Business Process Library Q Business Process Management

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Drill Down
Drill Down

To drill down refers to leveling down from summary information to detailed data by focusing in on something.



To drill down is originally an English idiomatic expression meaning "to dig a hole ". This term is used in the same meaning in the field of data analysis as well. When one looks over data from a certain viewpoint, one drills down as an action to detail data items by leveling down. When you examine sales from the viewpoint of "Period", for instance, you sum up once again to gain monthly or daily data from monthly one. To drill down refers to this action.


To drill down is very effective when you specify things in analysis. An example enables you to understand it. For instance, assume a company which sales are on the decrease. The general manager hopes to detect reasons for the sales depression. In this case, he subdivides fields at issue by making a calculation according to areas, periods, products, and he can focus on fields which cause the sales depression. This action is called to drill down, and repetition of drilling down allows you to specify the source of a problem and to take more effective, more efficient measures.

When you drill down, you should be aware of two important phases. Firstly, you need to subdivide fields without overlap or omission in order to drill down. For instance, when you specify the cause of sales depression, you should not calculate monthly sales of January to October solely. Rather, you should calculate those of January to December. At first all fields need to be thoroughly covered for subdivision, and then you conclude what month causes the problem and whether you need to drill down again.

Secondly, it depends on viewpoints chosen to drill down. In the example above, the viewpoints for drilling down are “areas”, “periods” and “products”. Selection of appropriate viewpoints makes drilling down an effective tool for problem detection.

Relationships between BPM and to Drill Down

Because BPM is a continuous improvement Activity, specification of problems is indispensable and it is necessary to drill down the data collected by monitoring to find out the problem in a Business Process. For instance, let’s assume that a certain Business Process takes more time than expected from its start to the end. To solve this problem, you drill down from the time taken for completing a Business Process to that for finishing an individual Activity. When a certain Activity requires much more time than expected, the subject of resolution is that Activity. When most activities require more time than expected, you might want to plan the Business Process once again from the beginning. Thus, in BPM, the technique to drill down is indispensable for problem detection.

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