Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American business world. When small business owners become comfortable with technology and integrate it into their workflows, only then can new trends reach their full potential. And when it comes to business process automation, it looks like the small business world is taking notice.
What is Business Process Automation?
“Business process automation (BPA) is the technology-enabled automation of activities or services that accomplish a specific function or workflow,” tech blogger Margaret Rouse writes. “Business processes can be determined for many different segments of company activities, including sales, management, operations, supply chain, human resources and information technology.”
The goal of BPA isn’t just to automate processes and save money. It’s also focused on simplifying processes, improving accuracy, and helping businesses accomplish strategic goals while limiting room for costly errors.
BPA – as a concept – has been around for decades. But it’s just within the last few years that innovative technology has made it possible for small and large organizations alike to automate key areas of business without suffering setbacks in relation to accuracy and human touch. And as we move into 2019 and beyond, more growth and opportunities will be available.
4 BPA Trends and Predictions
Experts within the industry believe that 2019 will be a big year for BPA. As business owners become more educated and technology reaches greater economies of scale, adoption rates will increase, and the small business world will start to understand the full potential of these powerful solutions.
Here are some thoughts and concepts to keep an eye on:
1. Gateway Automation Grows
Not every small business is going to invest tens of thousands of dollars into highly advanced BPA solutions and systems. In most cases, smaller companies are going to begin with “gateway” automation – i.e. solutions that are simple and cost-effective.
For example, many businesses use finance and accounting solutions that either automate invoicing or make invoicing easier. And once they become familiar with how these platforms work, they become more willing to invest in a larger scale.
2. Accessible Data Drives BPA Innovation
More and more data is being collected by the day. Ultimately, this data will lead to greater innovation in the BPA space. For example, SAP Business Process Automation by Redwood has taken off in recent months. Customers have greater access to data, which increases efficiency, enhances reliability, and significantly lowers costs.
3. Employee Involvement Becomes Crucial
BPA technology doesn’t exist in a silo. In order for it to work effectively within a business environment, companies will have to think about the people that will be using the solutions.
As entrepreneur Leah Allen writes, “Perfectly designed automation will only work as well as it is adopted by the people who use it. Change is hard; most people don’t like change, even if it will make their jobs and lives easier. So to make sure it’s successful, remember to build in change management and training to any workflow automation you introduce.”
4. Measurement and Analysis Take Center Stage
As more businesses adopt BPA technology and integrate it into their companies, it’ll become increasingly evident that the key to maximizing success and potential is to carefully measure and analyze results. As such, much of the emphasis moving forward will be on establishing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and optimizing accordingly.
The Future of Automation
It’s impossible to accurately predict what the future of automation in business will look like, but it’s clear that BPA will hold a significant place in the discussion. Business leaders would do well to keep an eye on the latest innovation and track with the progress so that they can stay informed and ready to move when the timing is right.