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“What the Hell Is a Map Book!?”- and what does it have to do with the rise of Process Intelligence?

Digital technologies are evolving at a furious pace and our business strategies are lagging behind. We need a new approach to processes for the digital age.

Recently in a discussion with my wife, I attempted to explain why ABBYY acquired TimelinePI – and I somehow ended up telling a long and elaborate story about how I was the best map book reader in my family. I regaled her with my stories of travelling all around the south of England trying to find multiple football (or soccer as my US friends and colleagues call it) grounds with my Dad in our Volvo Estate, continuously getting thwarted by traffic, roadworks, and getting lost through out-of-date map books.

At some point, my middle son abruptly shouted out – “What the hell is a map book!?”.  He raised a very valid point – which beautifully articulated why ABBYY bought TimelinePI – people need to bring their Process IQ into the 21st Century.

Think about it: no one wants to do things the hard way. If you had a choice between taking a road trip with paper maps, or using GPS to find your way, wouldn’t you choose the latter? Of course, you would.

Even for its most rudimentary function of getting from point A to point B, map books are almost obsolete. Whereas a modern GPS technology is your best option to get you to where you need to go. GPS allows us to see the most direct route,  the most traffic,  road closures, how long it will take, which routes have toll charges and how much potential time it could save us. 

Sophisticated apps like Waze and Google Maps will even tell you if there are any friends on your travels, any broken down cars or police. They can tell you how your employees are driving. If you take a wrong turn, GPS can bring you back on course, warn you of any inclement weather.  And, probably most importantly, it will guide you to the nearest Starbucks!

Now sure you’re probably wondering: “But Joe, why is this important for process excellence?”

A recent survey conducted by Opinion Matters in January 2019 found that nearly half (45%) of C-suite executives admit that they are unsure about where to start when developing their digital transformation strategy (read: have no “GPS”). So, is it really a surprise to find out that many of these transformation efforts struggle to be successful?

One of the biggest challenges facing digital transformation right now is identifying, justifying and prioritizing the most suitable use cases and high impact transformational opportunities –the ones that will improve your customer experience, reduce your process friction & create the biggest ROI. With the other key data point being that our optimizations deliver the expected ROI and stay optimized – operational control is becoming absolutely critical! 

Having been spoilt with Business Intelligence-based analytics leveraging the huge amounts of data that are now being generated from our operational systems of records, we still have failed to provide any meaningful process analytics. There is no doubt that current BI and analytics tools have little to no understanding of process. So the current drive is for Process Intelligence Platforms that have the ability to automatically discover and visualize existing process flows, automatically analyze process performance  – bottlenecks, missed steps, repeated steps etc.., operationally monitor and alert on real-time conformance and compliance issues, and provide prediction on potential next steps and process outcome.

Sophisticated process intelligence provides key insights throughout the entire digital transformation journey, from defining the strategy to continuous innovation and sustainable process excellence. With true data-driven Process Intelligence, gone are the days addressed with an inconvenient, timely and costly approach that involved manual assessment, process surveys, and time and motion studies that had not always returned satisfactory results!

With the risk of sounding like a scratched record, throw away the “map books”! The “Process GPS” revolution is here, it exists! Adopting ABBYY Process Intelligence in your organization is like giving your entire team modern Process GPS technology – which will act as your interactive digital twin for process excellence and will enforce a strategic approach to your digital transformation.


Joseph Rayfield is an accomplished business professional with a proven domestic and international track record of delivery in aggressive growth environments. He has an extensive background in technology – ranging from Data & Hosting networks through to Enterprise SaaS Software Solutions. Most recently Joe has worked in senior management positions in EMEA, Asia Pacific and the US focusing on Global Business Development for TimelinePI. Following ABBYY’s acquisition of Timeline PI, Joe has assumed the role of Vice-President of Process Intelligence in ABBYY.

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