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DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Business process automation (BPA), once limited to only the biggest of organizations, is making inroads among smaller companies, according to new research released today by CompTIA, the leading non-profit association for the IT industry.
Expense reporting, invoicing and employment reviews are among the areas where organizations are using technology to move away from paper and manual processes to digital formats, CompTIA's Trends in Workforce Automation and Communications study finds.
The widespread availability and relatively moderate-cost of cloud computing, mobile solutions, data analytics and other emergent technologies have made BPA options simpler and more user-friendly, even for small businesses. Three-fourths of small firms (less than 100 employees) surveyed by CompTIA have seen a significant or moderate increase in their use of BPA technology over the next two years.
"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."
There is no single product that allows a company to automate a wide range of processes. Rather, it's a strategic approach that involves three primary components.
1. Software used for discrete functions such as invoicing or employee management.
2. Connections between applications to start and end workflow and pass work from one stage to another.
3. A central repository for data.
In putting these pieces together, companies are increasingly using new trends in technology to build out their automated processes. In the CompTIA study, cloud computing (65 percent of firms), mobile technology (51 percent) and data analytics (45 percent) are the most prevalent.
CompTIA also asked companies to identify the areas where they hope to see workflow improvements through the use of BPA. The top five:
1. Bottlenecks that slow things down (48 percent of companies surveyed)
2. Duplication of work (46 percent)
3. Poor interaction between departments (39 percent)
4. Difficulty locating documents (33 percent)
5. Lack of business process visibility (27 percent)
"Technology and trends that generate additional revenue or new business tend to draw the most attention, but improvements to internal operations that reduce costs also contribute to the profitability equation," Robinson said.
The study was conducted in two parts: an October 2013 online survey of 500 IT and business professionals in the United State involved in IT decision making; and a separate survey of 500 U.S. IT firms.
The new study Trends in Workflow Automation and Communications is the latest example of how CompTIA re-invests resources into the IT channel to help IT businesses expand and grow. The full report is available at no cost to CompTIA members. Visit www.comptia.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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