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Blog | Dec 19, 2023

What’s the Future of Business Process Automation?

What’s the Future of Business Process Automation? Trends
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the future of business process automation (BPA)?

Ok, so predicting the future might not involve enchanted mirrors, but it does require a bit of visionary insight. While we can't summon magic, what we can do is gather insights from our thought leaders and experts, offering you a glimpse into the 2024 process automation trends.

Defining Business Process Automation

Before we jump into it, there are actually a lot of different definitions on the internet as to what BPA is. We tend to refer to it as business process management (BPM), or sometimes process orchestration. There might be small nuances between different vendors, strategies and products, but essentially, it’s the methodology for understanding, measuring, modeling and improving all your business processes — from individual tasks to entire workflows.

This includes:

In our case, we also refer to BPM/BPA as a technology. Specifically, we have SS&C | Blue Prism® Chorus.

“As a discipline, it covers how we study, identify, optimize and monitor business processes to ensure they deliver the right outcomes and results over time. As an intelligent automation technology, BPM – sometimes called digital process automation or business process automation – connects people, processes, digital workers, data, and systems. It enables work to be done faster, more efficiently, effectively and accurately, strengthening performance and leading to better business outcomes, lower costs and more satisfied customers.”

Greg Walker

Product marketing manager, SS&C Blue Prism

Market Trends for BPA

Generally, the market for BPA/BPM services will continue to see steady growth. According to Fortune Business Insights, the BPM market is projected to grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to $26.18 billion by 2028.

And by 2025, the Gartner® Competitive Landscape: Business Process Automation predicts that, “70% of enterprises in all industries will have engaged digital business model transformation services to implement analytics-driven business decisions and management capabilities.”

What can you glean from this? Those currently leveraging or planning to adopt BPM/BPA technologies and methodologies are likely to enjoy a distinct advantage in adapting to change. It’s not merely a tool for efficiency but offers organizations another way to compete — one that centers on their processes.

What’s the next big thing in business process automation?

If we had to pick just one, it would probably be generative AI. The public release of gen AI is truly a game-changing strategy for business processes. In its current form, it exhibits promising potential to improve workflows — streamlining, automating and enhancing every step.

Here are just a few ways it does this:

  • Automates faster: Gen AI reduces technical barriers and speeds up process discovery and development. How? Users simply need to write prompts to create processes, automations and other components.
  • Automates better: Gen AI makes it easier to access and analyze data to unlock greater information. You can prompt it to specifically pull up the information you’re looking for faster than if you were to find it yourself.
  • Automates simpler: Gen AI helps you automate more complex and nuanced cases while maintaining quality and minimizing disruption. For example, you can ask gen AI to generate the best workflow for a particular case.

Here’s what some of our thought leaders had to say about generative AI:

“Many organizations are on old BPM technology that requires modernization to compete in today’s fast-changing marketplace. The delay in moving causes upgrades and transformations to take longer than expected. Organizations should opt for a green field approach if their current technology is old, as it will result in a quicker implementation and faster ROI. Additionally, plan to upgrade annually and put that plan into your annual budgets to keep yourself on modern experiences.”

Brian Hesse

Product manager, SS&C Blue Prism

“The public release of ChatGPT sparked significant innovation, particularly in leveraging LLM and gen AI technologies. Although still evolving for business and mission critical processes, these technologies already offer promising applications in attended and task-focused areas. However, with a surge of offerings from top vendors, customers need discernment to sift through the hype and realize consistent value.”

Christopher Grønne Skaanild

Head of competitive intelligence, SS&C Blue Prism

What are the modern trends in business process automation?

Besides generative AI, intelligent automation continues to stand out as a modern trend for organizations to adopt in their processes. Intelligent automation (IA) integrates all these technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), business process management (BPM) and more to elevate automation possibilities to higher levels.

While BPM/BPA excels at automating repetitive, rules-based processes, RPA specializes in automating repetitive, rules-based tasks.

Together with BPA/BPM, IA and RPA help turn those day-to-day, repetitive tasks and processes usually carried out by a human worker, into ones that are handled by digital workers to be more efficient and effective. It reduces human intervention, allowing human workers to redirect their focus towards other value-driving processes — so we’ll be seeing more adoption of this in 2024.

“While automation in conjunction with a strong BPM plan can help improve processes, you can’t fix a bad process simply by applying technology to it. That’s why analysis and planning should lead the process. This means undertaking a systematic evaluation of current processes and outcomes.”

Greg Walker

Product marketing manager, SS&C Blue Prism

What are the other trends for business process automation in 2024?

In our 2024 BPM predictions e-book, we narrowed it down to seven predictions. Other than the continued adoption of gen AI, here are our predictions:

More citizen-led process development, where regular business users are able to improve processes and create their own solutions through low- and no-code automation tools.

Increased spotlight on compliance and regulations. Especially as more organizations adopt gen AI into their automations and processes, but also next year, we’ll likely see stricter ESG reporting standards. BPM/BPA will help organizations create data-driven compliance strategies.

Consolidation of technologies into a single platform vendor model that offers a full end-to-end customer journey experience. This includes BPA, along with technologies like RPA, process intelligence and intelligent document processing (IDP).

BPA/BPM platforms to offer microservices and componentization to help ensure that systems are proactive and that organizations will always stay at the forefront of innovation.

Refocusing on customers, departing away from a purely business-focused approach to optimizing and automating processes that directly improve customer experiences and customer service. It's not just about automating to speed through the customer lifecycle; it's about strategically automating to ensure every interaction leaves a positive and lasting impression.

Leaning into the details will only become more important to inform decision-making. Gaining a genuine understanding, through data analytics, of your processes and the intricacies of automations is the key to their effective enhancement — and organizations are starting to realize how important that is.

The Future of Business Process Automation

Thanks to automation, processes and the way businesses operate are changing for the better. Employees are freer to spend their time on strategic tasks while automated tools take care of the manual, repetitive and administrative ones. The future will only continue to look brighter as automation possibilities advance with new technology and strategies — we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to its potential.

Download our e-book to read more about business process automation trends and predictions for 2024.

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