Point of View

Are North American enterprises missing the process intelligence party? Don’t be fashionably late.

October 5, 2020

As the dust settles and we adjust to a world beyond the initial pandemic shock, one thing has become incredibly clear: enterprises cannot rely on legacy technologies and inefficient processes. Luckily for them, there’s a range of vendors waiting in the wings, armed with the latest process intelligence products to leverage and reveal the current state of process standardization. Given that such a significant number of multinationals are based in North America, we’d forgive you for expecting process intelligence to be the region’s latest marvel. Our research proves this isn’t the case, which means many enterprises could be missing this opportunity.

Companies of every shape and size already leverage process intelligence, yet enterprises in North America are late to the party

Exhibit 1 shows the adoption of process intelligence products by client size. Clearly, businesses of every size are leveraging the technology and reaping the rewards. Almost a third of process intelligence engagements are with clients boasting annual revenues exceeding $10 billion, and almost a quarter report revenue between $5 billion and $10 billion. It’s easy to see why process intelligence would tempt some of the larger companies; they are likely unknowingly crippled by inefficient processes presented by a complicated operations landscape, often consisting of multiple cases of M&A and an abundance of legacy technologies. For smaller companies, process intelligence appeals as a good gateway into the world of automation and other emerging technologies, given its ease and speed of adoption and frequently more affordable commercial models.

As you likely already know, most multinationals, including some of the world’s biggest enterprises, are based in North America. Given the popularity of process intelligence products among them, you might expect this region to lead the charge for process intelligence adoption; however, that simply isn’t the case.

Exhibit 1: Enterprises of all shapes and sizes are leveraging process intelligence.
Process intelligence adoption by client size (revenue per year)

Source: HFS Research, 2020

Sample: 1,000+ engagements from 14 leading process intelligence vendors

Shockingly, over half of process intelligence engagements are Europe based, with only a quarter in North America, cementing the theory that North American firms are late to the party

As we’ve already discussed in other research, the benefits of leveraging process intelligence products are clear to see, making it something enterprise must lend some serious thought to if they hope to compete in the post-pandemic world. However, while companies of all shapes and sizes are working with process intelligence vendors to streamline their processes, most of these engagements are based in Europe, while only around a quarter of engagements are based in North America. Exhibit 2 confirms this; 52% of process intelligence engagements are in Europe, and only 26% of engagements are in North America.

Understanding how we got here is relatively straightforward. Our research has proven that most process intelligence firms are headquartered in Europe, meaning their expansion so far has been into their back yards. For now, they have neglected overseas regions such as North America. As well as this, our client conversations revealed that many European firms have a much larger focus on organizational efficiency, which means process intelligence products are a natural fit. It is of less importance in regions like North America. Whatever the root cause, it’s undeniable that Europe is leading the way with process intelligence, and it’s time for businesses in every region to explore this technology, approach one of the many vendors establishing themselves in this market, and unshackle themselves from inefficiencies.

Exhibit 2: Over half of process intelligence engagements are in Europe; only a quarter are in North America.


Source: HFS Research, 2020

Sample: 1,000+ engagements from 14 leading process intelligence vendors

Existing process intelligence clients are already demanding their vendors expand to North America, proving its value in that market

At HFS, we’re well known for our candid conversations with enterprise clients across countless industries and markets, and process intelligence is no different. Several clients have recently explained that they would like their vendor to broaden their horizons and look to expand overseas. In the words of one client:

 “I want my vendor to have a global presence; they need to have boots on the ground in more markets, especially in the US.”

– Process intelligence client

It’s easy to understand why clients might want this—many of them have operations in multiple regions, including Europe and North America. Working with a vendor with presence across these regions offers numerous benefits, such as eliminating time zone and language barriers and incorporating regulatory compliance and data security requirements in the region. If enterprises that have already tasted process intelligence in Europe are demanding its expansion to regions like North America, it warrants consideration from every region. There is definitely a need for both enterprises and vendors to work together and grow the presence of process intelligence in North America. Many businesses could find themselves struggling to compete in the post-pandemic world as peers have driven new efficiencies and streamlined processes.

The Bottom Line: Process intelligence is here to stay, which means enterprises outside of Europe now need to play catch-up and explore the technology if they hope to continue to compete in the post-pandemic globalized world.

Ultimately, every enterprise should be on the lookout for the latest and greatest opportunities to improve their business and streamline internal operations. Process intelligence products making a mark beyond Europe, but there is still a long way to go, and if enterprises in these regions don’t take it seriously, we could see a significant divide. On the one hand, there will be numerous businesses operating efficiently, unshackled from inefficient processes. On the other, particularly in North America, many businesses will be fighting a war on two fronts: battling their internal challenges while remaining competitive on the global market.


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