Business process automation has made enterprises more resilient and empowered employees during remote work. In 2021, then, we can expect to see BPA technologies and automation strategies evolve as enterprises target long-term digital transformations.
The importance and urgency of business process automation (BPA) has grown substantially over the past year. As organizations were forced to give up in-office operations and on-premise systems and shift to remote work due to the pandemic, the question of productivity and business continuity was a daunting one.
On one hand, those organizations that had already begun digital transformation were scaling up their deployments to go fully digital. On the other, organizations began to deploy BPA and intelligent process automation along with remote collaboration tools. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for digitization and future-ready automation has risen as businesses look to simplify processes and build resilient, adaptable systems. This indicates that certain business process automation trends will mature in 2021 as companies ramp up digital transformation.
Business process automation trends in 2021
Organizations across industries — from financial services to retail, manufacturing to healthcare — are steadily implementing new tools and technologies to adapt to new virtual models of conducting business and reaching customers. In 2021, the pursuit of delivering better customer experiences will be driven not only by new digital processes but also by frequent innovation.
The proliferation of cloud services, data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will provide organizations the means to become more competitive in crowded markets. We can, therefore, expect to see some of the following themes in terms of automation trends for 2021, as also suggested by Gartner:
- An overall increase in data and new sources of data will drive the adoption of new computational and storage technologies such as the cloud.
- The speed of automation adoption is increasing as more companies build fully automated value chains.
- CIOs and other technology leadership positions are increasingly focusing on customer experience and simplifying operational processes.
Hyperautomation refers to the approach wherein any process in an organization that can be automated should be automated. The need and demand for hyperautomation are expected to be driven by organizations wanting to move away from non-streamlined legacy business processes that lead to costly and persistent issues for operational efficiency. The goal, therefore, will be to eliminate all time-consuming, repeated, and low-value tasks, and automating them at a granular level to free up time and resources such as costs and employee productivity.
- AI engineering
Artificial Intelligence has come to play a significant role in BPA technologies and organizations continue to invest in building AI models for both internal as well as external, customer-facing functions such as sales, supply chain management, finance, etc. However, businesses will also need to create an effective AI engineering strategy to ensure scalability and sustained performance from their systems. More importantly, this will also ensure that organizations are able to derive the full value out of their AI, automation, and digital investments.
- Digital “anywhere” workforce
As the ongoing pandemic has spurred remote work by a geographically distributed workforce, we are witnessing several companies make a permanent transition towards more futuristic, digital business models. With remote here to stay for the foreseeable future, another major trend we can expect to see is companies investing towards intelligent process automation and robotic process automation to enable remote collaboration and productivity for their employees.
- Distributed cloud
Cloud is going to be one of the biggest drivers of remote work as it companies will look to decentralize access to business systems and resources for a distributed workforce while keeping data and operations tied to a single, central source. The distributed cloud model will, therefore, help organizations leverage cloud services distributed across various physical locations, while a public cloud oversees the operation, governance, and development of the connected clouds.
- AI and robotics in customer service
Artificial intelligence and robotics have important brand management tools, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic when both B2B and B2C businesses have had to contend with fewer people to interact with customers on the ground. Even before the pandemic, a large number of marketers often struggled, on a daily basis, to correctly understand their consumer’s perception of their brand and how best to target and engage them. With artificial intelligence and intelligent automation, understanding customers and their needs can become much simpler. AI and robotics deployed in customer-facing activities can be used to automate sales, marketing, and customer service activities, thus empowering human employees to create value for their customers through data-driven insights.
Business Process Automation Benefits
As organizations look to deploy process automation in 2021 and beyond, they must also focus on creating robust BPA and RPA strategies and roadmaps. Business can extract the full value of their deployments when they focus on larger business goals rather than simply checking a box. Here are a few such benefits of business process automation:
Cost-efficient: Automation helps in reducing costs previously incurred in repeated processes involving human resources. by replacing manual work, which is significantly costlier, with automated work, organizations can increase process efficiency and ultimately, customer satisfaction.
Time-efficient: Automation saves time by reducing workload while ensuring by design that processes and workflows are structured such that they deliver the intended results with minimal to no intervention.
Reduced errors: Errors are reduced through automation and users of automated systems also gain visibility to processes in real-time to identify and rectify errors, if any.
Employee productivity: Automation reduces human efforts to such an extent that employees can spend much more time on tasks that help drive high-level business results. This way, they can also focus on creative problem-solving and providing better customer experiences or conducting research and development to improve products.
Collaboration becomes easier: Automation and collaboration tools running on operating systems help employees connect faster and more efficiently on an individual level as well as on a team/department level. Real-time collaboration and visualization tools enable all team members and managers to gain a macro view of operations – from the beginning of projects, to monitoring, discussing, and evaluating processes across each stage.
Business process automation: The foundation for next-gen digital enterprises
Technologies such as automation, analytics, data sciences, among others are proliferating at such a rate that businesses can no longer defer them for the future if they want to remain competitive in the present. What makes business process automation especially lucrative for organizations, particularly for medium and small businesses, is that it does not a huge capital investment and can be deployed through minimal coding.
Here’s where VBeyond Digital comes in, with a team having cumulative experience of over eight decades and a wide spectrum of domain expertise such as Microsoft Technologies, Salesforce, SAP, BPA, RPA, Machine Learning, and Analytics. From developing the right strategy, implementing technologies, to dedicated support and maintenance, we serve as an end-to-end partner for your BPA needs.