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What is ABPD (Automated Business Process Discovery)? A software familly, an activity, a feature?


In your perpective, what is covered by this term?


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Opened by Antoine Fournier, Consultant
Nov 2, 2012.



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Anne Rozinat Co-founder, Fluxicon
Nov 3, 2012

and 2 others, recommanded this answer



Hi Antoine, ABPD is a part of (or synonym for) Process Mining. There is some confusion about the terminology (see also http://fluxicon.com/blog/2011/08/process-mining-vs-automated-process-discovery/), but leaving terminology aside I would characterize Process Mining as a Technology. It's a whole field of techniques that share the characteristic that they leverage existing log data from IT systems to understand and improve business processes. You can compare it to data mining, but with a focus on processes.
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Antoine Fournier Consultant
Nov 9, 2012

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@Anne, I really liked your post about the terminology debate around Process mining terms. This is usual debate between analysts wanting to take some kind of ownership on common terms, arguing being the only one who is really doing this or that. I faced the same with ACM/DCM, and on a lower lever about CCM.
It's really great to read someone writing down the different options and trying to lighten the current confusion and enforce the community to choose.

You defined 3 versions that I'll summarize this way:
  1. Process Mining = ABPD = Process intelligence
  2. Process Mining = Process intelligence (ABDP is a part of this concept)
  3. Process Mining & ABPD both part of Process intelligence
I hope I'll not put more confusion, but I'd like to propose a fourth version:

Personally I see Process discovery is restricted to the action of "documenting a process" by means of collecting all relevant information from its past executions.

About Process mining, I’d like to refer to what "mining" is in the real world: it is commonly admitted that "discovery" is only part of it, as soon as mining also covers the utilization of what has been discovered. Seismic techniques are complex and need professionals: they deserve their own terminology.
BTW, when it comes to processes, “definition” should better fit than “discovery”, but marketing department will not agree :)

What about intelligence? Wikipedia: "Intelligence derives from the Latin verb intelligere which derives from inter-legere meaning to "pick out" or discern. A form of this verb, intellectus, became the medieval technical term for understanding" and is related to human beings."Intelligibility is what can be comprehended by the human mind."

How can this definition enlighten the debate?
It depends if we need to speak about process intelligence AND (but not OR) process mining.
It depends whether we want to make the distinction between what is done from process discovery, as a process itself, and what a human being (the process owner) can do, taking context and ecosystem into account (in and outside the organization).

Agile organizations need to adapt processes on a rapid pace; analysts & process owners need to stress them constantly, choosing a "process intelligence" approach that considers the way the market is moving around them, how the competition is doing, etc.

To do so, processes would have had to be discovered (or defined), each and every of them and they would have had been organized as a whole, specified, classified, improved, simplified, cancelled or merged, etc..

So, as soon as someone said the words "Process intelligence", it makes sense to define relationship between those terms:
  1. Process Discovery starts where Process identification stops
  2. Process Mining starts where Process discovery stops
  3. Process Intelligence starts where Process Mining stops

If we leave process identification aside, Process discovery is a technique, Process mining is a practice, Process intelligence is an approach.
Saying that Process Mining and Process intelligence are the same concept is fine, but then, we all miss a layer, a distinction, a nuance.

To my perception, it makes sense to consider that Process intelligence is a step further (or we shall forget about one of those terms). To me, actual definition of process intelligence is too restrictive if it does not include an acknowledgement of the outside world.
Process intelligence should then drive and participate to Business intelligence in order to define strategies.
Technique, Practice, Approach, Strategy.

I would love to read your comments
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Anne Rozinat 01 Anne Rozinat Co-founder, Fluxicon

Dec 2, 2012
Hi Antoine, Thanks for your thorough reply! I understand your point. But from a practical perspective I would disagree. For example, process mining has been defined more broadly than you suggest in the Process mining manifesto. The field is further developing, and there are people looking into all kinds of aspects, including methodology. So, process mining includes techniques, practice, and approach.

I think that while it might be nice to paint out nuanced definitions, this does not help the people who are trying to learn about this new technology. The most pragmatic and useful recommendation one could give to them at the moment is to say that they should search for process mining and ABPD (and process intelligence) as synonyms.

Just my 2 cents

Antoine Fournier 61 Antoine Fournier Consultant

Dec 2, 2012
Anne, You are actually right. Being pragmatic and client-oriented is always the right approach.
Anyway, by experience, giving nuanced vocabulary a technology that has a growing market, before too much vendors are on stage (and it is already too late), may avoid late discussions.;)
But I'm probably too candid.

Thank you for sharing your views.