Process mining can bring a lot of business value but how much does it actually cost you?
In this article we'll outline some of the key costs to look out for in both license fees and implementation. We'll also provide a cost-effective alternative, so sit back and take note.
Building the case for process mining
Process mining is an increasingly popular method used by businesses to gain insight into their processes. It combines data mining and business process analysis to provide a visual representation of processes, identify bottlenecks, and discover potential improvements.
In the digital age, businesses generate a vast amount of data. By leveraging this data through process mining, companies can optimize their processes, increase efficiency, and ultimately improve their bottom line.
The upside is clear, but how about the resources required?
Process mining pricing models
There are over 30 different process mining software solutions available in the market, each with their own pricing model. Depending on whether you are a large enterprise buyer or looking for a small business friendly solution, you may come across different pricing models. Here are some of the common models:
Software as a Service - or SaaS, is a software licensing model where users pay a subscription fee to access the software, typically on a monthly or annual basis. This model is becoming increasingly popular for process mining as it offers flexibility and reduces the need for large upfront investments. The cost generally includes updates and support, and the software is usually hosted in the cloud, reducing the need for additional hardware.
Usage-Based Pricing - here pricing is based on how much a user utilizes the software or service. This could be based on data usage, number of users, number of transactions, or other metrics. Many process mining solutions will have a combination of SaaS and usage-based pricing for enterprise businesses.
Tiered Pricing - in this model, software is priced based on different tiers or levels, each offering more features, services, or capacity than the previous one. Some process mining vendors include tiered pricing option included in a SaaS subscription as the implementation of the solution is scaled out in an enterprise.
Perpetual License - this is a one-time purchase of the software where the user owns a license to the software indefinitely. It usually involves an upfront cost and may have an additional annual fee for maintenance and support. Perpetual licensing is less popular in process mining.
Let's cut through the chase. Regardless of how the pricing model works, you can consider the cost to start doing process mining as a platform cost.
How much does process mining cost?
The platform costs of process mining software licenses typically range between $5000 and $150,000 in 2023. The platform costs for large enterprise organizations may even be higher. For large organizations establishing a process mining Center of Excellence, license costs often start from $1 million and above.
Are there free process mining options?
Many process mining solutions offer either a free trail or a proof of concept with project based pricing. For a completely free of charge option, you can consider ProM Tools that are offered within a GNU Public License (GPL) open source license.
How much do popular process mining solutions cost?
Most process mining solutions do not publicly disclose pricing - or pricing is heavily dependent on the scope of data mining, integration and implementation required. You can get a high level view in the summary below.
Celonis do not publicly confirm their pricing. The cost of Celonis depend on your needs and scope of implementation. There may also be different pricing options available depending if you're buying direct or through an authorized partner. On the low end, Celonis offers a free plan with limited functionality (formerly called Celonis Snap.)
UiPath Process Mining
UiPath's Process and Task Mining solutions are offered as part of their Enterprise pricing plans. UiPath does not disclose the exact pricing. In addition to a standard licensing fee you may expect to get module-based pricing depending on how actively you utilize UiPath's platform.
IBM Process Mining
IBM Process Mining is offered on a Software-as-a-Service basis, starting with a price of $3,208 per month for one analyst user and 20 million events (as of May, 2023.) IBM also offers consumption based pricing and on-premise pricing options and overall pricing may dependent on the number of users and implementation scope.
Time and effort needed for process mining implementation
License fees are only one part of the total cost of process mining implementations. Another important factor is the time and effort needed for ramping up process mining capabilities.
The way process mining tools work is that you integrate to each enterprise resource system separately to extract event logs. These manual extractions or data integrations need significant skilled work from data mining professionals, project managers, integration specialists and IT system owners.
As a result, it is not unusual for a process mining implementation to take 12-24 months and require multiple full time equivalents (FTEs) of internal resources to get off the ground.
A rough estimate is that implementation can take up $50-100k of work related cost per each process that is being analyzed within the first year.
What impacts the work-related process mining costs?
For some companies process mining can be a relatively straightforward exercise, for others it can be a major IT resource investment. There are three major areas that influence the work related costs of process mining.
- Company maturity level
The first factor of work costs is maturity of the company's process data infrastructure. Is all process data from system in a datalake immediately available for process mining, or is the raw system data within different system databases?
An additional factor for maturity is how much expertise the company has in-house to drive process mining initiatives and how much external resources are required to support, eg. in the form of expert consultants.
- IT landscape
Are IT systems usable for process mining initiatives easily available or are those more industry-specific or customer where it required significant manual effort to access the required data and cleaning work to transform system-based logs to usable event logs for process mining algorithms. For example, for the SAP ERP ecosystem you typically have a good availability for data and connectors to other related tools. For other ERPs or legacy systems data access is likely to require more bespoke solutions.
- Process landscape
The third factor determining work cost is the process landscape. Is the process to be analyzed a standardized process what can be followed and be monitored with ready templates by process mining vendors that fit for it? Or is it industry-specific or company-customized process what requires more manual efforts to make it useful?
Tallying up the total cost of ownership
License fees and FTEs are not the only costs of process mining you need to factor in. There are additional costs that you are likely to incur in a process mining implementation:
- Maintenance and support
- Training of employees
- Cost of additional implementations / integrations
In many cases, the cost of process mining solution scales up significantly after initial implementation as more processes and systems are added. It's not unusual for running costs to increase 3-5x as more processes are covered.
An affordable, scalable option to conventional process mining
If you're still on the fence and concerned at the high costs of process mining- it's useful to know you have an option.
Hybrid process intelligence solutions like Workfellow give you the full benefits of process mining and task mining, while requiring significantly less resources and unnecessary costs. They give you the same meaningful insights for process improvement and process automation without the significant data implementation and data integration hassle.
In practice, hybrid process intelligence utilizes a new solution called Work API to completely sidestep the need to extract event logs from IT data systems. It gives you end-to-end visibility across multiple systems immediately through plug-and-play generative AI event logs that are created from within business applications and the user interface.
Without the need to integrate separately to ERP systems and other databases, hybrid process intelligence gives you the benefit of process insights even within complex business processes with significant cost savings.
Bottom line - it's your choice
In this article we've outlined some of the expected costs of process mining implementation to help you make educated decisions and consider your alternatives in process intelligence solutions.
Both process mining and hybrid process intelligence are powerful tools analyze business processes. They both give you the benefits of process discovery, conformance checking and insights for implementing other intelligent automation technologies.
If you're open to a new solution without data integration and implementation hassle, check out a case study of how an accounting firm uncovered $ 2million in process waste effortlessly through the new Workfellow hybrid option.
Related Research and Articles
Process Mining Cost Q&A
The cost of process mining can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. These include the cost of the software license, which can range from free for basic tools to thousands of dollars for advanced solutions; the costs of implementing the tool, which can include training, hardware, and infrastructure; and the ongoing costs of maintenance and updates. Furthermore, the size of your organization, the complexity of your processes, and any required customizations can all influence the cost.
In many cases, process mining can be a worthwhile investment. It allows businesses to gain deep insights into their processes, identify bottlenecks, uncover potential improvements, and drive efficiencies. This can lead to cost savings, improved productivity, better compliance, and more informed decision-making. However, like any investment, it's important to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to ensure the potential benefits outweigh the costs.
There are a number of free process mining tools and open source solutions that can be used. In addition, some commercial vendors offer free options eg. for academics and students.
While process mining can offer significant benefits, there are potential pitfalls to be aware of. These include the risk of inaccurate data leading to misleading results, the potential resistance from employees due to perceived scrutiny, and the need for skilled personnel to interpret the data and implement changes. Furthermore, process mining can be costly and time-consuming to implement, and there could be hidden costs such as data preparation or process changes following the analysis.
The cost of process mining software can vary greatly depending on the size of your organization, the complexity of your processes, and the specific features you require. In addition to license fees there may be additional cost and resources needed. For the most accurate information, contact vendors directly for a quote.