Data Collection Methods

Historical Data

Historical Data is a very unobtrusive technique for data gathering. This method involves researching organizational data to find trends and make analysis decisions. The documentation can consisted of purchasing history, sales records, business contracts, employee records, and process or workflow procedure documents. Combination of these records can help create a larger picture of the organization and process you are reviewing. For instance, by viewing employee absentee records, with sales data, you can find data explaining the quantifiable effect of staffing numbers.

Historical data research also has the added effect of not requiring a large degree of interaction within the organization. Once the data has been extracted the analyst is free to use and decode the data in whatever way he or she finds beneficial. The information is viewable in a number of ways using current software which can provide a great deal of detail. These details are often based numerical fact which offers a high level of legitimacy when stating a finding or opinion.

The extraction of process knowledge from systems, which can be made automatically to a large extent, can reduce the time required for process analysis. The main benefit, however, is that the models acquired from process mining are based on real executions of the processes; therefore, one gains insight about what is actually happening, and ultimately the knowledge provided by process mining can be used for effective improvement of those processes and of their supporting systems.

Alvaro Rebuge, Diogo R. Ferreira (2012) Business process analysis in healthcare environments: A methodology based on process mining, Information Systems Volume 37, Issue 2, Page 101

As you can see this data is truly invaluable to an analyst in both the picture over time it can create and the accuracy of the numbers. With enough historical data, an analyst can predict the outcome of nearly any situation. Furthermore the data is not skewed by opinion or employee input. Historical data is the most important of all the data collection techniques and will be employed in nearly every analyst project. and also has the benefit of being nearly transparent to the organization.