Robert Galetzka
Author: Robert Galetzka

Process Mining with dab and PAF

The analysis of processes in companies with the help of process mining, especially for the processes purchase-to-pay and order-to-cash, is still in great demand. We have already presented our position and solutions on this topic in various blog posts.

Video: ProcessIntelligence  Process Mining in general

In the field of process mining we work together with the company Process Analytics Factory (PAF), among others. With its solution PAFnow, PAF offers a Process Mining Tool completely integrated in Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Office 365 for the analysis, visualization and optimization of almost any process. It is therefore ideally suited for those who already rely on Microsoft Office365 or want to do so in the future. Over 97 percent of the Fortune 500 companies already use Microsoft Power BI. We ourselves notice with our customers that Power BI is used more and more frequently, some of them already visualize their analytical results created with analyses from our portfolio.

We like to work together with the PAF and how well the interaction between our tools and PAFnow works has already been described by the PAF itself in a blog post. For most SAP-based process mining projects, PAF relies on our data extraction tool, dab:Exporter. This tool ensures that data is extracted from SAP in a simple and targeted manner. In doing so, we consider aspects such as data protection through pseudonymization during download and data minimization.

In process mining projects, tools such as dab:Exporter and PAFnow are the technical framework for accessing necessary data and visualizing processes. But without the actual content, the event log, both tools are useless.

The dab, as well as the PAF offer their own predefined content for Process Mining.

In order to create content in the context of SAP, a sound knowledge of processes and data structures is essential. This knowledge of dab is reflected in two places. On the one hand, the predefined content for SAP data, the dab:AnalyticSuite, and on the other hand, predefined event logs such as those for the processes Purchase-to-Pay or Order-to-Cash. This results in a first basis with which a process can be visualized with PAFnow.

For data analysis as well as process mining, "content is key" applies. Since 2004, we not only think about which analyses are exciting for you, but also how you can establish them successfully and sustainably in your company. Therefore we concentrate on making our SAP specific knowledge available to you in the form of event logs, as content.

This knowledge is reflected for example in the event log for the purchasing process (Purchaseto- Pay) in the multitude of possible events within the process and the additional attributes.

A simple event log for the purchasing process would take into account the creation of a purchase order item, the goods receipt and the corresponding invoice receipt. Does it reflect the business process? Possibly, but at the latest from here on, questions and requirements for the event log are started. What about the releases, changes to the item and how was the open invoice cleared?

To answer these questions, you need to know the data structure in SAP. This means which tables contain the individual information and how this information can be assigned to an individual purchase order item. Only then is it possible to map the process with events such as purchase requisition, invoice clearing or changes.

Speaking of changes - a challenge for many, a home match for us - it is possible to identify process-relevant changes in the change tables CDHDR and CDPOS. We are not only able to extract the tables from SAP for analysis, but we also know the systematics and can therefore add important information. This is the only way to identify release strategies for purchase requisitions, purchasing documents and items. For a well-founded insight into the SAP change tables, I recommend the dab whitepaper.

We already cover many of these questions with our event logs and are constantly developing them further. But if something is still missing, for example company-specific processes due to customizing, then that's no problem. The event log can be adapted by us to the processes in your company. Thus, PAFnow can be used to represent the company-specific process as it is lived in the company.


From SAP data to process insights in just one day!

As you can see, you should not underestimate the complexity and requirements of an event log. The event log is the linchpin of your process mining project in your company. But that's exactly why PAF and dab offer their own event logs, so that you can start with Process Mining immediately.

The successful cooperation between PAF and dab is reflected in numerous successful projects. The synergy of PAFnow as a process mining tool, the well thought-out event logs from dab or PAF as content as well as the extraction tool from dab, shortens the duration of the process mining project considerably.

Even if your company does not currently use Microsoft Office365, it is not a problem, because Microsoft Power BI Desktop is available free of charge and process mining with PAFnow is possible without any problems. However, if you would like to get in touch with the subject of Process Mining on your own data, PAF also has a clever solution. PAFnow is also available free of charge in the PowerBI Marketplace to download and try out. The number of displayable events is limited, but you can test some functions of PAFnow and visualize the process graph.

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