CompTIA’s study on Business Process Automation (BPA) shows VARs have growing opportunities to provide these solutions. The association conducted an online survey of 500 IT and business professionals in the U.S. about how businesses handle workflow and process, including automation and communication. CompTIA also surveyed 500 IT firms in the U.S. for their insights.
The study found more than one-third of firms, regardless of size, report an increase in use of BPA technology over the last two years, and most firms use some form of this technology. Not surprisingly, research also found that business reliance on technology is increasing, and companies expect IT to be a key driver of business objectives in the future. Of those surveyed, 59 percent put a high priority on reducing costs and overhead, which can be accomplished with streamlined, efficient processes that result from the use of BPA.
CompTIA points out there is no single product the enables a company to automate a wide range of processes. It requires a solution with three components: software specific to the automated function — such as invoicing or employee management; connections from applications to start and end workflow and to pass work from one stage to the next; and a data repository. Companies can use technologies, including cloud computing, mobile, or data analytics, in these solutions.
According to Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis at CompTIA, the opportunity for VARs is in the ability to take a broad view of the businesses’ objectives and see how things can be stitched together. “We’ve reached the point where a clever use of technologies can provide differentiation for your business.”
Robinson says, in the past, BPA has been the domain of large enterprises. But with cloud and mobility, solutions providers can provide more targeted automation that doesn’t require a huge capital investment, making this technology more accessible to SMBs.
He suggests that VARs pose two questions to SMBs to begin to design their solutions:
Editor's note: associate editor Bernadette Wilson contributed to this article.