Definition

process mining software

Contributor(s): David Essex

Process mining software is a type of programming that analyzes data in enterprise application event logs in order to learn how business processes are actually working The goal of process mining software is to identify bottlenecks and other areas of inefficiency so they can be improved.

Process mining software is especially useful to optimize workflow in process-oriented disciplines, such as business process reengineering (BPR) and business process management (BPM). Vendors of process mining software claim the technology can analyze millions of transaction records and spot deviations from normal workflows that might indicate increased risk.

If the software is used to analyze the transaction logs of an ERP or CRM system or the audit logs of a workflow management system, for example, data visualization components in the software can show users what processes are running at any given time. Some process mining software also allows users to drill down to view the individual documents associated with a process.

Screen shot of Celonis process mining software.
A screen from Celonis process mining software showing the process flow and analytics for a company's logistics operations.

If a process model doesn't already exist, the software will perform business process discovery to create one automatically, sometimes with the aid of artificial intelligence techniques, such as machine learning. If there is a model, the process mining software will compare it to the event log to identify discrepancies and their possible causes.

The technology is often applied to the most common and complex business processes executed in most organizations, such as order to cash, accounts payable and supply chain management. An organization might use process mining software to find the cause of unexpected delays in invoice processing, for example, by examining the logs of the accounts payable module in an ERP system. Analysis of an audit log can also spot deviations from important regulations, such as U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) rules for archiving business records or HIPAA requirements for protecting medical records.


The broader benefits of the efficiencies enabled by process mining software include reduced risk, improved customer satisfaction more revenue, and better transparency of IT systems and business processes.

At least a dozen commercial software vendors specialize in process mining software, and academic organizations offer free versions. Many of the products have integration that allows them to work with popular brands of enterprise applications.

This was last updated in June 2017

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