Abbyy Timeline: digging into process intelligence

The Computer Weekly Developer Network team engulfed itself in process intelligence at Abbyy Content IQ this season at a session delivered by Ryan Raiker, senior product marketing manager and Alex Dibeler, senior sales engineer at ABBYY.

Do you really know how you operational processes work, in detail? This was the core question that the presenters aimed to uncover.

Less than 1 in 5 organisations really understand their internal processes, claimed the presenters.

Work, in the real world, is often duplicated and performed ‘out of order’ — and this is the reality of the non-digital transformation world… this is the inefficiency reality of the non-automated world, claimed Abbyy’s Raiker.

NOTE: Why is Abbyy called ABBYY — sources suggest that its founder simply wanted a company name starting with A and B and so decided to reinforce that effort by doubling the B and capitalising the whole thing.

Abbyy Timeline is a cloud based techniology designed to allow businesses to use the information contained within their systems to create a visual model of their processes, analyse them in real time to identify bottlenecks and predict future outcomes to facilitate decision-making of technology investments.

The company actually purchased Timeline back in May of 2019.

The global process analytics market size is expected to grow to USD 1,421.7 million by 2023 according to Research and Markets.

The trouble with processes in the real world is that they don’t always have an easy to define (and so manage) — because of this Abbyy Timeline’s four pillars of process intelliegence are as follows:

  • Discovery
  • Analyses
  • Monitoring
  • Prediction

Timeline Analysis approach is designed to handle the full range of business process types – from highly structured, to ad hoc.

“Organisations are focused on digital intelligence to impact process, patient, business and customer outcomes. Process intelligence is required to truly understand the operational effectiveness of business processes and how well they support a business strategy,” commented Ulf Persson, CEO at Abbyy, at the time of the Timeline acquisition.

Processes are everywhere insists Abbyy — they’ve vertical and they’re horizontal thoughout any organization, but we need a ‘process identifier’ to be able to know when and where the events that define a process actually happen.

We know ETL (as in Extract Transform and Load in terms of the three database functions that are combined into one tool to pull data out of one database and place it into another database) but Abbyy talks about ELT … because Abbyy extracts the data, loads it into Abbyy Timeline and THEN transforms it for process intelligence.

But the problem with real world data is that it’s (typically) messy and out of shape, so building in all that variability into the dataset that describes a process (after process mining) can lead to a messy process path analysis.

Abbyy says that it knows this and can help to analyse the different ‘lanes’ that define the various paths down which a process will typically be executed.

According to Abbyy Timeline official documentation, a variety of pre-built analyses are ready to quantify process performance, identify a company’s process execution issues and perform root cause analysis.

“The ABBYY Timeline platform also supports operational monitoring through its continuous assessment of new event data to determine if any adverse conditions occur and can immediately notify you or other business operations personnel so you can act,” notes the company.

Overall, this kind of session is enlightening, mainly because we get to hear real engineers talk about how to encapsulate work processes into definable business segmentation and express that through algorithmic logic.


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