Importing data into Power Automate Process Advisor

Introduction

Microsoft Process Advisor is a part of Power Automate, more broadly Microsoft Power Platform. It is a tool for process mining, that identifies processes and displays maps with data and metrics to recognize performance issues and discover automation opportunities.

Despite being launched in December last year, its capabilities were not directed towards data analysis and implementing process mining for external usage and customers.

Microsoft focused on bringing Process Advisor towards self-usage and local analysis where you could only analyze event logs by screen recording and executing a particular process. As explained, such a decision was leaned towards simple process analysis that was only possible for local implementation.

Finally, Microsoft launched the newest feature update this month, giving an option to import your own data into the Process Advisor. Such upgrade now allows the analysis of any process logs, positioning Process Advisor as a solution that can be implemented to clients that want to investigate their processes easily.

Importing data into Process Advisor

When creating a new process in Process Advisor, you are asked whether you want to record a process or import data.

If you wish to work with preexisting data, you can import that data into the tool. This is a new feature and it is currently in preview mode, with more capabilities coming in the upcoming months. Nevertheless, data import is a gamechanger for Process Mining, since we can take any logs and import them into Process Advisor.

Process Advisor - start new process
Choose the data import option.

In this image, we can see various data sources that are allowed for data import, the same practice as what we have with Excel and Power BI.

Process Advisor - data source
Data sources options

After you choose the data source and import data, the Process Advisor will display it.

Process Advisor - imported data
Displaying the imported data

The next step is to map data to required categories in order to get the Analyzer working.

Process Advisor - data mapping
Mapping data to required categories

As previously said, it is important to map attributes to proper columns in order to get the Analyzer working. You can choose between Activity log and Event log. The difference is that Activity log covers the start and end time of an event, while Event log covers only one timestamp for each event.

After choosing which log type you are providing, there are three more columns to fill in:

  • ActivityName – map it with a column that presents each event (Event ID or Event Name),
  • CaseID – map it with a column that presents each iteration of a process,
  • startTimestamp – map it with a date column (there is also endTimestamp column in Activity log)

To import data, users can choose between various data sources, from CSV files to SQL Server. This allows flexibility in choosing where your data comes from in the same fashion as other Microsoft data analysis platforms.

What is Business Process Management

Business Process Intelligence – the key to effective workflows

A more accessible process mining tool

The main strength of such a solution is that it brings process mining to small and medium business organizations. So far, process mining solutions were always oriented towards enterprise customers, where processes play a crucial role in organizing and improving business. Nowadays, other kinds of organizations need to have structured and organized processes that are monitored and improved based on technology, social or other changes. However, existing solutions are usually not affordable for all organizations. Also, some customers would prefer to restrict only specific process mining features in order to pay less for the solution.

That’s where Process Advisor is at its strongest. As long as you are engaged in Microsoft licensing, Process Advisor should be more than affordable to anyone. On the contrary, its features are still limited, with some hope that Microsoft will expand and upgrade Process Advisor with more capabilities.

Conclusion

Microsoft Process Advisor is a solution for analyzing processes that is directed towards implementing process mining as a service for customers. This means that Microsoft brought process analysis to another level, where we expect additional features to come in upcoming months. Such a solution brings a new perspective on data analysis in Microsoft workspace and opens wide usage for all data and process analysts that were previously facing expensive tools.

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