Microsoft is staking a claim in the process mining market with the acquisition of Minit, a firm based in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition validates the value of process mining in the enterprise, and will solidify Minit's position in a crowded marketplace, according to analysts.
In a blog post that announced the deal, Microsoft stated that Minit is a "leader in process mining technology that enables businesses to uncover opportunities for continuous process improvement and better operational efficiency."
The acquisition of Minit will help Microsoft customers create a complete picture of their business processes and enable processes like order-to-cash to be automatically analyzed and improved, according to the blog post. This will help them undergo digital transformations and improve operations.
"Customers will be able to better understand their process data, uncover what operations look like in reality and drive process standardization and improvement across the entire organization to ensure compliance at every step," the blog post said.
The acquisition by Microsoft provides Minit the opportunity for substantial growth, said James Dening, Minit CEO, in a blog published by Minit.
"We are looking forward to what it means to become part of an industry leader like Microsoft, and what that brings us -- how we can use that scale and excellence to continue to deliver great solutions to our customers," Dening said in the blog.
Process mining's growing importance in the enterprise
Minit is one of a number of vendors in a process mining software market that has grown significantly in the past few years. Others, including Celonis and Signavio, have gained market share in part by partnering or integrating with enterprise heavyweights like SAP, IBM and Service Now. SAP was an early investor in Celonis and Signavio, which it acquired in 2021.
Microsoft's acquisition of Minit is a strong confirmation of the importance of process mining, according to Maureen Fleming, program vice president at IDC.
Maureen FlemingProgram vice president, IDC
The different investments that enterprise vendors are making means there will be a lot of innovation among the process mining vendors, she said. Microsoft may choose to focus on improving the strengths in its Office products.
"Microsoft has a significant opportunity with Minit to more systematically improve worker productivity, especially improving how work flows across teams of workers using Outlook and Teams," Fleming said. "Modernizing that with the help of Minit would be a huge win for Microsoft's customers."
Microsoft adding Minit indicates that process mining and business process intelligence capabilities will eventually be natively embedded into all major enterprise technology platforms, said Reetika Fleming, research leader at HFS Research.
"Basic data visualizations and mining of transactional data flowing through systems will become commonplace," she said. "I'd expect the Salesforces, Workdays and Oracles of the world to buy into this market and provide some base capability as well, because right now it's just easier to buy than build."
Analytics and context need on top of process data
While basic process data will likely become embedded into enterprise platforms, the differentiation between the process mining applications will come with the analytical intelligence and business context that can be applied on top of that process data, Fleming said.
"We expect process simulation and digital twin propositions to get amped up as a result, going to function- and industry-specific use cases, workstreams and automation," she said. "Basic mining will become part of every platform's functionality, leaving specialist vendors like Celonis or Soroco, or global systems integrators and consulting firms like IBM and Accenture to build analytical IP."
The acquisition validates the impact of the process mining and business intelligence market, agreed Jon Reed, analyst and co-founder at Diginomica.
Better insights from process mining analysis can help companies improve things like sales processes, he said.
"Process mining gives vendors the chance to have a more consultative sales process," Reed said. "Perhaps one that depends on pricing or trial versions that give more insight into a customer's process pain points rather than blindly selling them your entire portfolio."
Comparisons of Minit's capabilities compared with other process mining vendors in gaining market share likely won't matter as much as Microsoft's size and ubiquity, he said. Adding Minit may also set Azure apart from the other cloud hyperscalers.
"What will be interesting is the potential Azure process mining service offerings as a differentiator down the road," Reed said. "This would give an edge that might be hard for Azure cloud competitors to easily duplicate."
Jim O'Donnell is a TechTarget news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for SearchSAP and SearchERP.