Business Process Automation Trends in 2024

The process automation space is ever evolving which is probably why you’ve landed at this blog!

In today’s volatile world, every business is striving to be as efficient, innovative, and data-driven as possible.

As the technological landscape of business operations rapidly progresses, the methodology and solutions utilized for automating business processes advance with it.

In this blog, you’ll find a definition of what business process automation means and the top nine business process automation trends to be aware of.

 

What is business process automation?

Gartner defines Business Process Automation (BPA) as the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies.

For me, business process automation is all about using technology to bring processes online with structure for ensuring tasks are completed in a certain way.

Business process automation results in many benefits such as:

  • Standardized processes
  • Efficiency gains
  • Real-time accurate data
  • Costing savings
  • Improved the customer experience and employee experiences and many more outcomes…
 
 
 
eBook: 6 Steps to Digital Process Automation   Download the eBook to read the rest and discover the 6 Steps to Process Automation ��  

 

This space is ever-evolving, so to help you keep up to speed on business process automation trends, you’ll find a summary of my top nine below.

1.     Increased citizen development

Business Business Process Automation Trends in 2024Citizen development is the practice of empowering non-technical users to create software, apps or digital process solutions.

It’s all about enabling the people who know their processes best, to be able to digitalize them without a significant reliance on IT.  

According to Forrester’s Developer Platform Survey, 78% of developers at the director level and above say that their firm currently empowers employees outside of IT via a citizen developer strategy or plan to do so in the next 12 months’.

Why is citizen development trending right now?

Global software developer shortage

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2030 the global developer shortage will be 85.2 million workers.

Cost savings

Organizations that embrace a citizen development strategy save money fast.

Demand from staff

In a world of SaaS, low code and no code tools, employees want access to logical tools with drag-and-drop functionality that are going to reduce their administration so they can work on more value-adding, repetitive tasks themselves.

In Forrester’s Report entitled ‘The Democratization Of Development Is Accelerating’, John Bratincevic of Forrester states that ‘democratized development by businesspeople is inevitable and logical. It will be hard, so start now’.

The best process automation success stories I hear, are those where companies invite businesspeople who are motivated to innovate and optimize, to learn a self-service tool like FlowForma for quick digitalization wins.

Which fosters a culture for automation and continuous improvement…which often snowballs into a cultural shift in process innovation and mountains of value.

Blackpool Teaching Hospital in the UK successfully empowers staff outside of IT to automate processes with the intuitive FlowForma all-in-one platform, they state that “The speed of development and the opportunity to involve process owners in creating their own forms and workflows is a game-changer.” Read their success story

2.     AI-fueled automation

Everyone knows that AI is a hot topic, throughout 2024 and 2025 we can expect to see AI get infused into automation designs, deployments, and execution.

Business Business Process Automation Trends in 2024It’s a very exciting time and I feel that AI features will only advance the citizen-developer trend making it even simpler for users to map their processes and optimize them for continuous improvement.

Forrester also indicates that AI will open up more opportunities and success for citizen developers in their report AI Is Reshaping Automation Markets stating ‘Citizen development programs remain strong; most companies have them.

Significant digital transformation is still needed just to create deterministic workflows and replicate human tasks.

While strong citizen development programs can tackle this backlog, AI has opened up significant opportunities to do even more.”

3.     Data insights will fuel growth

In recent years we’ve witnessed a global spike in data needs regarding accuracy, real-time, and persona-specific reporting views.

Similarly to citizen development automation, non-technical people also want to be able to easily report on their tasks and KPI’s without needing Power BI skills.

Analytics-1

A screenshot of the no code FlowForma Analytics feature.

This will be a trend in 2024 and beyond, with citizen developers getting their hands on no code analytics tools which will empower them to:

  • Rapidly create dashboards
  • Assess processes and make suggestions for improvements
  • Rapidly identify bottlenecks
  • Gain actionable insights
  • Provide C Level with high-level reporting

With companies consolidating their tech stacks, we’ll also see an increased importance on data integration from systems to process automation tools and companies moving away from point solutions to all-in-one solutions.

Governance of data will continue to rise as a focus area, with business process automation tools enforcing data governance policies and procedures.

Find out more about this data insights trend

4.     Widespread workflow automation

Workflow automation has been on the rise for a while now, and thanks to the innovations in low code and no code workflow tools over recent years, robotic process automation now have never been more available to businesspeople.

With the global skills shortage, we will see businesses want to digitalize more and more, and departments that have not yet digitalized will have to.

And as customer expectations and competitiveness increases, boards will be requesting increased operational excellence and productivity improvements which can easily be achieved with widespread and automation solutions.

Most of our customers see a snowball effect, once value is created in one department, the rest of the business wants to follow suit.

Business Business Process Automation Trends in 2024For example, The Digital Engineering Lead at Downer New Zealand commented on how they will digitalize across all projects, having seen significant value from their 1st project rollout,

“We’re going to use FlowForma Process Automation on all our projects,” said Henderson. “It makes my job much easier and saves a lot of time. The only limitation is your own imagination; it can pretty much achieve anything.”

 
 
 
eBook: 6 Steps to Digital Process Automation   Download the eBook to read the rest and discover the 6 Steps to Process Automation ��  

 

5.     Sustainable digital transformation focus

After AI, sustainable automation will be the next big in business process management and automation trends, seeing organizations utilize process automation tools along with AI for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) data collection, tracking, and monitoring against the targets for each.

Investor and regulatory pressure is fueling this reporting growth. Real-time data insights will be key for better decision-making, business transparency, and most importantly accountability.

Many industry reports indicate that ESG reporting for many organizations is still sitting in Excel sheets, taking a considerable amount of time to collect, and is prone to error and inconsistent results.

As more and more directives and legislations come into place there will be a board-level focus on transforming the collection and reporting of this data.

Did you know Gartner predicts that ‘by 2027, 25% of CIO’s will have compensation linked to their sustainable technology impact’?

6.     Customer-centric process management

Customer expectations have never been higher, which is why we’re not surprised to see customer-centric process management as a key trend.

Efficiency and agility concerning processes involving customers will be a top priority, organizations will seek to streamline these processes to remove delays and errors and ultimately serve customers better.

Companies will automate and optimize processes to service customers better by:

  • Executing processes on time
  • Validating data within processes to reduce errors
  • Anticipating customer needs better
  • Enabling more interactions
  • Providing process consistency

7.     Creating improved employee experiences with automation

Business Business Process Automation Trends in 2024With competition and skills shortages at an all-time high, improving the customer experiences of our employees is a top priority for employee retention.

A client recently told me that their automation objective was to ‘remove one hour of admin from each worker per week’, a solid KPI from process automation but a very achievable one which would be well appreciated by their staff who work in a very competitive market.

This business had a focus on removing administration so their staff could do more value-adding tasks and more importantly not have to spend a Friday afternoon buried in paperwork.

Not only did this company achieve this KPI, but they also created an appetite within their workforce for digitalization at scale, another surprise outcome for them was that the reports created from their automated processes have created a competitive streak across teams and departments. What a great result and proof that BPA software can achieve the results needed in today's hyper-competitive landscape. 

8.     Compliance via automation

With the advancement of AI and increased security concerns, we can expect to see increased attention to compliance.

Many companies I speak with already use automation tools to streamline processes and make compliance easier concerning the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and many more industry-specific regulations

9.     Ethical automation

I expect to see a trend in which organizations will increase their creation and implementation of responsible standards and best practices to continue to ensure that their automation efforts and AI uses are ethical.

In summary, I think the next 12 months will be very exciting for organizations that focus on automation for outcomes!

Conclusion 

There are some very positive movements in the business process automation market regarding citizen development and AI and those who excel in these areas are going to create brilliant cultures for staff, and amazing experiences for customers overall their operational efficiency and data efficiency will give them that competitive advantage.

 
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Niamh Lordan, Head Of Marketing

Niamh is Head of Marketing at FlowForma. She is passionate about supporting FlowForma on its vision to become the easiest to adopt no code process automation tool on the market. Working in technology marketing for over ten years Niamh is committed to driving FlowForma’s marketing strategy and empowering its community with innovative features thought leadership content and resources to transform business processes.

Niamh Lordan, Head Of Marketing

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