Highlight Report

AntWorks is back on the hill and serious about scaling IDP in the enterprise

September 3, 2021

AntWorks is back, leaner, fitter, and more focused than ever on tackling the data challenges demanded to deliver scalable, intelligent document processing (IDP) for the enterprise.

Not so long ago, it was hard to avoid AntWorks’ publicity machine. But its presence on the conference circuit out-punched its presence in enterprise customers. The business had been scaling up and preparing to take advantage of the noise it had generated when the pandemic struck.

Like many organizations that had been building up for growth, it found the rug pulled from beneath its feet and an urgent need to rethink. It halved in size. The marketing stopped.

To use an insect metaphor, AntWorks entered a chrysalis stage. It doubled down on its technology, focused on its cognitive machine reading (CMR) IDP solution, and landed some marquee clients to provide step-changing references.

Enhanced out-of-the-box proposition, new marketplace, and a “new” CEO, too

Working on clients’ real-world problems, documents, and processes has given AntWorks invaluable experience to improve its capabilities. We expect AntWorks to turn up the volume about the outcomes very soon.

AntWorks will announce an alliance with a technology provider in weeks; it will make a new launch of its updated product to global systems integrators, too. The team also added a marketplace for modular enhancements to its out-of-the-box CMR solution. There’s likely to be some fundraising later this year, with a significant raise to follow in 2022.

In short, the AntWorks colony is back on the hill, working tirelessly to solve unstructured data and document problems. The effort has earned Interim CEO Mike Hobday’s confirmation as permanent. His mission: Build AntWorks into a serious force in IDP.

Building a solution that clients can trust to engage with their core systems

“We’ve grown up and got serious. Our number-one driver is to take IDP into true scale with an enterprise-strength solution that clients can trust to engage with their core systems.”
– Mike Hobday, CEO, AntWorks

Pre-COVID-19, AntWorks promoted itself as an integrated intelligent automation platform, assuming enterprises would want to buy its three key elements—IDP, robotic process automation (RPA), and process discovery—as one integrated platform. Clients tended to buy piecemeal despite its triad of capabilities and regarded its CMR-based IDP capabilities as its crown jewel. The clear IDP traction helped prioritize its path forward.

Now, AntWorks offers customers more choices with modular offerings alongside a shift to a cloud-native approach through the containerization of its applications. A range of price options is on offer, too, with all-you-can-eat models for those with the largest numbers of documents to process.

The CMR product has undergone significant development. The previous version, CMR Square, required a lot of integration and supporting services, making it nearly impossible for partners to become independent of AntWorks’ service capabilities. Clients found it difficult to scale beyond the first project.

CMR product rebuilt for easier configuration and greater flexibility

In response, AntWorks re-architected CMR to be more easily configurable. Internally badged as CMR-plus—cloud-enabled and rapidly becoming cloud-native—it uses a componentized architecture. Customers can now pick and choose components rather than buy the whole product. More releases will follow this year, focusing on delivering high volumes of IDP at enterprise strength.

The new configurability opens options to partner with enterprise resource planning (ERP), industry-specific, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. It is designed to be an enterprise IDP engine digitizing unstructured data at the point of entry to the organization. Partners or clients can configure the product out of the box to deliver 70%-75% accuracy. The marketplace layer on top is where partners or clients can increase that accuracy with their own built-in CMR components. The product can also connect to “human-in-the-loop” elements for quality control and assisted learning.

Investments continue in RPA, primarily to service client needs in Asia-Pacific. AntWorks is based in Singapore.

The Bottom Line: AntWorks’ decision to focus and rearchitect offers an edge in the race to enterprise scale.

AntWorks has listened. Helmed by now-permanent-CEO Hobday, it listened to the market and dropped its RPA and integrated automation platform approach to go deep on its most impactful asset—its CMR-enabled IDP capabilities. It listened to customer and partner concerns about the challenges of configuration and rearchitected. Its CMR IDP tooling now has the potential to deliver IDP at an enterprise scale

As unstructured data and associated manual document processing problems continue to plague many industries, every IDP player in the market is reaching for enterprise scale. AntWorks’ advantage may be its decision to rearchitect and offer upgraded configurability that delivers. The proof, as always, will be in the results of those marquee clients it has been working so hard with.

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