Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting – Mind the Process Data Gap to Win in 2021 and Beyond

The 17th annual Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting Congress brought together the who’s who of industry leaders to share insights and help navigate the year ahead. From addressing top-line regulatory actions to discovering solutions for industry-wide challenges, the can’t miss event offered technical education coupled with organizational growth strategies. Hopefully the top-notch faculty and industry experts will be back in-person in Philadelphia for next year’s event.

I participated in an “Ask the Expert” panel with PwC’s Michelle Lee, Deloitte’s Temano Shurland and SAP’s Robert Jenkins to discuss practical applications of today’s technologies to finance and accounting, as well as insights on scalability towards tomorrow’s digital breakthroughs to transform accounting and financial reporting.

Two items from the news caught my eye as I was preparing for the session. First, you had Microsoft announce they will be giving away their low-code Power Automate application free with Windows 10 — which has one billion monthly active users according to some estimates. And second, The New York Times did a major story on Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology which signaled to me the tech is truly mainstream now. Given the audience (and I could not make this up if I tried), the article was titled, “The Robots Are Coming… for Phil in Accounting.”

Looking at the modern finance agenda, it is safe to move beyond the automation talk track of the past few years and explore what’s next and how to get there. Transformation is still top of mind. Everyone is trying to do more with less, leverage new technologies, enhance compliance, improve experience, be more data driven and any of the other targeted outcomes.

What is worth considering is the miserable success rates of major change programs. 70% of digital transformation projects fail, wasting $900B annually. Just 14% of companies have seen sustained and material performance improvements from their transformation programs. And finally, one more statistic, only 1% of organizations have their processes sufficiently under control to realize the full potential of digital solutions.

It really makes you wonder why programs can still get funded at all. I can only think that the potential risk of doing nothing is even greater, and it is seen as a long-term threat to the viability of the organization.

 So what can be done to get better faster?

We’ve been taught over the years that project success relies on people, process and technology. But the shift to a more digital-first approach over the past decade has broken the golden triangle of people, process and technology.

There has been way too much emphasis on technology as the answer to our company’s problems. And that has been at the expense of the people and process dimensions. Technology was seen as the easy button. Go buy a new platform and everything will be better.

I used to regularly conduct technology assessments. In at least 8 out of 10 assessments, where I was brought to explore what was seen as a technology problem. The companies had acquired the right software for their business. The root cause of the problem was actually a process issue or training/people issue that was not addressed properly. But the team was always convinced there was a technology problem.

But it is more than just too much focus on technology. And this is my final point. The biggest obstacle to complex, large-scale change is the lack of detailed knowledge on current state operations.

Companies need to evolve to win the market – and that’s probably more true today than ever before in the current environment. But they truly don’t understand how they operate on a daily basis. They have limited process understanding; they don’t know how their applications and data interact, and they don’t really understand what their customers expect.

And if you step back and think logically, it’s pretty obvious. It’s really hard to go from Point A to Point B if you don’t know where you are actually starting from. Everyone wants to get to that magical future state, but you need to understand current state first.

Before embarking on a major initiative, for it to be successful, a company must map its processes, its systems and its experiences. Today, that necessary level of operational intelligence just does not generally exist in most companies and on top of that it has been traditionally very difficult to obtain, but that is starting to change with emerging technologies which I’ll get into deeper in the break out session.

Most people are probably familiar with manual process mapping and conducting time-motion studies with consultants or business analysts. There are technology alternatives to make this process cheaper, faster and better.

Blast Off with Process Intelligence for Financial Services

Two of the biggest concerns for Financial Services Institutions (FSI) as we roll into 2021 are customers and compliance. The dynamics of the customer relationship were forever altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and any incremental progress on digitization and customer centricity was thrust into fruition in less than a year. But when change happens at such an accelerated pace, it’s difficult for your business and workforce to keep up. That, then, becomes a compliance issue, and it goes well beyond just the customer interaction. Every ripple of change that impacts customers also orbits on-boarding, supply chain, regulatory, and even employee satisfaction. 

So how do you cope? Read on to find out, or jump straight to our new ebook, Blast Off to a Transformational Future.

T-Minus 10-9-8…Start at the Launch Pad

To adjust to our new reality you need to first understand the reality of your business on the ground. You’re on the launch pad and you can see the promise of digital transformation looming large on the horizon. But, you need to optimize your underlying core processes as they continue to change. It’s a daunting challenge, but one that process intelligence can help you solve. 

It begins with the customer lifecycle. How you find and onboard customers has fundamentally changed. From prospecting and acquisition to eventual transaction processing, customers are demanding more, faster, and broader services. Their expectations are also continuing to climb. Process automation can help you eliminate slow, tedious, error-prone manual tasks, but where do you start? Determining which processes are ready for automation requires learning how processes are actually completed. 

FSIs have additional concerns around risk, internal controls, exposure to nefarious actors, and regulatory scrutiny, along with the need to meet rising customer expectations. There are also security implications to any process change, as well as the impact to workers, decision making, and more. Most firms are solving these challenges with digital transformations, even though McKinsey & Company found that just 14% of those efforts will return sustainable performance improvements. 

Again, the only path to transformational success is by first understanding your current processes and how they are actually performed. You don’t fire up the rocket engines and then move to the launch pad, right? 

7-6-5…Use Process Intelligence as the Fuel

FortressIQ combines computer vision, and deep learning models to automatically discover, map, model, and document the details behind every digital process executed across every application used by your workforce. By mapping processes across your entire firm and at all levels, you’re then empowered to identify operational risk and work on mitigation. Or, you can identify candidates for automation and move forward with confidence because you’ll uncover every deviation, best practice, and risky workaround before you automate.

Process intelligence fuels your transformation. It prepares you for the good work ahead, and quickly provides deep, accurate insights on every step of every business process. 

A good example comes from a broker/dealer that was deploying a cloud strategy. The firm relied on disconnected legacy and homegrown technologies, and had a very inefficient organizational structure. That made process discovery a challenge. So they deployed FortressIQ Process Intelligence to decode as-is processes. Across 10+ million events and 120+ applications, they discovered 40-50% of critical events happened within Microsoft Excel, Outlook, and Teams, which launched their transformation efforts.

4-3-2-1…Uncover GRC Issues

Successful transformation requires continued focus well beyond liftoff. Mission control needs constant and accurate insights to keep the mission on track. Similarly, your transformation teams need to see the impact of processes and process changes across your business. That’s especially critical for FSIs and this industry’s unique compliance and control requirements. 

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) challenges have ballooned as the pandemic pushed us into remote work situations. The implications are especially acute for FSIs (read our related blog post for more insights). FortressIQ lets you see into processes to combat financial crimes from both sides: you’ll see process gaps that might be attractive to criminals and you’ll help audit, compliance, and assurance teams better understand areas of risk. 

In one example, an investment bank wanted to combat financial crime (AML) by enhancing their transaction monitoring process and data management. But, their highly manual processes and unstructured data forced 100+ analysts to spend 80% of their time in data collection, cleansing, and loading before any actual analysis could be conducted. FortressIQ Process Intelligence decoded their current state processes to provide detailed data on application usage and process variations. These insights allowed the firm to quickly improve the user experience and streamline interactions across various systems.

Beyond GRC, process intelligence also gives operations, lending, and other departments a better view into how your business actually works. That helps you make improvements while closing BSA/AML and KYC risk gaps at the same time. FortressIQ also generates accurate process definition documents (PDD) automatically, thus helping teams across your firm automate workflows, increase compliance, and improve business operations.

For FSIs, this translates into a win-win of less risk and more efficient operations. 

Blast Off to Success

Today’s customers demand change, flexibility, and speed. But you can’t transform for tomorrow until you know how your business actually operates today. And, FSIs have the added responsibility of compliance and controls, regulatory oversight, governance, audit, and more. Every process can add to or reduce risk, and only accurate and comprehensive process intelligence shows you where that risk hides. It also provides the trajectory for eventual automation that further reduces risk and increases efficiencies.

The near real-time, data-driven insights provided by FortressIQ, along with the power and usability from our integration with Microsoft Power Platform, lets you transform your business today to keep up with the changing needs of tomorrow. 

Read more about process intelligence for FSIs in our new ebook, Blast Off to a Transformational Future. It also contains a helpful checklist of 5 critical prerequisites for successful FSI transformation.

Financial Services: 5 Ways to Bring EUCs into Compliance with Process Intelligence

End-user computing tools (EUC) are those that give anyone the power to build or modify an application. It can be as simple as recording a macro or entering a formula, and as complex as writing detailed scripts or using a drag-and-drop programming interface. But, whatever the method, EUC turns end users into citizen developers who can build and execute easily repeatable tasks and processes. 

Common EUC tools include spreadsheets such as Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel, databases, reporting tools such as Tableau, and more. Generally, these applications are used outside of core IT systems and are used across the enterprise for financial computations, data collection and cleansing, financial and regulatory reporting, and much more. It’s no wonder they’re frequently referred to as “shadow IT.”

Where EUC Adds Risk

EUC tools stand out from disconnected and inflexible core systems precisely because they are nimble, efficient, and easy to use. That’s why they’re ubiquitous in today’s modern workplace and which enterprises have no choice but to support. Financial Services Institutions (FSI) are no different, and maybe even more tied to the usability and flexibility of EUCs since they are used so heavily for financial calculations, reporting, and data analysis.

EUCs do, however, pose important risks and challenges, especially if your enterprise lacks on-going governance to detect granular process execution from such applications. The lack of governance introduces immense risk with EUCs that are complex, generate critical data, or are used to make business decisions. Undetected errors, incorrect computations, and inaccurate reports can result in poor decisions, operational losses, and regulatory scrutiny and fines. 

But is this really a risk FSIs should care about? A large global bank was recently fined over $400 million by the regulators. The ruling pointed to the institution’s failure to implement and maintain an enterprise-wide risk management and compliance program, adequate internal controls, or a data governance program commensurate with the bank’s size, complexity, and risk profile. 

Determining Your EUC Exposure

The goal is not to start finding and eliminating EUCs, since that is nearly impossible and counterproductive. Instead, FSIs must begin to explore where operational issues are cropping up, and then begin drilling down to determine if EUCs are at the core of those issues.

Here are a few areas where FSIs can start to dig into their exposure to EUC-induced risk:

  • Reporting Delays: Are manual processes and workarounds causing delays in producing critical reports important to the management?
  • Late Regulatory Reports: Are delays in regulatory reporting submissions due to lack of standardized processes, disconnected applications, and legacy systems?
  • Underperformance: Have there been operational losses or near misses due to manual and complex processes?
  • Bad Decisions: Are there recurring instances of sub-optimal decisions being made due to incorrect reports, inaccurate data, and/or incorrect financial calculations?
  • Governance: How do you ensure effective governance and controls over identification and management of EUC tools?
  • Data Integration and Hygiene: Is your team spending too much time manually collecting, cleansing, and transforming data before it enters a process?

Mitigating EUC Risk with Microsoft and FortressIQ

Across business and support functions, anecdotal evidence shows nearly half of workers’ time can be spent in collaborative applications, such as email, spreadsheets and databases, chat, and others. These are all considered EUCs, and they produce a large amount of unstructured data which is manually collected, shared, and transformed to execute tasks and processes. While enterprises spend millions of dollars annually on core applications, it’s within these EUC tools that most of your critical day-to-day work happens.

But, while these office productivity applications enable flexibility, they lack the rigor and structure of core systems and applications. Therefore, they cannot generate the click-level data logs and rigidity that legacy applications offer. To discover how your enterprise is using EUCs requires either slow, expensive, manual process discovery, or something more modern. 

FortressIQ combines AI and computer vision to capture and discover relevant process data, even within EUCs. This is human-level observability that brings the required context and meaning to organizational process data. It’s called process intelligence, and can be used to automatically discover, map, model, and document the granular details behind every digital process executed across every application. EUCs included.  

Once you’ve used FortressIQ to decode how your business works, across your entire organization, you have the power to automate data flow and processes, increase compliance and controls, and substantially reduce operational risks with Microsoft Power Apps.  The combination enables you to quickly build the custom, no-code applications needed to ensure both flexibility and control, while removing the risks of redundant, tedious, and error-prone tasks. 

5 Ways to Use Process Intelligence

Process intelligence provides visibility into how your business runs. Not how it’s supposed to run, but how it actually runs. This gap creates immense amounts of risk, all of it unknown unless you can capture an accurate as-is picture of your enterprise. 

Here are just a few ways FSIs are leveraging FortressIQ to reign in their EUC risk:

  1. Intelligent SOPs. FortressIQ documents processes at the most granular level provides the basis for automatically created process detail documentation (PDDs).
  2. Automation. FortressIQ surfaces repeatable, predictable tasks and the variations of how tasks are executed by different users. The insights are an automation generator at scale when coupled with Microsoft Power Apps.
  3. Strategic Insights. FortressIQ creates an organizational blueprint to inform decisions on system usage, employee experience, application interconnectedness, third-party vs. in-house applications, digital strategy, data governance, and more.
  4. Strengthening Internal Controls. Process intelligence delivers granular insights to identify and manage risks by reducing dependence on EUCs or through automation with Microsoft Power Apps.
  5. System Optimization. Process intelligence delivers macro insights to spot process slowdowns and bottlenecks, opportunities for enhanced decision-making, and areas where the employee experience can be improved through automation with Microsoft Power Apps.

To learn more about process intelligence for FSIs, read how it accelerates GRC efforts and how it helps to transform BSA/AML and KYC

How Process Intelligence Accelerates GRC Efforts for Financial Services

The focus of all organizations and leaders this year has, rightfully so, been to protect its customers and employees. Over 90% of the workforce is now working remotely, outside the boundaries of the traditional office, while customers forge ahead into uncertainty. Indeed the world now looks very different from what it did at the start of the year. But one thing is clear: this is the new normal.

But as financial services institutions (FSI) look to overcome ongoing challenges to managing risk, the need to improve governance and exert control over processes and activities remains critical. Add in digital transformations, upgrades to aging technology, and dealing with increased regulatory scrutiny, there is immense pressure on governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) teams. Between 2019 and 2020, regulatory fines and penalties on FSIs have exceeded over $11 billion, largely due to financial crimes, a lack of adequate supervisory controls, and governance and risk management failures.

Managing GRC in our new normal requires a new approach. Detailing the interconnectedness of people, process, technology, and data is crucial to mitigating risk, improving compliance, and aligning governance with business goals. Leveraging artificial intelligence, computer vision, and deep learning models, also known as process intelligence, is now an important tool in the toolkit for the GRC practitioners, and officers across multiple lines of defense.

Where Process Intelligence Makes the Difference
Only by understanding the reality of your business processes can you be effective in improving internal controls. FortressIQ decodes work to provide the detailed current-state assessments, which give you the process intelligence to make data-driven decisions. It captures tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or digital blind spots. It works across all applications, through each department across the enterprise, and for every single process. It’s also faster and less expensive than traditional process mapping and mining methods, yet provides much higher accuracy to reduce rework and accelerate improvements.

Process intelligence provides GRC a powerful tool, and extends into financial crime, audit and assurance, operations, lending, and many other areas requiring execution of manual, repeatable tasks and usage of multiple systems and applications. With a deeper understanding of how your business actually works, strategic and tactical changes can be implemented effectively and efficiently, and with better oversight.

Converting Process Risk into Data Transparency
Below are key areas where process intelligence helps FSIs understand their current-state processes at the most granular level, and which can be leveraged effectively at scale:

  1. Enterprise-wide Risk Management (ERM): Process intelligence provides a detailed understanding of end-to-end processes at the enterprise level across key functional areas. This detail improves how risks are identified, captured, aggregated, and reported. Specifically, end-user computing tools are identified to highlight when and where manual workarounds occur. Examples include complex compilation and computation tasks performed by Risk Management, Operations, Finance, and Treasury to calculate market risk, credit risk, liquidity risks, capital and liquidity ratios, and more. Additionally, these granular process insights can then be leveraged for operational risk and control self-assessments (RCSA).
  2. Data Governance: To ensure effective management of BCBS standards, the Data Management office can leverage process intelligence to track which data points are captured manually. That’s essential to running the business and managing risks. Understanding the key sources of data (internal or external, such as regulatory websites or third-party data) and how the data is consumed (data inputs and outputs) within the organization can be tracked and measured.
  3. Compliance Risk Management: Compliance officers can leverage process intelligence to ensure adequate procedures are in place for process governance. In addition, simplified and standardized regulatory reporting processes. For example, a leading FSI mapped its trade reporting (blue sheets) processes, which included heavy user intervention and dependency on multiple applications and platforms, to execute regulatory requests. The number of regulatory requests had quadrupled in just a few months due to market volatility, which slowed down efforts and created a constant backlog. Within 7 days of deploying FortressIQ, and without disruption or utilization of a compliance officer’s time, the FSI was able to map end-to-end processes from request receival to submission. Compliance is now fully aware of the current state procedures and its complexities, and the output is being used as a business requirement document for process re-design and automation.
  4. Internal Controls: By understanding business processes at the most granular level, as well as detailing how key applications and platforms are used at the user level, internal controls can be strengthened and validated by all lines of defense. The procedure documentation, analytics, and insights can then be leveraged by Compliance, Risk Management, and Internal Audit to understand processes, manage risks, and validate and strengthen internal controls.

Process Intelligence for Every Line of Defense
Process intelligence brings visibility into each line of defense within an FSI by following the human and the process instead of application logs or consultant interviews. Advanced computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence capture every process step quickly and accurately, with zero integration and universal compatibility. This automated business process discovery, modeling, and documentation surfaces data and insights unattainable with traditional methods, but instantly usable by GRC across their purview and across the enterprise.

Three Lines of Defense Model

Process Intelligence is a valuable tool that uncovers the real usage of all governance, risk and compliance workflow tools and technologies. FSIs require transparency above all, and FortressIQ delivers real-time, data-driven insights that create a detailed map of your business – across all applications, through each department, and for every single process.

We can help your GRC efforts, too. Just click here to let us know how to get in touch.

Transforming BSA/AML and KYC with Process Intelligence Technologies

The U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 was one of the first Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) laws. It required companies and financial institutions to establish and report on internal controls and other measures put in place to prevent the facilitation of financial crimes. Other similar laws exist in countries around the world, creating a complex web of potential compliance issues for financial services companies.

Between 2008 and 2018, financial institutions worldwide have paid an estimated US$26 billion in fines and penalties as a result of violations to these regulations. That’s an average of $2.6 billion per year. However, government scrutiny of money laundering is now at an all-time high. Financial Institutions were fined US$5.6 billion in the first half of 2020 alone for non-compliance with AML, KYC, and related regulations. If the trend continues, it would represent a 430% increase over the previous ten-year average.

It is increasingly clear that compliance with these regulations is critical to the sustainability of every financial institution. Unfortunately, the traditional means of transforming your BSA/AML processes are woefully inadequate. But there are new technologies helping accelerate and increase the success of BSA/AML transformation.

Does Your AML/KYC Process Add Risk?

While it is the responsibility of all employees, partners, and suppliers to prevent an organization from facilitating financial crimes, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Compliance are the two departments playing key roles in defining and implementing the required internal controls. CLM is the first line of defense within any organization. Compliance acts as the second line of defense, responsible for policy making, escalation, and resolution, as well as performing independent risk management. Auditors, the third line of defense, ensure any risk governance framework complies with regulatory guidance.

Three Lines of Defense Model

Before taking on a new client, a due diligence process is generally conducted to evaluate the client’s risk rating. It begins with a basic understanding of the client’s identity, the risk involved, and an understanding of their financial habits. Onboarding high-risk customers and politically-exposed persons requires enhanced due diligence with additional assessments of the client’s geographic location, source of funds, and purpose of the transaction, and may require ongoing monitoring.

This is an important task that typically happens as follows:

  1. Pre-onboarding checks are conducted by working with Sales, Risk Management, Legal, Compliance, and others to collect and review relevant client data, product information, and documents as mandated by the regulatory authorities.
  2. Teams then update multiple systems of record to ensure a client’s readiness to transact.
  3. Post-onboarding processes then include on-going client reviews and continuous monitoring, managing client and counterparty data and records, and potentially, client off-boarding.

This process can quickly become complex, especially at global organizations spanning multiple geographies with various policy interpretations, competing rules and regulations, and related data housed in multiple and disconnected software applications. That last point adds risk, especially when data is not integrated, thereby forcing considerable amounts of manual, repetitive, error-prone work. The result is increased operational, reputational, and financial risk.

Additional risks arise from policy interpretations and potentially incorrect execution of processes, which both depend on the experience of KYC analysts. It is indeed demanding for analysts to make critical decisions that require focused thinking while concurrently performing important yet mundane manual data-entry tasks.

Add it all up and your AML/KYC process is exposing you to more risk, which is exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do!

Transforming BSA/AML with Success

Transforming any enterprise process can be daunting, for good reason. A study by McKinsey & Company indicates that a staggering 70% of large transformation projects fail to deliver expected results. Reasons may include unclear objectives, lack of leadership, and lack of commitment. But looking deeper, transformation projects are frequently derailed when teams underestimate process complexity. It’s a huge undertaking to identify the appropriate processes, perform detailed current state assessments, develop business requirements, and keep an eye on budgets. Then, for any transformed process, adequate training is required, and even minimal employee turnover can add to the challenges.

When focused on AML/KYC processes, the need for a successful transformation can be critical to your organization’s survival.

But help is available from point solutions such as Microsoft Power Automate, which uses Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to help organizations streamline, standardize, and automate routine tasks. Many financial institutions are also leveraging cognitive natural language processing (NLP), with focused solutions such as DDIQ by Exiger, to accelerate adverse media and sanctions screening processes related to clients.

AML/KYC platform providers can help streamline end-to-end processes. But successful implementation of these types of platforms largely depends on the quality of the business requirements and clearly defined compliance policies. It’s also dependent on the prevailing regulatory rules, final user acceptance testing and training. In reality, it takes many months for organizations to fully understand and effectively leverage these platforms, which adds further delays to already complex transformation projects.

FortressIQ is playing a key role in a successful AML/KYC transformation by converting a process problem into a big data problem. FortressIQ performs detailed current state assessments to provide near real-time process intelligence. It then provides the insights to make data-driven decisions.

Using computer vision, NLP, OCR, and deep learning algorithms, FortressIQ will:

  • Capture tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or blind spots;
  • Provide faster time to value by generating detailed, enterprise-wide process insights in just 2-4 weeks and without consuming worker time; and
  • Cost much less than human consultants, including eliminating documentation errors and the related rework.

Insights provided by FortressIQ can be leveraged by functional and transformation teams to collaborate on areas that matter: process enhancement, automation, and training.

Effectively managing your AML/KYC risk is critical to the success and reputation of your organization. Process intelligence and emerging technologies can help mitigate these risks, speed up the transformation journey, and enhance the customer and employee experience. It could also prevent a AML/KYC violation, which is becoming an increasingly expensive prospect.

FortressIQ Exits Stealth with $16 Million in Funding to Bring Cognitive Process Analysis to the Enterprise

Its Virtual Process Analyst combines Computer Vision + Natural Language + Sequence Modeling to accelerate digital transformation projects for the Global 2000, reducing current state assessments from months to weeks, lowering costs by up to 90%

  • Innovative AI platform automates the understanding of processes, amplifying an organization’s ability to leverage technologies such as Robotic Process Automation and Conversational Agents
  • Process comprehension surpasses existing technologies by connecting disjointed processes and uncovering business rules–without any integrations, log access or manual data mapping

SAN FRANCISCO, December 4, 2018 – FortressIQ, creator of a cognitive automation platform that powers and accelerates digital transformation through imitation learning, today announced it has raised $12 million in Series A financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners. This new capital extends $4 million in seed funding from Boldstart Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Eniac Ventures, bringing the total funds raised to date to $16 million.

Founded in 2017, FortressIQ pioneered a fundamentally new way for Global 2000 companies to achieve their transformation goals. Recognizing that the largest obstacle to digital transformation is the lack of detailed information on current state of operations, FortressIQ spent 18 months working with corporate transformation teams building AI to solve their most pressing needs. This powerful platform addresses Peter Drucker’s age-old maxim that “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” by delivering the quantified workforce and providing the data today’s enterprise needs to optimize their transformation initiatives.

“FortressIQ’s technology provides the insights necessary for a global organization to integrate the digital workforce into their operations,” said Nakul Mandan, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “We think the company’s strong management team, with its data-driven approach, is uniquely positioned to alter the expensive, slow and inefficient methodologies that prevent businesses from fully realizing their digital transformation initiatives today.”

Each year, billions of dollars and millions of hours are spent with process analysts interviewing users and generating documentation. The large diversity, age and customization of enterprise applications has made traditional technical solutions to this problem impossible, forcing organizations that want a detailed understanding of their complex operations down a laborious and often error-prone path that can take months for a single business function. As PwC puts it, we should “imagine a world in which automation tools watch how we work, then use artificial intelligence (AI)-driven insights to tell us how to work better (or upgrade our work efforts for us) on the fly.” FortressIQ delivers that vision.

How the FortressIQ Cognitive Automation Platform Works

At the heart of the platform is the FortressIQ Virtual Process Analyst, which structurally changes how companies acquire knowledge of their operations, learning the same way that humans do, through observation. The Virtual Process Analyst transparently learns a business process and all its permutations as they occur in real-time, then assesses, analyzes and provides valuable insights to guide operational change in days.

Leveraging computer vision instead of user interviews, APIs or transaction logs, the Virtual Process Analyst requires zero integration and can work with any application, on premise or cloud based, instantly. FortressIQ provides a time to value in weeks, and meets all the needs of compliance, IT/Infosec and operations.

“We’re thrilled to partner with a premier enterprise investor like Lightspeed, which has deep knowledge of the Global 2000 and their digital needs,” said Pankaj Chowdhry, founder and CEO of FortressIQ. “After speaking with hundreds of companies it became clear that the dollars being wasted on process assessments and documentation are a ‘tax on innovation,’ syphoning dollars from transformation initiatives. To address this grim reality, we’re delivering on the promise of cognitive automation with the GA release of our platform, putting us in a strong position to build on the sales momentum and traction we’re already experiencing with Fortune 500 companies.”

FortressIQ will be at the Intelligent Automation Austin conference on December 4-5. Stop by booth 35 to learn more and see a demo of FortressIQ’s imitation learning technology in action.

About FortressIQ

FortressIQ is the creator of a cognitive automation platform that powers and accelerates digital transformation through imitation learning. Using an innovative type of AI that combines computer vision, natural language and sequence modeling, FortressIQ learns how a business functions through live activity analysis. By radically lowering the cost, effort and time required to document business processes, Global 2000 customers can use FortressIQ’s platform to quickly gain the insights necessary to improve business operations. The FortressIQ platform requires no integration or API access, works with all applications whether proprietary or commercial, and delivers a time to value in weeks.

Founded in 2017, FortressIQ is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Boldstart Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Eniac Ventures. To learn more please visit:

Media Contact: Jill Reed Sift Communications