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Method to Improve the Early Stages of the Robotic Process Automation Lifecycle

The robotic automation of processes is of much interest to organizations. A common use case is to automate the repetitive manual tasks (or processes) that are currently done by back-office staff through some information system (IS). The lifecycle of any Robotic Process Automation (RPA) project starts with the analysis of the process to automate. This is a very time-consuming phase, which in practical settings often relies on the study of process documentation. Such documentation is typically incomplete or inaccurate. To deploy robots in a production environment that are designed on such a shaky basis entails a high risk. This paper describes and evaluates a new proposal for the early stages of an RPA project: the analysis of a process and its subsequent design. The idea is to leverage the knowledge of back-office staff, which starts by monitoring them in a non-invasive manner. This is done through a screen-mouse-key-logger, i.e., a sequence of images, mouse actions, and key actions are stored along with their timestamps. The log which is obtained in this way is transformed into a UI log through image-analysis techniques (e.g., fingerprinting or OCR) and then transformed into a process model by the use of process discovery algorithms. We evaluated this method for two real-life, industrial cases. The evaluation shows clear and substantial benefits in terms of accuracy and speed. This paper presents the method, along with a number of limitations that need to be addressed such that it can be applied in wider contexts.

Autores: Andrés Jiménez Ramírez / Hajo A. Reijers / Irene Barba / Carmelo Del Valle / 
Palabras Clave: business process outsourcing - process discovery - Robotic Process Automation

Process Mining to Unleash Variability Management: Discovering Configuration Workflows Using Logs

Variability models are used to build configurators. Configurators are programs that guide users through the configuration process to reach a desired configuration that fulfils user requirements. The same variability model can be used to design different configurators employing different techniques. One of the elements that can change in a configurator is the configuration workflow, i.e., the order and sequence in which the different configuration elements are presented to the configuration stakeholders. When developing a configurator, a challenge is to decide the configuration workflow that better suites stakeholders according to previous configurations. For example, when configuring a Linux distribution, the configuration process start by choosing the network or the graphic card, and then other packages with respect to a given sequence. In this paper, we present COLOSSI, an automated technique that given a set of logs of previous configurations and a variability model can automatically assist to determine the configuration workflow that better fits the configuration logs generated by user activities. The technique is based on process discovery, commonly used in the process mining area, with an adaptation to configuration contexts. Our proposal is validated using existing data from an ERP configuration environment showing its feasibility. Furthermore, we open the door to new applications of process mining techniques in different areas of software product line engineering.

Autores: Angel Jesus Varela Vaca / José A. Galindo / Belén Ramos / Maria Teresa Gómez López / David Benavides / 
Palabras Clave: Clustering - configuration workflow - process discovery - Process Mining - Variability

Towards the Extraction of Frequent Patterns in Complex Process Models

In this paper, we present WoMine, an algorithm to retrieve frequent behavioural patterns from the model. Our approach searches in process models extracting structures with sequences, selections, parallels and loops, which are frequently executed in the logs. This proposal has been validated with a set of process models, and compared with the state of the art techniques. Experiments have validated that WoMine can find all types of patterns, extracting information that cannot be mined with the state of the art techniques.

Autores: David Chapela-Campa / Manuel Mucientes / Manuel Lama / 
Palabras Clave: frequent pattern mining - process discovery - Process Mining

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