How to Monitor and Measure Business Processes
With tools like UltimateSuite and Task Mining for automated business process analysis, you can collect and analyze data about activities within your organization. This allows you to effectively manage employee productivity, make informed decisions, and save costs. But where do you start? How do you identify areas for change without having to rely on manual observation or lengthy data evaluation by consultants? We spoke with Robert Šamánek, the founder and owner of UltimateSuite, about how automated business process analysis works and why collecting high-quality data is important. How does UltimateSuite work in practice? UltimateSuite collects data on key activities within a company. It captures how users work within the application portfolio, and then performs cleansing, aggregation, licensing utilization checks, and evaluation. One tremendous advantage is that deploying the tool within the client's environment is completely non-invasive and can be done within hours. It can be configured to focus on specific areas and anonymize data accordingly, depending on the specific business questions we want to answer. And from the second day onwards, we have real, hard data that every manager responsible for a specific process or team needs. This applies even across the entire company, without requiring any changes to the applications used by employees. "One tremendous advantage is that deploying the tool within the client's environment is completely non-invasive and can be done within hours. We can configure it to focus on specific areas and anonymize data accordingly. We can answer specific business questions, and from the second day onwards, we have real, hard data." Such a tool is certainly beneficial in the current work-from-home environment where most employees are located. Yes, that's true. The analytics performed on the data can quickly identify bottlenecks, not only within processes but also in application response times, user activity patterns, and more. This allows for optimization and transformation of not only processes but also the focus on individual SLAs. Furthermore, significant benefits can arise from what we call "soft changes," such as reallocating employees to other tasks they can perform more efficiently based on the collected data. The original tasks can then be assigned to other employees, such as temporary workers, to increase overall performance. With UltimateSuite, managers at all levels have access to objective information. They can effectively manage employee productivity, measure the efficiency of processes, services, and strategies, as well as eliminate manual and time-consuming reporting. The visual dashboard and measured data help efficiently utilize behavioral patterns and types for detailed analysis. In this context, I would like to add a topic that often comes up in discussions with clients. UltimateSuite is not primarily about monitoring specific individuals. Although at the lowest level, such data is also used, it undergoes anonymization, aggregation, and subsequent recommendations based on the solution's configuration. The goal is not to "chase" specific individuals but to find systemic recommendations that significantly improve the overall organization, including applications (their response, design logic), processes (how things are processed in which steps), work regulations, activities, and people (competencies, timeframes, substitutes). How much can clients save through automated business process analysis? It varies, but based on the implementations we have carried out, we can guarantee minimum savings of over 10 percent. There have been cases where more than 30 percent savings were achieved based on a four-week data sample. However, that can be considered an extreme case. Nevertheless, we believe that the data we collect and analyze, which is not typically easy to obtain, adds tremendous value to our solution. Based on the processed results, Task Mining has significant potential. The return on implementation investment is typically calculated in months, which is highly appealing. When is it appropriate to implement UltimateSuite?
In general, anytime the organization as a whole or individual process owners, departments, or specific agendas want to delve into the productivity and effectiveness of what they do in more detail. And it doesn't matter if it's the so-called back office or branch network management. Our solution finds its application everywhere. And the data it obtains reflects reality in such detail (and so easily) that it's hard to obtain otherwise. Because here, you also get maps of how users process individual forms down to the last button.
With this information, you can truly manage and improve efficiently. You don't base your decisions on significantly higher aggregated data than you actually need. Otherwise, unfortunately, your considerations are either partially supported or guided by "market standards." Which is very misleading because every company has its specific characteristics. Or it's just about the experience of a particular manager or even just assumptions. And that can hardly lead to optimal results.
Data collection is a big topic now. How can we ensure the data is of high quality?
The data we collect from clients, process, and present within dashboards truly reflects reality. It stems from specific user activities across the application portfolio. You can't have better data in principle. Then it's about presenting and interpreting it correctly. That requires a certain level of experience, an understanding of what users actually do. But our dashboards are mostly pre-prepared to answer key questions quickly and clearly. And these key questions are basically the same or very similar for most organizations. That's why even the basic set of reports is a tremendous benefit. Clients can then work with the data, address their own customer processing, find additional information necessary for management and changes.
"Thanks to UltimateSuite, managers at all levels have access to objective information to manage employee productivity, measure the efficiency of processes or services and strategies, or eliminate manual and time-consuming reporting."
In 2020, UltimateSuite was designated by Gartner as a Task Mining solution. What does that mean?
Task Mining allows companies to have a complete overview of user performance within the application portfolio. That is, it captures specific activities performed on the portfolio. Task Mining overlaps with Process Mining in some areas but is more of a complementary solution. While Process Mining maps and collects data across the company from system logs, Task Mining focuses on the activities of individual users in specific tasks. I would also like to emphasize that Gartner not only labeled UltimateSuite as a Task Mining solution but also included it in the list of a few of the most advanced tools globally. This is, of course, a great testament to its quality.
"I believe that within 4-5 years, Task Mining will become a standard feature of every larger company."
What direction will Task Mining take in the future?
In general, Task Mining has been preceded by Process Mining in recent years, which is still on the rise. And Task Mining, as current trends show, will at least catch up with it, if not surpass it. Personally, I think it will surpass it. Its undeniable advantage is that it is significantly easier to deploy compared to Process Mining. At the same time, even partial implementation, for example, for a small department of 10 people, makes sense for its manager. That doesn't apply to Process Mining. It needs to span across the entire organization (or at least a key part from the measured area's perspective). And in any form, it can't offer the same level of detail on how end-users actually work. And that's its beauty.
I believe that within 4-5 years, Task Mining will become a standard feature of every larger company. A kind of daily hygiene tool, if you will. It will be possible to continuously measure and evaluate hundreds and perhaps thousands of individual activities that occur on a daily basis.
It will be like an X-ray across the organization. Thanks to it, you will be able to immediately identify areas for improvement. Or identify areas for mentoring, training, or where to move SLAs. Where and what makes sense to automate using RPA, what to transform completely, and more. It will be an essential part of continuous improvement."