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Turning Event Logs into Process Movies: Animating What Has Really Happened

Nowadays vast quantities of data are stored as a result of the operation of software systems and devices. The analysis of this data can provide valuable insights. In the field of Business Process Management, event logs may provide valuable information for business process improvement. This is the realm of process mining, an area which has provided many analysis techniques over the past decade. Despite the abundance of process mining techniques, it remains a challenge to provide results that are understandable by domain experts. Discovered process models are often perceived as abstract and static. Conformance checking techniques provide detailed results that are only understandable for process analysts.

Therefore, we propose an approach to dynamically visualize event data on intuitive “maps”. States of the process are visualized on a collection of maps thus resulting in sequences of “photographs” of the process under investigation. By replaying the event log using such visualizations we can create a collection of “process movies”.

Our visualisation approach is developed as plug-in of ProM, a process-mining framework where different algorithms can be implemented and integrated in form of plug-ins. It allows for any type of “map” as long as activity instances can be associated to map coordinates.

Installation instructions and Use Case

In order to test and evaluation the plug-in, a synthetic event log has been prepared along with a number of maps that are applicable for the event log.

Click here to download the event log and the map specification file.

Click here to download a presentation which explains how to install ProM, the plug-in and try it with the precook event log.

Warning: Depending on the computer used to generate the movies, the computation can require a little while (e.g., 10 minutes). Please note that, however, once the movies are generated, these can be saved on the disk (in a binary proprietary format). In this way, if needed again, they can be directly retrieved.

Screencasts

In order to verify the validity of the approach and receive feedback from end users, we have applied it to a real use case from Suncorp, one of the largest Australian insurance company.

Some screencasts of the tool showing the application to the use case is available at the following link: screencast.zip.