End-user’s corner: Aziz Yarahmadi

end-users corner

Talking with Aziz Yarahmadi

Aziz Yarahmadi is a Senior Process Excellence Manager, Process Mining & Analytics Lead at Delivery Hero. He shares with us his experience and thoughts on process mining from the viewpoint of his professional life.

Aziz, tell us a bit about you!

I have been a Business Process Excellence Senior Manager & Process Mining Lead at Delivery Hero for more than 2.5 years now. Previously, I worked as BI Lead in Management Consulting. In addition, I’ve also spent a couple of years as a BPM lecturer and researcher at various universities.

Where and when did you first hear about process mining, Aziz?

At the University of Hasselt. It is my Alma Mater, my first touchpoint to process mining. There is a dedicated research group to process mining there, which has considerably contributed to process mining development in different scopes. I got first acquainted with process mining use cases and technical basics in 2015 during BPI challenge 2015. Then, I spent a short time at Signavio during BPI product launch in 2016 where more and more companies and clients were considering process mining as a decision making platform.

After so many mined processes, can you still tell us what was your “ah-ha” moment when using process mining?

Although automatic process discovery and bottleneck identification are great achievements that weren’t possible before process mining, this is not everything. Process mining is the underlying layer in value delivery for businesses.

Business process harmonization, automation and compliance are the backbone of collaboration and governance in any business transformation strategy, and process mining opens up a whole new window in tracking process standardization, automation and compliance. It also assesses how the technical implementation of systems and processes work and how process improvement initiatives evolve. All in all, process mining is not an add-on in process transformation or transactional system implementations anymore. It’s a necessity, a major compartment in any transformation journey strategy.

Now, turning to the industrial usage of process mining, how and where do you use process mining at Delivery Hero?

We push for fast delivery and expansion of our coverage. A great set of collaborations, systems and processes are in place to make this happen. To reach those goals, we need to cope up with the hyper-growth we face in terms of operations and with that comes the need for faster processes with better performance. To support this fast growth, we defined our mission to analyze and transform critical end-to-end processes within Delivery Hero. We’re a company present on 4 continents and in more than 40 countries, so process standardization as a basis for operation simplification is of crucial importance. We use process mining to track effective implementation of processes, quantify user acceptance rate, identify most urgent bottlenecks in increasing customer NPS score and check process compliance.

How do your counterparts (within or outside the firm) perceive and adopt process mining?

At Delivery Hero, we have a global mindset for processes thanks to our previous efforts and the collaboration models we have rolled out for process excellence. As a result, introducing process mining as the next big thing in enhancing processes and daily operations was relatively quicker and the adoption is supported by high management. Still, we need to dedicate time to clarify process mining objectives and distinguish between what operational KPIs and available business analytics are providing compared to process mining insights. To clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations, we have defined clear models. Only by considering business value next to global process improvement objectives can process mining be valuable to all stakeholders. This is what we’re doing.

Our process transformation partner and other suppliers provide technology, frameworks and consulting services. We’ve shaped up close collaboration with them and adopted the newest technology and features as we have seen in the past how each feature and capability in tools and methodologies opened up new opportunities. We’re also partnering up with several peers in other companies who have adopted process mining to share experience and stories in implementing process mining. All in all, process mining is a joint venture, as each counterpart brings something to the table.

One challenge we see when it comes to process mining is value realization. How do you make sure that process mining results lead to change?

We link business objectives to process excellence initiatives. We use globally defined mutual OKRs with our peers and connect key results to insights achieved from process mining. In other words, we define mandates and assign project managers who are process experts. These key users are business partners who understand processes, business and technology and are highly valuable in defining and tracking improvement objectives. Regular management updates and steercos are planned and conducted by process experts to make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and the progress.

Apart from value realization, what do you consider to be the major challenge while using process mining?

As we see it, standalone process mining applications won’t last and process mining will eventually be integrated into the intelligent automation stream. This is what we know as digitized BPM, against the traditional BPM centered around BPMN process documentation. We should prioritize the “insight before action” mindset and be courageous to try and adopt new technologies integrated with process mining and automation. Currently, we see considerable growth in the applications of natural language processing, voice recognition and end user behavior tracking in task mining. Additionally, reducing the time-to-value in process mining initiatives is a big challenge we’re trying to overcome. We should define the scope with care and enable every technical effort possible to be taken care of by system administrators. The objective is to use data warehouses and data pipelines designed and maintained at the source system side and focus on data validation and analysis. Efforts should be around analyzing the process and not on data integrations. One last point is to center all the efforts around customer values in process mining. The insights derived from process mining should be linked to tangible and effective improvement plans that lead to customer satisfaction.

Aziz, what is in your opinion the “secret salt” that makes process mining skyrocket in organizations?

Management support and mandate is the lost ingredient in many process mining initiatives. Only with the buy-in and detailed understanding of the business value from high management can we formulate process mining objectives as strategic and operational deliverables. Then you'd need to define your strategy, think about tools, provide governance models and promote collaboration.

And, to close: How do you see process mining in the future?

As the boundaries between process mining, system implementation and automation are becoming more and more blurry, process mining will be in the driving seat position in providing feedback to cognitive automation solutions. Meaning, patterns and behavior detected in processes trigger which further actions are going to be conducted in our automation solution. System implementation based on process insights is another part of this strategy, where insights won’t be an aid patch filling the gaps in our daily operation, but rather the basis upon which systems will be built. In addition, the future will be more and more about automatic process insight and behavior detection and action triggering conducted by intelligent automation solutions. Such a combination will be used increasingly over time and this is why we foresee the integration of process mining products into RPA and other process automation solutions.