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Deliver System Migration Projects Faster And Better By Using Process Mining

Following our last blog, this entry shows in detail how using process mining can ensure that the benefits from a system migration are maximized.

ERP implementation, upgrades, legacy replacement and any other type of system migration projects are often delivered late and over budget, and do not deliver all the benefits that were outlined in the business case.  This blog discusses how using process mining before, during, and after a system migration reduces delivery cost and time and ensures that the benefits from the system migration are maximised.

Prior to Migration

Documenting ‘As-Is’ processes

One of the early tasks in a System Migration project is to document the ‘as-is’ processes. Often businesses assume they can use their existing process documentation as a basis for this. However, process documentation is often out of date and never truly reflects what happens in the processes anyway.

If it is decided to properly review and document the ‘as-is’ processes, this can be a time consuming and costly undertaking, requiring multiple workshops involving business analysts and subject matter experts from across the business. And the resulting process maps are based on how people perceive the processes to be working, not how they are actually working.

Furthermore, all the variants to the main (expected) process paths will not be captured.  When these variants are not identified until UAT or worse, after go-live, the resulting Change Requests add cost and delay to a project.

With Process Mining you get the ‘as-is’ process maps in a fraction of the time and effort. What’s more, you get to see how the processes are actually operating, not how people perceive the processes to be working. And you get to see all the process variants so you can ensure they are covered in the ‘to-be’ processes and avoid costly Change Requests down the track.  

Understand ‘as-is’ process performance, fix issues, and simplify

When planning a System Migration project, a lot of businesses don’t have an accurate view of how well their ‘as-is’ processes are actually performing. They will be aware of some inefficiencies, but there’s often an expectation that the new system will magically fix these. As a result, businesses often end up migrating inefficient processes to a new system……and the processes remain inefficient after the migration.

However, by using Process Mining before starting a System Migration, you quickly get to see how well the ‘as-is’ processes are operating. Dashboards can be easily created containing process visualisations and KPIs. This is useful to highlight performance issues that need to be improved by the system migration (e.g. throughput time, rework %, or automation %) and it provides a baseline view of the processes so that the benefits can be accurately measured after the system migration has been completed.

The above dashboard is showing the performance of “as-is” process before a system migration. Process Mining can also identify where the bottlenecks and rework are occurring in a process, and combined with the faster root cause analysis that is available with Process Mining, these inefficiencies can either be fixed before migrating to the new system or recorded as issues to be addressed when designing the ‘to be’ processes.

Identify bottlenecks and rework to fix before the system migration. The System Migration can be de-risked further by simplifying the processes before migrating them. As mentioned previously, Process Mining provides visibility of all the process path variants – a view that normally wouldn’t be available. Knowledge of these variants combined with the fast root cause analysis provided by Process Mining, enables companies to simplify their processes before migrating them.

Once your ‘to-be’ processes have been designed, you can also use process mining to run simulations of the ‘to-be’ processes to show how they will perform in the new system. This de-risks the system migration by identifying any potential problems early and therefore avoiding Change Requests later. The Simulation feature of Process Mining is an extensive topic by itself, and will be covered in a future blog.

During Migration

Reduce the risk of issues after go-live with more comprehensive testing

The comprehensive view of a process provided by Process Mining, enables a more complete test plan to be created that covers all the process path variants. As a result, Functional and User Acceptance Testing will be more robust, which in turn minimises the risk of Change Requests and issues occurring post go-live.

Process Mining also provides visibility of test coverage, by clearly showing all the path variants that have been tested. If any process variants have not been tested, this will be clearly visible to the test manager.

Post Go-live

Monitoring from Day 1

Cutting over to a new system will often involve a pilot set of customers or products so that the processes in the new system can be monitored for a while to ensure there are no significant issues before rolling out to the full customer or product base.

Process Mining is the best way to monitor the new processes from day 1. The dashboards and process visualisations previously created while analyzing the ‘as-is’ processes can be replicated to show the performance of the processes in the new system. This enables any issues to be identified earlier than normal, and even more useful – issues that you are not looking for can be also identified.

In addition, automatic alerts can be configured to notify the team of issues if they occur. For example, notifications for the occurrence of a particular process path (e.g. rework loop), or notification of any cases that have been at a particular stage in the process longer than a specified time.

Measure the benefits of your System Migration

Post Implementation reviews often occur more than 3 months after a system migration has been completed and require effort to collect data and generate reports.

Process Mining enables the benefits of the new system to be measured and tracked sooner than normal after go-live. Dashboards comparing key metrics and process visualisations for the new and old systems can be created with minimal effort. This provides early feedback on how the benefits are tracking, which enables corrective action to be taken early if benefits are not tracking as expected – instead of waiting 3 months.

De-risk your system migration project with Process Mining

In summary, Process Mining can significantly de-risk your system migration.

Before migrating – it helps you understand how the processes are actually working, enabling you to fix issues and simplify the processes. This helps to avoid costly Change Requests later in the project.

During the migration – it enables more comprehensive test plans and a more accurate view of test coverage.

After the migration – it enables you to monitor the new processes from day 1, identifying issues and track benefits faster than normal.