in visualization and BI still inspires how we develop our Process Mining application.  Effective visualization makes Process Mining user friendly and understandable – thus making it more valuable.

Key takeaway

In order to remain agile, companies must empower their workforce. A direct way of doing this is providing tools that empower process owners to make effective and clear-sighted decisions. This is the only way companies can remain competitive in a fast-paced environment. A key consideration is ensuring the tools are user-friendly without compromising on the quality of data.

Process Mining software has a lot to learn from BI to make data accessible to a wider number of users. At ProcessGold, we strive to ensure the platform is as user-friendly and effective as possible, and we’ve been able to do this by drawing on our experience in visualization and BI.

However, it doesn’t stop there. We are constantly looking for ways to make our platform even better to suit the needs of the constantly adapting enterprise. Stay tuned for more developments!

Happy Mining!

Sven-BegoSven Bego, Product Manager @ProcessGold
Grace-WangGrace Wang, Content Marketer @ProcessGold