What is Process Mining?

The long-held practice of extracting data from IT systems is now being used to optimize security workflows and outcomes

Gutsy Staff | October 26, 2023

artistic reimaging of a security process mining exercise

Companies are constantly looking for ways to streamline processes and improve productivity. One tool that has gained popularity in recent years is process mining. But what exactly is process mining, and how can it help improve efficiency? Before we explore the benefits of process mining tools and how they can help businesses optimize their workflows, let's establish a definition.

Process Mining Defined

Process mining is the practice of extracting data from IT systems, such as event logs, to provide factual insights into how a process is actually working. “Digging up” the data is done with the end goal of using that information to discover, monitor and improve the processes from which the data was mined.

Process mining shows how things usually work and also reveals different ways they work when the results are not good. The golden nugget lies within these variants because they provide deep visibility into hidden security process risks and inefficiencies in your operations.

Gutsy's CTO John Morello defines security process mining with Dark Reading host Terry Sweeney

Basic Process Mining Steps

artistic imagery of a process mining diagram within a security stack

How process mining optimizes businesses

Business process optimization teams have been early adopters of process mining to analyze a variety of business activities such as:

  • Quote to cash
  • Supply chain management
  • Loan origination

These activities are typically difficult to visualize and require extraction of events from many siloed tools. Using process mining, organizations find ways to reduce waste and improve efficiency by optimizing their processes.

Here are some examples of how process mining helps large organizations improve their processes:

  • Advanced Auditing
  • Higher Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Discovering New Data

Advanced auditing

In a case study of using process mining to audit procurement data from a leading global bank, researchers revealed a host of errors considered audit-relevant such as:

  • Payments made without approval
  • Violations of segregation of duty controls
  • Violations of company-specific internal procedures

The regular internal audit missed these key findings, which also took place during the same time. In the study, most errors were kept confidential. However, there were other reasons for the inconsistencies. These reasons included not following procedures, such as using paperwork and documents that were not part of the bank's usual processes.

Higher return on investment (ROI)

Following the pandemic’s arrival and its effects on consumer behavior, a fashion company had to accelerate its digital transformation. In the process of transforming, it became evident that the efficiency of their back-end operations would have a significant negative impact on customer satisfaction. In order to serve the growing customer base, customer service processes needed to be dramatically tightened up.

Using process mining, the company evaluated which process fixes would yield the highest ROI and prioritized them accordingly. Through simulations, they determined which repetitive steps of the process flow could be automated, and calculated that when key process flow segments were automated, customer service resolution times could be reduced by 90% and cost per resolution could be reduced by 46%.

Discovering new data

A subsidiary of a well-known bank anticipated that they would fully automate and standardize their loan application processes. The team used process mining tools and discovered the system automatically processed only 45% of loan applications. Manual steps caused significant delays for each application.

In each case, we can see similarities between the business problems the organizations were solving and the kinds of problems security leaders are faced with. Specifically, these business processes involve many discrete tools from different vendors, have data siloed within these tools, and have multiple teams involved and performing a variety of manual steps.

Think about the security processes in your organization along these dimensions and you’ll probably recognize many underlying similarities.

Pioneering process mining for security

Gutsy easily integrates with existing systems to analyze and connect real-time data. Users don’t need to know their processes to find ways to optimize their security systems - Gutsy does that for you.

Download our ebook, ‘Process Mining: The Security Angle’ to learn how Gutsy finds important patterns, anomalies, and trends so organizations can reduce their security risk and improve business outcomes.