Authors: Alan, Dan, and Peter Brooks
Research is core to our work, and in 2021 the team at Deep Analysis took more than 150 briefings; we talked with companies ranging from multi-billion-dollar mega-vendors to the tiniest of early-stage start-ups, and we talked to enterprises to understand their needs and experiences. Every so often, both in our vendor briefings and in our client work and desk research, we had a “shut the front door!” moment where we were dazzled by something innovative and exciting.
The Deep Analysis team recently reviewed those moments and whittled them down into a list of companies that fulfill the requirements of our Innovation Index methodology (detailed in the next section). It takes something special to get an Innovation Index Award, and we think these firms deserve an extra shout-out and time in the spotlight; that’s why we are writing this report.
This eclectic bunch will likely never be seen together in the same context again. Still, all of them do something different, something innovative that moves the needle, something that has the potential to improve, educate, and stimulate the information and process automation management industry as a whole. At the core of their inclusion is their ability to reframe, rethink, and reinvent.
Good enterprise software makes users feel highly skilled and gives them a sense
of accomplishment because they can do things easily that were difficult or impossible before.
It has layers of depth that entice advanced users to explore further and discover new powers to make themselves more productive.
For enterprise software to be effective, it must meet high standards of quality and appeal to a specific and valued audience. Beyond that, people’s preferences come down to taste. Therefore, inclusion in this year’s index is not an endorsement as such, nor is it a recommendation to buy this or that product or service. You have to find the right technology to meet your specific needs. Instead, a spot on the index is an acknowledgment that the organization does something different and innovative to move the information and automation enterprise software sector forward.
We use four specific criteria for the index, and indeed in every assessment of a technology product or service:
- Solves Problems
Can this product provide a solution to difficult, costly, or complex issues?
- Applies Ingenuity
Is this an effective application of a novel solution to meet existing requirements, unarticulated needs, or new needs?
- Adds Value
Is this product able to enhance and add value for one or more groups (employees, customers, partners, etc.)?
- Shows Flexibility
Can this product change according to need or environment?
These are the criteria we use. We have no interest in the vendor’s revenue or employee numbers. There are no spreadsheets for the vendors to fill in. Our evaluation is entirely subjective, but so too is innovation, so rather than trying to plot “leaders” or undertake
side-by-side technical evaluations we are instead simply highlighting something positive when we see it.
Finally, it is important to note that other products also impressed us this year but didn’t make it onto the Innovation Index as they did not satisfy at least three of the criteria. Notably, a number of firms have again done great and fast work pulling together effective business applications to help organizations manage during a pandemic and the return-to-work planning to come.
In summary, not every product on the Innovation Index met all four criteria, but all excelled in at least three.
Without further ado, let’s reveal who has made it onto this year’s Deep Analysis Innovation Index!
Capture technology has long relied on optimal conditions to work well: lighting, perspective, black text on a white background, etc. Anyline is an innovator in reframing this paradigm and designing a capture system that can work in far-from-optimal conditions, offering a great deal of potential to unlock new markets and use cases.
Cortical.io has developed an innovative AI technology based on a natural language understanding (NLU) approach to interpret and process human language text. In recent years deep learning has been used successfully to improve the quality of natural language processing (NLP) such as Amazon Comprehend and Microsoft Azure cognitive services. But these rely on the massive computational power of those industry giants. With its lower computing requirements, Cortical.io is potentially accessible to more markets and applications.
We’re always on the lookout for “the secret AI sauce” that produces leaps forward. For Eigen Technologies, it’s the training data. To date, Eigen has pre-trained its large-scale language models on over 22 million real-world documents gleaned from financial, legal, insurance, and healthcare customers.
Indico is among the new breed of disruptive AI software providers who have figured out how to make deep learning workable for intelligent process automation (IPA). The company has an impressive strategy to democratize neural networks and bring the benefits into mainstream document workflows.
Rule14 is an AI-enabled process automation and data mining company that offers a suite of solutions and services powered by predictive analytics. We were impressed by Rule14’s deep experience with neural networks and diverse, patented AI technologies. Rule14 is among the new breed of disruptive AI software providers that have figured out how to make deep learning work to solve practical business problems.
There is no question that ScaleHub checks the innovation box with a bold marker. The use of crowd platforms to augment AI-based cognitive capture makes a great deal of sense; although AI certainly improves the speed of capture processing and accuracy rates, it has its limitations.
Connecting Software’s product, CB Blockchain Seal, is a novel, low-cost, and innovative way to add distributed trust and immutability to your existing file systems and applications using blockchain. We have been researching the use of blockchain in information management for over four years, and in our analysis this is the first of its kind.
Much of the recent focus on enterprise blockchain has been on building industry consortiums and blockchain infrastructure. We are only now starting to see focused business applications built upon that infrastructure. Data Gumbo is, in our estimation, an excellent example of how a company can leverage blockchain to meet specific industry needs beyond generic record or financial transactional requirements.
LTO Network is the company that built “the network” – an enterprise workflow and information validation/management hybrid blockchain platform used to secure, verify, and exchange business critical information. LTO Network has a unique, interesting business model: enterprise blockchain functionality combined with a crypto revenue model.
Splunk is best known for its machine data analysis tools and is widely used for application management, security, and data analytics. In 2020, Splunk released enhancements to support enterprise blockchains and provide the same level of insight to blockchain networks as it does to more common enterprise application infrastructures. This move is important because – though core blockchains themselves are highly secure – today there is little visibility into the infrastructure and broader operating environments running blockchain networks. Splunk offers an alternative to this opaqueness and, as far as we know, the first true blockchain monitoring system on the market.
What We Are Looking for in 2022
We are again looking for dazzling innovation in 2022, as we know many firms are out there making a difference and pushing boundaries. The world continues to be in geopolitical-, economic-, and pandemic-related upheaval, and workforce and business needs have changed forever. Many once stable and standard means of working, and their associated business applications, have been caught short and unable to adapt. So, we expect a lot of adjustment and rethinking to come to the fore in 2022, not only through using AI & blockchain but also in using traditional technologies differently to meet changing needs.
At Deep Analysis, our door is always open for all technology vendors in the information and process automation management market, and we will continue to watch for those “wow” moments and write them up, whether you are a client or not. If you think you are up for the challenge and have a product or service in the enterprise information and automation market, let us know!