Process Mining Driving Operational Excellence and Digital Transformation
One of our Corporate Members is Dynafin Consulting. DynaFin Consulting provides its clients with pragmatic and flexible solutions within the financial services industry. Their proven value proposition is based on the combination of recognized finance expertise and a focus on the human aspects of the business (talent management) and project management (change management).
We had a talk with one of their Senior Managers, and an expert in Process Mining, Johan De Crée, on what process mining can bring to an organisation and how Dynafin Consulting can help financial services organisations in that journey.
Good Morning Johan. Please could you tell us who Dynafin is and what contributions you are making to the banking industry?
Johan De Crée: Dynafin Consulting has been operating in the Belgian Financial Industry for over 12 years. We are an experienced management consulting firm specialising in banking and insurance. With currently around 130 colleagues working on projects related to the domains of payments, credits, insurance and investment services. We expect to target and expand into the Benelux market in the very near future.
“Process Mining” gets much attention in the industry these days. Every financial institution is working on it. What does DynaFin consider the role of process mining in the process automation journey?
Johan De Crée: Dynafin Consulting made a strategic reflection about a year ago on our Business Process Management positioning in the market. Although we have always been very active in what we call “BPMN 1.0”, we considered further industrialising our offer and including a technological solution to support our business & methodology expertise. With this in mind, we started analysing the process mining solution and looked for a technological partner to support our offering in this area.
DynaFin partnered with Software AG, a tech giant that developed the ARIS product that provides Process Mining solutions. The idea of Process Mining is that you connect to your different databases and log data retrieved. The tool will create for you, or show you, which process is the most optimal one and how to automate your front-to-back processing. The tool can be connected across databases over different systems, giving you a complete view of your process.
Returning to the question, “Why process mining and why now?”: banks and insurers are faced with increased service level expectations, a need for 24/7 flawless processing, and ever-growing cost pressure. Our clients are constantly transforming to meet evolving customer expectations; they need to continuously monitor risk and compliance and, above all, provide a top-notch user experience. The way business process modelling was done in the past is no longer sufficient in these new market circumstances.
BPMN 2.0 needs to be able to document & review the processes (incl. potential risks & compliance issues) in real-time and, most notably, in an objective way. The new BPMN solutions, therefore, are data-driven and highly automated. This will shift the Process Management focus from purely documenting to analysing actionable process data.
I’ve already heard a couple of items that answer this question, but would you say that Process Mining is a cost-cutter or rather a value creator augmenting the wisdom of the people dealing with automation?
Johan De Crée: Clearly, it’s a value creator. Process Mining output helps our customers objectively measure their processes’ performance and identify additional process automation targets. Furthermore, as the tool can analyse your processes in real-time, it can help our clients in their transformation projects. It is especially powerful where different ‘To Be’ process scenarios need to be simulated and benchmarked with the existing ‘As Is’ way of working.
Coming back to your question, of course, one of the positive side effects of creating this value and automating your processes to the next level is that you will also be able to reduce costs.
Let’s deep-dive a bit more into how process mining solutions create value. After implementation and data mapping with your different databases, you can view your as-is processes in real-time as process flows are automatically drawn. You will see different process flows that visualise how colleagues are processing transactions. Based on this visual process information, our clients will learn that transactions are not always processed in a standardised way.
The tool has a drill-down functionality to identify the most commonly applied processes by the clients and/or the operational staff and provides insights into the most optimal process to use. Our clients can easily determine the quick wins, the less risky processes, the ones where the quality is the highest etc. So you will be able to have a look at your processes from different dimensions, all based on objective data & process flows.
Let’s compare it to more traditional ways of doing business process modelling. You will typically see expert process officers/managers sit next to the people working in the processing departments, write down how they work, and design process flows. When applying process mining, you shift capacity to having a discussion with your team based on objective data insights that show them the most optimised way of processing front-to-back transactions.
Take a customer onboarding process, for example, within a bank or an insurer. With the ARIS tool, we analysed for a DynaFin client around 2000 different customer onboardings. We extrapolated 150 different processes being applied, where operational staff went from process steps one to three to seven, back to two, and so on.
Together with our client, we identified the most commonly used way of processing customer onboarding, which 76% of the operators applied. We also identified the onboarding process, including the lowest errors (highest quality) and the process with the lowest throughput time. These three ways of onboarding customers were not necessarily the same. This is where you can start a strategic discussion on which process will be the target process. On top of this discussion, we could also identify a fair amount of tasks that could be further automated in the process by applying new technology.
So, it’s not just a matter of process mining finding the proper process to automate but also detecting many more automation opportunities than manual labour because of its rational and unbiased way of working. Is that correct?
Johan De Crée: Correct, applying the more traditional way, talking to users and experts in processing, is more subjective. It’s based on their experience. Operational staff will typically speak to you about the 20% of transaction processing exceptions, as this is their day-to-day where their expertise is needed. But you’re also interested in the 80% as these are typically the tasks you will be able to automate. So you need to speak with 20-30 different users to create a common process flow.
If you use a tool for process mining, you’re connecting to the data, and the data will show you how the users are working today; you eliminate subjectivity. You don’t need to speak to 20, 30 or 40 different users. You can use the data and then show them the different ways of working.
Data, data points, processes, systems, I hear these words a lot. What is required to make Process Automation a success within a bank? What do they need to get the full potential out of it?
Johan De Crée: If you want to succeed in business process modelling, you must move away from a one-time shot approach to a real-time continuous business process modelling setup. To keep up with a market that requests continuous risk monitoring, ongoing compliance with various and updating regulations, and so much more, you need systems and processes that are continuously adapting to new expectations of customers and regulators.
We can define the success of process modelling on different levels: users benefit, clients benefit and FI benefits. We can measure the success through different KPIs, be it your managed risks, an optimised user experience, your cost savings, operational error rates, etc.
Personally, I think the most important advantage of continuous BPM is the fact that you are armed and prepared to implement transformation programs with ease, for example, knowing that if you intend to change a process, you will be able to identify the impact on other processes as well.
BPMN 2.0, therefore, becomes one of the critical success factors in continuously transforming your business.
And what do banks need to do to fulfil that KPI to its full potential? Is there a one-size-fits-all for that, or is it really user-dependent?
Johan De Crée: We generally do a proof of concept with our clients to show the real potential of process mining tooling. Secondly, to fit into the client environment and their business process management governance, each client is organised differently.
Some have separate teams; some have teams in the operations, and others are on the IT side or the business side. It all depends on their process governance, but the most important thing is to get this proof of concept running. You need to demonstrate the added value, and the outcome of these process mining solutions.
One last question: How does Dynafin Consulting make a difference in helping banks on their customer automation and process mining journey?
Johan De Crée: Dynafin Consulting has always been very active within operational excellence, and we looked for a structured partnership. Two years ago, we found a powerful partner in Software AG, a software company commercialising the Aris platform. Most of our colleagues working in banking and insurance know Aris, especially from the platform, to do process modelling.
The Aris suite also has the process mining solution and a Robotics Process Automation module. Moreover, the product provides an enterprise management tool, where your risk and compliance departments can monitor the activity in real-time.
Our colleagues are all trained & certified in the BPM methodology. For two years, they have also been trained in Aris, which many of our clients already use. So we bring together technology and business knowledge and our expertise in the banking and insurance processes.