Conformance analysis with process mining

Many businesses aiming for efficiency have developed detailed plans for how they should operate. These plans are like the organization’s genetic code and require significant time and resources to fine-tune. But what’s the use if they aren’t adhered to?

Many businesses struggle to gauge the extent to which their operations adhere to established rules and regulations. The absence of clarity regarding costly deviations can trigger feelings of uncertainty and frustration.

These challenges become evident across various departments and scenarios, including process enhancement, financial reporting, ERP migrations, automation initiatives, and compliance efforts. Fortunately, the solution lies in conformance analysis within process mining.

Certain process mining software, like QPR ProcessAnalyzer, comes equipped with built-in conformance analysis, while others necessitate manual setup. Conformance analysis automatically assesses how closely the real process aligns with its predefined blueprint, delivering actionable insights.

What is conformance analysis?

Conformance analysis, in essence, involves a comparison between a pre-established process plan and the actual execution of that process using data sourced from corporate IT systems like ERP, CRM, or BPM.

These blueprints are prearranged rule sets that outline how business processes ought to function. They can depict the way the business is currently operated or how it should function in the future, often referred to as “to-be” models.

Below is an example of a process blueprint:

Example of a Procurement of Direct Materials process blueprint.
Conformance checking in process mining

Enterprises worldwide harness process mining to extract existing data about their business processes from corporate information systems. This practice ensures that processes are executed according to their intended design and comply with applicable regulations.

Process mining software, like QPR ProcessAnalyzer, autonomously generates process visualizations and identifies disparities between the predetermined blueprint and the current execution, facilitating an easy assessment of how faithfully the blueprint is adhered to in real-world scenarios.

Beyond conformance checks, process mining extends to the automatic calculation and monitoring of crucial key performance indicators (KPIs) for a process, such as lead times and process compliance. Furthermore, process mining software, such as QPR ProcessAnalyzer, can be configured to issue alerts or implement corrective measures when a deviation is detected.

Why conformance analysis is done with process mining

When individuals come across a business blueprint, there’s a tendency to presume that their business predominantly operates in accordance with it. It’s a common misconception that only a few minor deviations exist compared to the blueprint.

Yet, the reality often differs significantly, as illustrated below.

An example of a real-life process flow with multiple variations.

Conformance analysis unveils the presence of numerous deviations, ranging from hundreds to thousands, that diverge from the blueprint.

These variances can lead to unanticipated problems and process delays, underscoring the necessity to eliminate them. Conformance analysis serves as an excellent method for rectifying these process deviations and ensuring that the business adheres to the blueprint.

conformant variations

44 variations

non-conformant variations

6,227 variations

How conformance analysis is used in real-life

Conformance analysis stands out as an invaluable tool for two key reasons:

1. It eliminates the need for extensive time and effort to determine:
a. Whether there are issues with adhering to the blueprint.
b. The nature of these issues.

2. Conformance analysis automates the comparison of real-life process execution data with the blueprint to identify deviations.

This streamlined approach allows you to invest your time more productively in addressing process issues and enhancing overall efficiency.

An example of an automatically identified list of reasons behind process blueprint violations.
Analyzing savings from harmonization

Conformance analysis finds utility in various scenarios for assessing the degree to which processes adhere to the blueprint and its impact on business performance.

For instance, conformance analysis can be applied to evaluate potential savings achievable through the standardization of processes. Consider the illustration below, which provides an example of an analysis of savings through process standardization.

Example of a conformance analysis to realize potential savings.

Key Insights from the Analysis:

  1. Non-conformant cases result in a doubling of the process lead time.
  2. The process includes rework (price changes) that deviates from the blueprint.
  3. Rework negatively impacts on-time delivery rates.


Conformance analysis uncovers the consequences of not adhering to the blueprint. By aligning with the blueprint more consistently, the organization in this example could achieve the following advantages:

  • Quicker process lead times.
  • Reduced rework and waste.
  • Lower capital and operational expenses.
Continuous improvement with measurable ROI

To gauge the extent of improvements, process mining users can leverage a business case calculator, which complements the automated conformance analysis. This tool assists in determining where to concentrate resources to yield the most substantial enhancements.

Reducing uncertainties within processes leads to a decrease in unpleasant surprises. Enhanced predictability in your operations enables you to meet customer commitments and regulatory compliance consistently. This predictability is essential not only for human-driven activities but also for various automation processes, ensuring they function as intended.

This not only enhances the customer experience but also elevates employee satisfaction by offering a more predictable and secure working environment.

ERP migration and transformation

Conformance analysis proves exceptionally valuable for organizations in the midst of or planning ERP migration and transformation initiatives. These endeavors often entail substantial time investments, which in turn heightens project risks.

By employing conformance analysis, these projects can be accelerated, significantly mitigating associated risks.

A prime illustration of this approach is the SAP S/4HANA Vectorial solution, which leverages SAP’s S/4HANA best practice blueprints as a foundation for its conformance analysis.

This process mining solution provides organizations with insights into the gap between their current process execution and S/4HANA best practices. It assesses how adopting the S/4HANA best practice blueprint would impact business performance.

SAP S/4HANA Vectorial uses S/4HANA blueprints to show how close your current process execution is to S/4HANA best practices.
IFRS revenue recognition rule

The IFRS revenue recognition rule specifies that companies should only recognize revenue once goods have been delivered. Conformance analysis can swiftly identify any violations of this rule by automatically checking whether invoices are generated before or after delivery, making it easy to spot discrepancies.

A flowchart identifying IFRS revenue recognition rule violation.

These examples have demonstrated the versatile applications of conformance analysis in process mining for analyzing and enhancing business processes in various ways.

Get a quick overview so you can spend your time improving your processes.

You can easily define and set up processes according to your own needs using a convenient layout tool. In addition, since all types of workflow processes can be managed, you get all case management in one single system. 

Analyses, statistics and reports give you an unbeatable overview with real-time status and division of responsibility. Nothing has to fall through the cracks anymore and you always have an accurate and up-to-date base for decision-making.

CANEA Process is a tool that allows you to model and share business processes in an easy-to-use graphical web interface.

Seeing is understanding

Visualisation gives all employees an understanding of the organisation’s processes, activities, responsibilities and information flows.

Living processes

Identifying working methods while making it easy to update is the basis for continuous improvement of processes.

Create a complete picture

Linking together documents, information and tools with clickable process maps create an intuitive and comprehensive management system.

CANEA Workflow is an IT solution that automates, quality-assures and speeds up administrative workflow processes.

You can easily define and set up processes according to your own needs using a convenient layout tool. In addition, since all types of workflow processes can be managed, you get all case management in one single system. 

Analyses, statistics and reports give you an unbeatable overview with real-time status and division of responsibility. Nothing has to fall through the cracks anymore and you always have an accurate and up-to-date base for decision-making.

By creating executable processes in CANEA Workflow, you get both better control of the situation and smoother processing.

Streamlining the work

Ensure compliance and that handovers are done correctly and with the right information.

Correct decision support

You get an unbeatable overview of the processes in real time, with both clear reports and clear diagrams.

Improve processes continuously

Our process support can be constantly adapted to changing needs and requirements. In this way, we give you the best possible conditions for your daily work.

A document management system without complicated folder structures.

CANEA Document combines simple and intuitive search features with powerful features for managing documents from a life cycle perspective.

Maximum availability
Search and find information quickly based on what you need, not where it is stored.

High security
Ensure accuracy, changes and access to all information – with high traceability.

Fulfils requirements
Manage information according to standards, legislation and other requirements for document management.

CANEA Document supports everything from production, publication and modification to archiving and deletion – with full traceability and version management.

CANEA Document provides secure management of all types of documents – in one place. Tagging the information with metadata creates a virtual, multidimensional folder structure. This means that a document appears in multiple locations at the same time, with authorisation-controlled access. The right information in the right place for the right users at the right time!

You can usefully add your company’s process-oriented management system to CANEA Document. All production and distribution of documents is quality-assured and streamlined. In addition, your employees always have access to the most up-to-date version of the documents – directly via intranet, tablets and mobile phones.

Improve the performance of your project activities

CANEA Project is a comprehensive project tool with integrated support for all types of projects and parties– such as management, resource owners, clients, project managers and project participants. CANEA Project gives you an excellent overview of your entire project portfolio, including profitability and status, making it easier to prioritize and make decisions.

CANEA Project shares all important project information with both internal and external members.

Let your project manager focus on management rather than administration and distribution of the information.

Gather all project information in one place and make it available to both internal and external members.

Helps you with prioritization of projects, resource management and analysis of portfolios and programs.

Make reality of the strategy

CANEA Strategy makes it possible for organisations of all sizes to create a unique common thread from the strategic work to the daily operations. We do not just provide performance management tools but rather a completely new generation of IT support for strategy activation. The system guarantees and provides support throughout the chain from strategy to execution. You get no results without action. CANEA Strategy makes it possible in practise! 

CANEA Strategy ensures and provides support throughout the entire journey from strategy to execution.

Create a shared understanding of the strategy, the goal to achieve and how.

Gives management an unbeatable overview of what’s happening, how it’s progressing, and why.

Creates a clear common thread from the strategy to project, initiatives and actions.