More SMBs are investing in business process management solutions to drive their automation capabilities and achieve increased accessibility to other new technology trends, such as mobile, cloud computing and analytics. According to CompTIA's recent "Trends in Workforce Automation and Communication" report, firms are focusing their automation efforts on "expense reporting, invoicing and employment reviews."
Beyond paperless strategies, BPM investments are a critical component of automation efforts, helping companies streamline workflow and ensure successful integration of the technologies that support the changes with their legacy systems and operations. This allows businesses big and small to adopt mobility strategies, integrate cloud services or even adopt social networking as part of their enterprise communications solutions.
"Technology is no longer functioning in a simple support role, but is increasingly used to meet business objectives and drive differentiation," said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA. "Companies with aggressive technology adoption mindsets are able to advance to process-level issues and create competitive advantage."
According to the report, about 75 percent of SMBs interviewed stated that they have been increasing their investments into, and use of, BPM software in the last two years. Purchases focused on cloud (65 percent of businesses surveyed) and mobile BPM (51 percent), as well as data analytics solutions (45 percent).
Robinson noted that the technologies firms are investing in make their automation simpler, promoting swift response times and ensuring that the platforms for organizing efforts are in place. How familiar professionals are with these processes - I.E. how similar they are to processes these workers already use, such as social media interfaces - will determine how quickly and effectively they are able to adapt.
"As businesses become more familiar with these concepts and others, they'll continue building automation into their processes and drive focus and energy back into business objectives and innovation," Robinson said.
Investing in mobile, social or cloud BPM solutions can give companies the head start they need to succeed with automation efforts, ensuring the foundation for workflows is in place before launching any automation strategies and seeing a flaw after its too late. The right approach will mean less troubleshooting later on, and easier integration of new trends and processes with the systems later on. Optimized streamlining of processes over time will help SMBs save money and increase their efficiency, even if they aren't investing in automation strategies.
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