Automation Anywhere’s IQ Bot and UIPath’s Document Understanding are software offerings that these companies are positioning as extensions to their base RPA solutions. These products are examples of a fairly crowded software space called Intelligent Document Processing (IDP). One of the research companies out there defines Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) as: any software product or solution that captures data from documents (e.g., email, text, pdf and scanned documents), categorizes, and extracts relevant data for further processing using AI technologies such as computer vision, OCR, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and machine learning. As it relates to process automation solutions, IDP software is definitely adjacent to RPA and BPA, since those technologies require structured data, but many of the inputs come in the form of semi-structured or maybe even unstructured documents. From a marketing standpoint, RPA vendors love their IDP software since it’s a way to bring AI into the mix, which certainly has a nice cachet. That said, IDP software has a very targeted set of use cases and should not be considered a general solution for automating all types of cognitive activities.
Here is a comparison of IDP software that was put out by the Everest Group (https://www.workfusion.com/reports/everest-group-idp-peak-matrix-2020/). One of the interesting things to note here is that Automation Anywhere has moved up to the Leaders in 2020 from sort of mid field in 2019. Also, what’s interesting is that neither UIPath, nor IBM’s Datacap show up here. I suppose, as with all of these research firms, not showing up in an assessment doesn’t necessarily mean they are not a player, it could simply be that they didn’t pay research company to be on their list. But who knows?