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Business Process Automation Set to be an Area of Opportunity

  1. Business Process Automation Cycle

Business process automation (BPA) may be a second-tier IT topic behind things like cloud computing, mobility, and big data, but it is the type of comprehensive discipline that will combine those popular trends and produce tangible business value. CompTIA’s study on the state of business process automation sheds some light on practices and outlooks for this area.

  • Automation begins with technology-enabled business processes. While large firms (500+ employees) are the most likely to rely on technology, a healthy percentage of SMBs also use technology for processes such as expense reports, invoices, or employee reviews.
  • Although technology use is fairly high, actual BPA strategies may be limited to a small set of tools. Over half of companies surveyed had familiarity with Sharepoint, Salesforce, and eFax, but less than one third of companies said they were familiar with tools that were more business-function specific, such as DocLink, Workday, or Concur.
  • In addition, those tools that are in place appear to be offering some amount of business value, but not yet the optimal value. Across a range of business functions—including customer relationship management, content management, and expense management—30%-40% of companies stated that BPA components were in place but needed improvement.
  • Some of the simplicity in BPA implementation may tied to the fact that these efforts have been recent activity for many companies. Eighty-five percent of companies say that they have seen a significant or moderate increase in use of BPA technologies in the past two years. Moving forward, that momentum will continue—88% of companies expect to see significant to moderate increases in the use of BPA technologies over the next two years.

The combination of familiarity with concepts, desire for improvement, and intent to build out solutions makes business process automation an area with interesting potential. Solution providers with expertise in installing automation tools and linking tools together to enable an automated workflow should find success with clients aiming to increase their efficiency.

CompTIA’s Trends in Workflow Automation and Communications study is based on an online survey conducted in October 2013 of 500 technology or business professionals (end users) in the U.S. The channel component was conducted in April 2013 among 500 IT channel companies. The complete report is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the file at www.CompTIA.org or by contacting research@comptia.org.