A New York City-based enterprise process automation company — WorkFusion — today announced $14 million in Series C funding. The money will be used to accelerate growth and expand business development, the company noted.

WorkFusion helps global enterprises automate manual work in large data-intensive enterprise operations. 

Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) led the funding round. "Workforce automation is the third and potentially most disruptive wave of enterprise labor transformation after outsourcing and crowdsourcing. WorkFusion automates labor intensive digital processes by accelerating time to market, improving accuracy and reducing labor costs," said Paul Asel, NGP managing partner. Asel is joining the WorkFusion board of directors. 

Automating Processes

WorkFusion's technology aims to help customers automate high-volume, labor-intensive processes that are historically performed by business process outsourcing (BPOs). That can include horizontal applications such as invoice and contract processing. Financing customers use the app to build and remediate reference data, customer on-boarding, claims processing and regulatory compliance.

"2016 will be the year of automation," Max Yankelevich, WorkFusion's CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. 

"Labor arbitrage is being replaced by digital arbitrage and our customers come to us not only to eliminate 60 percent of their operational costs, but more importantly, to gain business agility. Our platform combines robotic process automation with workforce orchestration and machine learning in one stack, which helps customers quickly automate complex business processes."

Existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), Greycroft Partners, iNovia Capital and RTP Ventures also participated in the round.

"Today, WorkFusion focuses on customers in the banking, financial services and insurance industries," MDV General Partner and WorkFusion Board Member Katherine Barr said. "There is strong inbound interest in WorkFusion's solution since many companies in commerce, healthcare and other verticals experience similar demands for smart process automation. With the additional financing, the company plans to expand its vertical and geographic coverage to service global customers in data-intensive industries."

Automation For All?

Forrester Research confirms that workflow automation software can lead to big savings. 

Today's customer-centric business world is characterized by new points of contact with customers, like mobile and the cloud, the researchers found in an early 2015 report. Business process management (BPM) tools of yesteryear simply can't keep up with the pace of technological change that is needed to compete and win.

"At this point, we have folks who are expecting and needing software delivered on just insane schedules," said John Rymer, VP and senior analyst for application development and delivery for Forrester. "Business process is going to be a key technology we use to rise to this challenge. And it's the latest challenge that we find folks using business process platforms to tackle."

Forrester found that many customer applications, particularly mobile applications, have sophisticated processes running behind them

"In particular," Rymer said, "business-to-business processes really have very strong process automation and process management requirements."

But are enterprises ready to automate fully? Certainly on the backend it's optimal. But for occupations themselves, not quite, researchers at McKinsey & Company found in a report last month. 

"Very few occupations will be automated in their entirety in the near or medium term," the researchers wrote. "Rather, certain activities are more likely to be automated, requiring entire business processes to be transformed, and jobs performed by people to be redefined, much like the bank teller’s job was redefined with the advent of ATMs."

The researchers reported that as many as 45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. In the United States, they reported, these activities represent about $2 trillion in annual wages. 

"Although we often think of automation primarily affecting low-skill, low-wage roles," McKinsey & Company researchers reported, "we discovered that even the highest-paid occupations in the economy, such as financial managers, physicians, and senior executives, including CEOs, have a significant amount of activity that can be automated."