Schema vs Timeline Analysis

Nov 23, 2021 10:47:42 AM

I was discussing business process optimisation with a customer recently and found they had fallen into a common trap.

They had a business process that had several bottlenecks they were trying to clear, so they had started to look at the cases where the work diverged from their prescribed process flow.

The trouble was, some of the cases diverged but turned out to be more efficient, by completing steps in parallel that the system was trying to force to be sequential. Except, those cases were well within the quality and business rules, and simply showed their staff had initiative and acted pragmatically. Other cases had many actions recorded that were somewhat ancillary to the process, but unavoidable. Returning missed calls, tracking email correspondence where additional information was required, and so forth.

A pure process schema approach is useful, but not as clarifying as a timeline approach. My customer had started from the schema, and quickly realized it was effectively hiding information, but trying to analyse each case, or looking at the collection of events in logs or by way of observing user practice was inefficient. They could pull a few cases out and then extrapolate and hope they had found the common issues; not ideal but better than nothing.

This is where the ability to instantly visualize data from logs and user actions and generate accurate event paths based on the data, not the ideal “happy days” path makes a huge difference. Additionally, providing task mining capability to automate the collection of “missing” data can help explain some of the processes that seem to be a black box from the schema analysis.

One of our business process optimisation tools is ABBYY Timeline. Using this tool means we can provide solid advice and recommendations on process improvement in a few days, rather than a few weeks. This faster “time to value” opens the doors for many of our clients to tune their business process without having to invest in new technology, often saving thousands of dollars. For customers that deployed new workflow solutions but didn’t get the gains they expected, it is an opportunity to tweak, rather than rebuild.

ABBY has a whitepaper of under 10 pages which explains the difference between schema and timeline approaches, with examples. Feel free to leave your email address and I can email you a copy.

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