Variants for Improved Decision-Making in Process Mining
The variant analysis is an important technique in process mining that allows organizations to gain a deeper understanding of their processes. A process map can often be complex and difficult to understand, making it challenging to support informed decisions on for instance process optimizations. One solution to this problem is to divide the process into different sets based on variants.
A variant, in this context, is a unique path that a certain number of cases follow through the process. It represents clusters of process flows and gives insight into the diversity in the process. For example, a simple process with just 20 different steps and a pre-defined Service Level Agreement (SLA) can have hundreds of variants, making it hard for the human brain to comprehend. By focusing on variants, the user can look at the process at a higher or more focussed level and categorize based on selected sets of variants.
Furthermore, variants provide a simple and sequential view of the process execution. For example, in the discovered process map, you can get a bird’s eye view of the analyzed purchasing process and see that there is a dominant loop involving a process step that makes changes to the original purchase requisition. However, it’s hard to see how a single case moves through the process or how many cases go through this extra loop once, twice or even more often. To get a grip on a typical process execution pattern from start to end, we need to look at the variants.