OK – we understand that we don’t want thechemical known as BPA in our water bottles. But when it comes to the BPA that stands for ‘business process automation’ – well that’s a good thing.  A recent survey from CompTIA revealed that more and more businesses are using workflow automation to boost efficiency and overhaul existing business processes. Technologies like direct deposit are streamlining activities, and helping businesses get more done faster, growing their scope and market share. The industry of business process management (BPM) and business process automation (BPA) is projected to grow to $7.6 billion in 2016, up from $4.4 billion in 2012. 

How BPA Leads to Competitive Advantage

By automating simple and regular tasks, business process management techniques free up employees to focus on more complex processes.  Many businesses find that BPA tools make it easier to reach new customers and allow for faster and easier business decisions by offering robust analytics. Additionally, implementing these tools can reduce the unnecessary growth of departmental information silos and make it easier for cross-department communication. By making the business process more visible across the board, business process automation can eliminate accidental or unnecessary redundancies and duplication. BPA can also reduce errors in work and eliminate or reduce troublesome bottlenecks that challenge office productivity. The combined positive effects of business process automation add up to a major competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

Once the domain of only the largest corporations, BPM and BPA have now come down enough in costs to be available to many more companies, leading to increased efficiency across the board. Three-quarters of small businesses responding to the CompTIA survey indicated significant growth in the use of BPA technology over the last two years. Additionally, 43 percent of large businesses report applying BPM tools to every area of business practice.

Types of BPA Tools 

The most common BPA tools adopted by businesses, according to the CompTIA study were: 

  • Cloud computing, with 65 percent adoption
  • Mobile technology, with 51 percent adoption
  • Data analytics, with 45 percent adoption
  • Project management, with 36 percent adoption
  • Machine to machine, with 25 percent adoption

Process-specific tools automate just one part of the workflow, such as employee reviews, expense reporting or invoice processing.  There is no one ideal solution for BPA/BPM within the workplace. Instead, it's a good idea to review business practices and come up with a list of specific processes most in need of improvement. Start by automating these processes, then continue to add automation tools as budget and desire allows. 

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