The presented approach introduces a method for estimating the potential benefit of a surgical assist system prior to its actual development or clinical use. The central research question is: What minimal requirements must a future system meet so that its use would be more advantageous than a conventional or already existent method or system, and how can these requirements be obtained from routine clinical data? Forty-three cases of lumbar discectomies were analyzed with regard to activities related to bone ablation in order to predict the temporal requirements for an alternative strategy of using a surgical assist system for bone ablation. The study recorded and analyzed surgical process models (SPM), which are progression models with detailed and exact-to-the-second representations of surgical work steps, as a sensible means for the detailed quantification of the temporal needs of the system. The presented methods can be used for a systematic analysis of such requirements. Implementation of these methods will prove very useful in the future from a medical, technical, and administrative point of view. Manufacturers can use this analytical procedure to derive parameters for their systems that indicate success criteria. Additionally, hospitals can decide, before making actual capital expenditure decisions, if the system of interest is superior to the conventional strategy and therefore worth the investment.