Intelligent Business Automation: The Nexus for Process, Content, Data, AI/ML, and More

Something big is going on in the content/process/data/AI & ML spaces that’s an indicator of looming changes in those disparate – yet overlapping – technologies. 

Increasingly, my colleague, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, and I are finding substantial convergence and common ground in our coverage areas. (Alan covers blockchain, content, compliance, and AI/ML, and I cover digital process automation, RPA, process mining, and customer experience.) The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing this trend even harder as companies struggle to get their arms around documents, tasks, processes, commerce, and customers so they can deliver products and services more rapidly across ever-morphing supply chains.

For many years, the content management and BPM software markets were largely separate, with content vendors giving homage (plus integration) to process automation vendors, and vice versa. For a while these markets largely went their own ways, only to ultimately recombine into powerful case management platforms. As a result, case management has become a universally accepted way of automating unruly processes to achieve increased business agility. 

Meanwhile, technologies are not standing still. RPA, process mining, blockchain, AI, and machine learning (to name a few) are being swept into the intersection of process, content, and data.

We are now on the cusp of something new and empowering as many technologies come together to support intelligent business automation. This evolution will radically impact digital supply chains that span the business ecosphere in virtually all industry sectors.

These separate technologies will continue to exist as separate markets, but overshadowing them are newly emerging platforms that have a wide reach across digital process automation, content management, compliance, RPA, predictive analytics, and AI/ML. And the number of technologies moving into and becoming part of this space will only grow. (See Figure 2.) 

From a process perspective, the biggest transformational change is that digital process automation, process mining, and RPA will be subsumed into the intelligent business automation platform. When this evolution happens (by 2025), process automation and content systems will not become less important – they will be more important than ever. 

Intelligent business automation platforms will provide a raft of technologies, including:

  • • intelligent capture
  • • content services
  • • compliance
  • • case management
  • • process/customer journey modeling
  • • process/workflow automation
  • • process mining
  • • business insight and intelligence
  • • predictive analytics
  • • digital decisioning
  • • low-code and no-code 
  • • robotic process automation
  • • AI/ML
  • • data lakes for process data
  • • process-intensive business applications for vertical and horizontal processes

The evolution is unfolding quickly. Many process automation vendors already offer some overlapping native solutions or partner to provide much of the functionality found in intelligent business platforms. Already, several vendors have trained their eyes this way, including IBM, Kofax, and Pegasystems, followed by ABBYY, Alfresco, Appian, Bizagi, K2, Nintex, OpenText, and Ultimus. The pandemic has accelerated this transition as enterprises struggle with making their supply chains more adaptable, agile, and flexible to address wrenching changes.

Watch this space.

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