Search ‘big data analogy’ on Google and you’ll find countless pages of results, from ice cream sundaes to The Matrix. Complex concepts such as big data can be difficult to grasp for newcomers to the field, and drawing parallels to ideas known and easier to comprehend can be a great help towards understanding. However, not all hard-to-grasp notions come with Google-able analogies. For one, process mining. A few pages liken it to X-Rays or walking along a factory floor- things that enable you to see what’s really happening- and these comparisons do help to make sense of the basic idea behind it. But there are none that relate it back to big data, which is what makes the continued growth of process mining possible.
So here’s one: process mining is like cooking a fish.
In an interview with CIO.com, Larry Warnock described big data as a “giant fishing net dragging the bottom.” You’ll catch some salmon and tuna, but you’re also going to get rocks and coral. Data collection is ubiquitous in modern society, and with such an influx of data, some is bound to be useless, but some will also be of great value. There will be rocks, and there will be fish.
Like fish contain protein and other nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies, useful data holds information about consumers, employees and processes that could potentially benefit companies. However, in raw, unstructured form, it’s of little use. To become an asset, it must be extracted, analyzed and made understandable, just as fish must be cooked to be eaten.
And so, process mining is like cooking a fish. It takes raw, unstructured data and from it, creates models of business processes that allow companies to more accurately identify and address inefficiencies. It takes the raw fish and creates a delicious, pan seared meal out of it.
And just as you’d eat the fish and imbue your body with all its healthy Omega-3s, you can use the models created by process mining to optimize your business processes and imbue your company with savings in time and money.