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Task Mining: Using AI to discover high ROI automation opportunities

Neha Khandelwal
Hi-Tech

Automation plays a major role in organizations of the future, and it can be used to increase productivity and efficiency of operations. Using RPA (Robotic Process Automation), organizations have been able to deliver significant ROI. If the automation is combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the ROIs are several times higher. Yet, the challenge remains to identify business opportunities for automation beyond the low-hanging fruit.

In this blog, we illustrate the applications of Task Mining, and how one can get started with it.

Task Mining is a service to discover automation opportunities. It works by collecting employee desktop data, which comprises of screenshots and logs of user actions (mouse clicks, keystrokes, etc.). It then runs a machine learning model to analyze this data and suggests a list of processes with high automation potential.

Task Mining allows clients to record the actions of selected users, analyze them together, and then publish the results in various dashboards to:

  • Get visibility on processes that are repeated frequently in the user action data: To identify automation opportunities
  • Understand the frequent path for the identified processes: To standardize and agree on the process before automating
  • Document the details of the identified process: To accelerate the development of automation
  • Auto-create bot prototypes (in some solutions)

Task mining offers benefits at various levels for various business stakeholders in the organization:

Business/RPA leaders: Task Mining helps business leaders in efficient discovery of high potential automation opportunities and effective engagement of the business teams by demonstrating an objective view of these opportunities – all this at a fraction of the time and cost versus a consulting-led approach used traditionally.

Business Analysts: With Task Mining, Business analysts can skip the most time-consuming part of interviewing or observing employees’ work activities that was traditionally done to identify repetitive processes with high potential of automation. Dashboards in Task Mining help Business analysts to view and analyze detailed metrics of identified automation processes. Auto-generation of Process Design Document (PDD) reduces time spent on process documentation.

Employees: Task Mining services provide extremely simple processes for the employees to set up and start recording actions, with no impact on their regular day-to-day work. It also helps to preserve their privacy by getting rid of human intervention to record tasks.

RPA developers: With auto-generation of PDDs (Process Design Documents) of identified automation opportunities, task mining helps RPA developers in reducing the time spent on understanding the process before they start to build automation.

To illustrate how task mining is done, let us walk you through an example.

Nancy is an RPA Lead at a large healthcare company. Her organization’s goal is to increase the productivity and efficiency of its operations, with automation. Instead of using manual, expensive and time-consuming traditional approaches, her team decided to use Task Mining to analyze employees’ desktop activities using AI, to scientifically identify automation opportunities.

Task Mining can be achieved in 4 simple steps using Task Mining services:

  • Collect – Collect employees’ desktop data without interrupting their work.
    • RPA admin creates a new project under Task Mining/Discovery Bot
    • Invites the employees via email to record the desktop actions
    • Configure settings like list of approved applications to record for security and privacy concerns
    • Once all invited users have installed the application, the admin can start recording directly from the portal. In the case of cloud-native solutions, invited users can start/stop recording on their own
  • Analyze – When enough recorded data is collected, the analysis phase can begin.
    • Admin launches new Machine Learning package on the collected dataset to perform the analysis
    • No data science knowledge is required to run this analysis
    • Admin receives notification email when analysis results are ready
    • In some solutions, AI/ML Packages are applied inherently, and admin can see analysis results directly for individual and aggregate tasks
  • Visualize / Prioritize – Summary page of analysis results is displayed on Task Mining project dashboard, providing key metrics like recorded hours, actions captured, applications used, number of repetitive tasks, and so on.
    • Admin can see the potential candidate tasks for automation, with details like total time spent on each task, number of users who performed that same task, the number of traces/ways that task was completed, and other metrics to help understand task complexity
    • Admin picks up the most promising automation candidate task based on the above metrics to explore in more detail
    • Changes can be done to capture process map traces along with a subject matter expert, and the task can be ‘recomputed’ using the same Machine Learning model used earlier, to capture the changes
    • Representative trace for the selected task is then finalized along with the SME
  • Export PDD / Auto-Create Bot Prototype- Helps in accelerating the documentation and development of selected Task
    • Admin can export PDD (Process Design Document) for selected trace and share with RPA developer to start building the bots
    • In some Task Mining services, even Bot blueprints can be automatically generated for the selected task

Use cases

Healthcare, retail, BFSI, telecom, HR, IT, finance, manufacturing, BPO, advertising or any other vertical – Task Mining can be used across any domain to identify repetitive, rule-based and high-frequency processes performed by employees that can be captured from desktop actions. Few examples of such tasks include invoice classification, reconciliation, monitoring, reporting, etc.

Benefits

Task Mining helps business leaders in varied evaluations and benefits as below:

  • Operational Excellence – By identifying high-potential automation candidate processes, Task Mining helps to deliver quick automation, resulting in increased efficiency and instant ROI.
  • Process Violation Alerts – Aggregated data collected from selected users using Task Mining uncovers violations in the actual process, if any, including the order in which task steps are executed, the time limit on how long some events should take, and if any step is being missed or repeated.
  •  Reduce Process Gaps – Task Mining helps to reduce process gaps by providing an objective view of the process that helps in addressing the root causes of the identified gaps.
  • Complements Process Mining – Task Mining (user data analysis), when combined with Process Mining (business data analysis), helps in analyzing the complete business process by providing various insights such as process discovery, compliance checking, performance analysis, root cause analysis and more.

Explore task mining services

AI-powered Task Mining Services are in great demand, and many leading RPA vendors have launched their versions of Task Mining Services. UiPath’s Task Mining ServiceAutomation Anywhere’s Discovery BotBlue Prism’s Capture – all these are Task Mining Services using AI to deliver significant automation discovery. Explore to see which one of these best suits your purpose.

Getting started with task mining

If you’re starting a new automation project and want to tighten your hold on the process, or you’re having performance issues with already ongoing automation projects, Task Mining can help you to get end-to-end process insights to monitor and boost productivity of your employees. Choosing the right task mining software would depend on the size of the organization, business goals, and requirements at hand.

All the best using this information to start your journey towards discovering hidden opportunities of improvement through automation using Task Mining. To get more details, connect with us at DENAutomation@zensar.com

Tags:
Advanced Engineering Services
Hi-Tech

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