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  • Writer's pictureMarty Pavlik

Process Mining Center of Excellence Best Practices: Align, Educate, Advocate

A Center of Excellence (CoE) can make or break your process mining initiative.

I spoke with Leslie Goldstone about her experience building a process mining CoE. She shares insights into why many fail and what makes them successful.

Failure is often the result of misaligned objectives, lack of education, and insufficient executive sponsorship. Increase your likelihood of success by aligning with company initiatives, continuously educating stakeholders on process mining, and securing an executive sponsor.

You can watch the interview below or read the lightly edited transcript below. Either way, Following this advice will increase the chance of process mining adoption and using it successfully.

Be sure to follow and connect with Marty and Leslie on LinkedIn: click here for Marty and click here for Leslie.

Pavlik: Hello everyone and welcome to Today's Show! We're super excited to have Leslie Goldstone today. She is a life sciences executive that focuses on intelligent automation. Myself, I'm Marty Pavlik from Doculabs, a practice leader responsible for bringing the latest and greatest technology news and events to you. That's why we created Process Mining IQ, a leading portal in process mining courses, community, as well as other accelerators to help you on your process mining journey. So with that said, why don't we get today started? Today's show, hi Leslie, and welcome to our interview.

Goldstone: Hi Marty, excited to be here.

Pavlik: Glad to have you. So, you know, I've kind of always been in the tech space. I started off as a coder, then I went into SQL development. I became a project manager. I've led large global transformational programs for clinical finance and HR. I've led IT teams and, in the last couple of years since the end of 2020, I evaluated process mining tools and set up a center of excellence for process mining. So I'm excited to be here today to talk about that.

Pavlik: We're excited to have you. Today, I think the audience is going to benefit from what you've done in the process mining space. And it's great to have one of our clients talk to other clients about really what goes into process mining.

One important question I have for you is;  why is it so important to have a center of excellence when creating … when implementing that first process mining tool and then really scaling it across the enterprise?

Goldstone: Yeah, you know, CoE’s are really best when aligned with priorities. And for process mining, you're typically looking at end-to-end processes like order to cash or prepare to pay, and that involves, usually, a lot of different teams that may not work together all the time. So building a center of excellence for process mining gives that place for the different teams to go to, to get to that best practice. They get a consistent user experience with process mining tools, and even more importantly, they are ensuring themselves that all the teams are working with the right use cases to really meet those organizational priorities and get that value.

Pavlik: Yeah, you hit on one hot button that we see a lot from our clients, and that is being able to actually staff a CoE. You know, one of the reasons we created ProcessMiningIQ was there's just not a lot of people in the marketplace that have the process mining skills, whether it's from a technical standpoint or even from a business analytical standpoint. How did you overcome that challenge?

Goldstone: We started driving with the transformational programs that were going on and wanted to see where can process mining bring value, and you look for the right people that have that kind of tech background. They might not be technical people, but they're tech-savvy and they enjoy analytics, and those are the people that really understand and can find process mining real. If they get it quickly, then once they start spreading the word, then others get interested. So from a business perspective, that's what we did. From a technical perspective, really getting just analytical skills and the interest to learn, and we found a way we've gotten technical teams up and running to understand process mining as well.

Pavlik: That's excellent. And once you've started designing your CoE, you know, what were some of the key elements of the program, really the program management piece of the CoE to make it successful?

Goldstone: Yeah, you know, when companies are bringing in process mining, there could be a variety of reasons why they're doing it, but really there should be two main goals. Number one is for change. So process mining is really cool. You're bringing in data, it visualizes your process, it's great analytics, but you want to do more than just get those analytics. You really want to look at it, understand where you can improve, where you might want to automate or remove redundant work. And so you use the tool to take an action to make a change. So number one is to make a change.

Number two is really about bringing in value. You want to return on your investment. You want to not just make a change to make a change, but you actually want to get some value out of it. So when you're thinking about doing that with the center of excellence, program management is really about taking projects or activities together combined to bring out the best value. And so since process mining is about value, program management is about value. Using the disciplines of program management, I have found to really help build up your CoE and just allow you to focus on that value, which is really what process mining is all about.

Pavlik: Excellent. Excellent. Now, for those in the audience that are just starting to explore process mining or maybe they've done a POC or even implemented their first use case, can you walk them through kind of the timeline it takes from really beginning to end and the estimated time to develop a CoE and what goes into that?

Goldstone: Thinking about program management, there are some key elements that will help you get there to build up your CoE. So number one is strategy. You need to know what is it going to take to make process mining successful in your organization?

What are the organization priorities? Where should you focus? So spend some time building up your strategy and that will really help you.

Next is the people. You have to know the stakeholders involved. You know, who's your executive sponsors? Who are not only going to help probably fund the process mining, but also give you resources to say yes and encourage them to use process mining and work within the CoE.

You'll also need global process owners. I mean, these are the people that can make those decisions on those changes I mentioned before. Now, sometimes you'll get lucky and it's one global process owner for the entire end-to-end process, and sometimes it won't be. So you'll have to bring in all of the different people involved.

Finally, those global process owners might want some of their teams, the people that are doing the process every day because they know it, right? And those are the subject matter experts. So those people might be involved. And really understanding your roles and responsibilities within the stakeholders will really help you build up a successful CoE.

Not just those people, but you also need technical resources. You need people that can bring in the data, the data engineers transform the data so it works within the tool. You might even need source system owners. These are the people that own the backend systems like your ERPs that can help you understand, okay, for these use cases, these are the tables. Or you might have a lot of systems and they'll help you with the joins.

And then you'll need people that can learn the tool to help with the dashboard development. So then that's kind of your technical team.

But then there's other people as well. You probably want to include all the management team of the people I just mentioned so that they're aware what's going on and how their people are bringing value to your organization.

And then there might be other people just interested, right? Through word of mouth, they think it's cool, you know, they want to get involved. Bring them in too.

So having a clear strategy for managing your stakeholders and knowing who to communicate to is huge.

The other thing is you want to think about from a program management perspective is governance. So this is like, what tools are you going to use? Where are you going to put the best practices at? Teams, is it SharePoint? Is it some other sites? You need a place for people to go. You need to have kind of an idea of where you're going, your planning, your communication plans, and those kinds of plans. So governance is something to think about when you're building out your Center of Excellence.

And then finally, and probably most important is benefits management. That's key to any kind of program and it's definitely key for process mining and building your CoE. So you want to think about, you know, how are you going to build your value framework? How are you going to take the use cases and capture that value that is potential and what is committed to, right? So you might find a lot of different things to do, but you work with your stakeholders to decide, we're going to work on this, these are the actions, this is the expected value, and then you want to track and monitor that value. And through that benefits management is how you're going to communicate to your stakeholders to show them what that ROI is.

So timing wise, I think you can do this all, you know, slowly while you're kind of building up some use cases because you're going to learn, you're going to start figuring out what to do. And I would say it probably takes at least about six months to kind of really have it good, a year, you know, but we're continuously improving. And so this is process mining, it's continuous improvement in process. So you should feel the same way.

Start with something, learn, and then continue to improve.

Pavlik: With that theme of continuing improving, I know we're running out of time, so if I can ask you one last question, where do you see kind of the future process mining going, and where do you kind of see yourself going in this exciting new world of process mining?

Goldstone: Process mining and the intelligent automation space is exciting. I am so passionate about it, and I definitely want to see it continue. There's so much that it can do to help companies really see their process and use data to make those data-driven decisions. So I think that there's a lot with automation where, and, you know, chat GPT and AI where the tools can now point out where you should change. And I think that there's so much to grow, and I just want to be part of this journey with process mining. I'm excited to continue to work with it and help other organizations, you know, get some value.

Pavlik: Excellent. Well, Leslie, thank you for doing this interview with me. It was very informative, and I think the audience learned a lot. Again, everyone, thank you for joining us today, and if you'd like to watch more of these videos, please subscribe. Thank you.

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