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ABBYY Announces Plans to Buy Process Intelligence ISV

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ABBYY recently announced its intention to acquire TimelinePI, which develops a process intelligence platform. According to the ABBYY press release, “TimelinePI’s platform enables anyone to visualize, quantify and understand how processes behave by providing detailed insights into true performance, bottlenecks, and risks. Its patent-pending Timeline Analysis approach is unique in its ability to handle the full range of business process types—from highly structured to ad hoc.”


TimelinePI focuses on the healthcare, financial services, and insurance industries, and offers solutions in areas like human resources, procurement, and robotic process automation (RPA), which is an area of crossover with ABBYY. Integration with BPM systems is another shared area of focus. The acquisition is being touted as “as a critical cornerstone to ABBYY’s Digital IQ strategy.”


“We see opportunity for TimelinePI to add differentiating value to ABBYY’s core products and technologies by adding process intelligence, which will measurably improve business outcomes and benefits of ABBYY products,” said Ulf Persson, CEO of ABBYY.  “Users of the core ABBYY products will benefit greatly by the acquisition, as future releases of FlexiCapture and Vantage [ABBYY’s recently introduced software for embedding capture into RPA and BPM applications, see DIR 4/12/19] will have TimelinePI embedded. Users will be able to leverage the AI and Process IQ of TimelinePI within their ABBYY products.


“This will include the ability to visualize the capture flow, identify bottlenecks and areas of concern, monitor effectiveness and precision, and predict future outcomes and results.  Also, it is important to remember that ABBYY has become a major contributor to the success of RPA projects. In parallel, TimelinePI has become a key tool in the analysis and identification of existing processes. By bringing ABBYY and TimelinePI together, our common customers will be able to greatly improve ROIs for their automation initiatives.”


Located outside Philadelphia, TimelinePI was founded in 2015 by Scott Opitz and Alex Elkin, who also co-founded Altosoft, a business intelligence and analytics ISV that was acquired by Kofax in 2013 [see DIR 3/8/13]. TimelinePI competes in the rapidly growing process analytics market, which, according to a recent study available from Research and Markets, was worth $185 million in 2018, but is expected to grow to $1.4 billion by 2023—representing a CAGR of 50%. After the acquisition, ABBYY plans to continue to market TimelinePI as a standalone product, as well as part of an integrated offering with ABBYY’s capture products.


According to Opitz, ABBYY and TimelinePI have some common customers today, and he expects that crossover to accelerate “given our shared focus on process-centric solution partners in the RPA and BPM spaces.” “It is rare to find any companies using RPA or BPM at scale without having significant capture requirements and a need to understand their processes more fully to drive successful process re-engineering and automation efforts,” Opitz added.


This is the first acquisition we can recall ABBYY doing. But it’s not entirely surprising given ABBYY’s aggressive efforts to grow its business since Persson was named CEO in 2017. During that time, ABBYY has very actively pursued partnerships in the rapidly growing RPA space, so an acquisition of an ISV in an adjacent, and also rapidly growing, space like process analytics seems like a natural move. It also helps that Timeline’s top executives are familiar with the capture space from their time with Kofax.

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