As organizations have matured in their automation journeys, it has become more and more challenging to identify RPA (robotic process automation) opportunities. This has included uncovering processes that would be good candidates for automation and having fundamental metrics about those processes at their disposal – like utilization and the specific steps in the process if it’s not already documented – to aid them in their decision.
A solution is to turn to task capture and process mining software for help, but that raises another challenge—what’s the difference, and which tool is right for you?
In this article, we address the different use cases for task capture vs process mining in your organization.
What is Task Capture?
Task capture is a technology that enables organizations to discover, understand, and analyze the tasks employees perform as they relate to completing larger processes.
Task capture software works by monitoring the actions users take. A recorder is installed on an employee’s computer and manually triggered to capture their interactions in the different applications they use, recording data like keystrokes, clicks, data entry, etc., to uncover how tasks are completed within the organization.
The purpose of using task capture software is to discover and understand the tasks employees are performing. The ultimate objective is to find ways to improve how those tasks are carried out or automate them to increase operational efficiency, reduce errors, and improve employee engagement.
What is Process Mining?
Process mining is a technology that investigates the mountains of data in enterprise event logs to discover and present end-to-end processes that the organization is performing to complete work. Event logs are essentially banks of data that store different information like logins to software in the enterprise tech stack, interactions in that software, logoffs, etc.
The benefit of process mining software is that it presents the process it’s successfully mined, along with the process’ variants and suggestions on how to optimize and improve that process.
Like task capture, the most common use case for adopting process mining technology is to improve processes, with the ideal goal of automating them for all the benefits and returns that come with automation, like improved customer and employee experiences.
What's the Difference Between Task Capture and Process Mining?
To understand the difference between task capture and process mining, it’s important to distinguish between processes and tasks.
Processes are a logical and sequential cluster of related work. For example, processing an invoice is a business process. It’s a complete grouping of related work that can be divided into sub-processes like the approval of payment by Accounts Payable.
Tasks, on the other hand, are a cluster of related work within a process. A simpler way of looking at it is the multiple actions performed to execute a specific step in the process. Using the same example of processing an invoice, which is an end-to-end process, a task would be extracting information from the invoice, which requires multiple steps or a group of related work.
Task capture is a complementary technology to process mining. Where process mining discovers entire business processes the organization performs, task capture records and finds how the individual steps that make up that process are completed.
Task Capture or Process Mining: Which is Right for You?
Both task capture and process mining deliver tangible value. While both can contribute to higher-level outcomes like improved efficiency and increased automation, they serve different use cases and, for that reason, cannot be boiled down to a decision or argument of one over the other.
Task capture is, in essence, a part of process mining. Put simply, process mining is the technology that offers the capabilities of uncovering entire business processes in your organization. Task capture discovers the tasks that complete the individual steps of that business process. If process mining uncovers what the business does by mining through event logs, task capture discovers what the user does by recording user actions and application screens at the UI level.
If your main objective is to discover end-to-end business processes, whether the intent is to optimize them, re-engineer them, or automate them, then process mining might be your safest bet. If you’re looking to specifically uncover the tasks your employees perform to improve your workforce or look for more automation opportunities, then task capture might be the way to go.
However, for a robust strategy with the intent of continuous process improvement and scaling automation, the use of both process mining and task capture are necessary.
For more on successfully scaling your RPA initiatives, watch this short explainer video on Digital Blueprints: