Tracking the footprints of business processes; that is the aim of process mining, the new hot topic in business process management. The overarching support of processes through business process models, integrated databases and the ERP systems built upon them, has led in the past to many successful projects resulting, in some cases, in significant increases in productivity. The hot topic developing in business process management today is process mining, a subject that addresses processes from their design through to their execution. It is only on the execution of a process that it becomes apparent whether and where the expected benefits have actually materialized.
The focus is now being placed on the behaviour of individual business process instances. Theoretically, the instances should follow the business process model, or rather the software configured with its help. But this is only then the case if the model encompasses the logic of every possible actual business instance, if the software is configured accordingly and no unforeseen deviations occur in the real world. Every procedure is then pre-configured and runs automatically. But, generally speaking, this is only ever the case in theory. By contrast, in the real world, changes happen in the intended allocation of organizational units to functions, or malfunctions occur. At this point a human intervenes and makes ad-hoc changes to procedures defined in the target model.