If you are a Power Platform geek you have probably heard about Power Automate Process Advisor, a Microsoft process mining tool released in May 2021. And even if you never heard about it, you’ve you may have already seen it on one of your Power Automate flows detail screens.
To further understand this article, we suggest you quickly check it to have an overview of the process mapping of your flow and acknowledge where it is experiencing longer waiting times. This will help you to realize where you can improve.
In this article, we will go deeper into this solution and provide you with a use case that can give you a better understanding of the power of process and task mining.
Let us start by explaining what process mining is:
It’s defined as an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring, and improving business processes based on real information. With these capabilities, you will benefit from a map of your process where you can deep dive to analyze all the process variants, and identify trends and bottlenecks where you can suggest improvements and the efficiency of the decision-makers.
How do I get started?
To access Process Advisor, go to the Power Automate portal and select Process advisor on the left tab.
As usual on Power Platform you will see multiple popular templates that you can use to start using and understanding the tool.
When you start a new process, you will see the 2 existing options to use process advisor:
- Data ingestion: It’s a preview feature but it’s going to be crucial to assess processes that are supported in your company systems of records (SAP, Dataverse, SQL, etc.). With this feature, you will connect to a data source to ingest data to support your process creation. After that, you can leverage Power Query to transform your data (if needed) and map it to the process mining required fields. Finally, the analytics section will be automatically generated with Power BI, showing a process map and multiple metrics that will help you analyze your process.
- Recordings: This was the first functionality enabled on process advisor, and it’s based on the recording of the actions performed on desktop activities. To use this, you will need to download and install the Power Automate Desktop to start recording your processes. Once you have it, you can start recording a process, define the activities with the correct screenshot from the record, and set up the process. With that, you can “Analyze” the data via a report that is generated. Check out the video below to know more.
Use Case – Financial process analysis (Accounts receivable process)
A great example of how powerful this tool is will be explained in the following use case regarding financial processes supported on systems of records. It regards the accounts receivable process and shows how Microsoft allows you to create one example with sample data.
In the following video you will see the analytics provided by the sample data:
By default, analytics provides you with a Power BI report with 2 tabs: Process and Time Analysis.
On the process tab, you have a flowchart element with all the steps and different paths the flow has, based on the ingested data. With the help of the insights tab, you can switch this and access the longest, shortest, simpler, and most common path and all the associated metrics.
On the time analysis tab, you have multiple elements that provide you with times that can be assessed on the variant or case level of the activity (this one is particularly relevant to allow you to identify bottlenecks in the process and correct them). On both tabs, as usual at Power BI, the elements are connected and you can filter the data to deep dive into details.
Here’s a particular example where this can be helpful: when developing a POC for a specific market on Power Apps to help with the accounts receivable process. This will be the tool to use if you want to measure the impact of this development to help you understand if it’s a good idea to roll out the solution and spend extra time and resources on it.
With process advisor, you can keep the same extract about the process and simply filters through the market where the Power App was implemented. Then, analyze the insights to understand their impact. If you conclude that you have a faster process or more control over the number of cases/variants this can be a sufficient input to roll out the solution.
Conclusions and the future
In the past few years, we’ve seen multiple improvements on the Power Platform – from low-code to RPA, machine learning, AI, business intelligence, and process mining (the one we are focusing on now). We believe the goal is to have an integrated platform that can put together all of these to provide a wider range of powerful technology solutions.
Even though the tool is recent, process mining is continuously growing and will become crucial for organizations to make informed decisions. For the ones that are already leveraging the Power Platform, Power Automate Process Advisor is a great tool to take the first steps.
To summarize the 5 key benefits:
- Process insights (longest, shortest, most common, and simpler) and associated metrics
- Time analysis of the process
- Deep dive with filtering pane to assess specific extracts
- Identification of process bottlenecks
- Capacity to improve performance and decision-making based on information
To benefit from a first approach, we suggest you start testing the process insights preview feature on your Power Automate flows. With that, you can have a first glance at what you can extract and understand the efficiency of your entire flow and each task performed.
Finally, we want to present you with the breaking news regarding Power Automate Process Advisor: in 2022 Microsoft acquired Minit, a leader in Process mining, and since November 15th new process mining powerful capabilities are available in preview mode. Summing up the key new features, you will now find:
- More out-of-the-box templates
- Improvements in the preparation, and transformation of data
- Deeper insights, drill down and zoom out the full process, customization of KPIs, and full reporting
To learn more about the new features check this article on the Microsoft Power Automate blog and get in touch with the team if you would like to know more about Process mining or any other related subject.