Business process automation, or BPA, is one of the more exciting movements in the business world. BPA promises greater efficiency, better output, lower costs, and all of the other secondary benefits that go along with these.
But until technology catches up, things will continue to lag behind. So the question is, what’s in store for 2022?
What is Business Process Automation?
As the business world becomes more technologically advanced, so do the tasks and processes that growing organizations use to remain competitive in the marketplace.
According to Laserfiche, “Business process automation (BPA) is the use of technology to automate repeatable, day-to-day tasks. It accelerates how work gets done by routing information to the right person at the right time through user-defined rules and actions. As a result, BPA helps organizations streamline processes such as employee onboarding, accounts payable, contract management and more.”
For a process to be “qualified” for BPA, it needs to meet certain criteria and factors. For example:
- The process should require consistency throughout the organization.
- It should be repeatable.
- The process should be somewhat predictable.
- It should be free from error (every single time).
The objective of BPA is to make processes more streamlined and cost-effective. In other words, these processes should reduce costs, lower inputs, increase profitability, and simultaneously require less manual effort and/or person-hours.
The Difference Between BPA and BPM
While the terms are used interchangeably, business process automation and business process management (BPM) are not the same thing. Whereas BPA uses technology to automate repeatable tasks, BPM is a collaboration between the business and IT to model and optimize business processes to meet larger strategic goals. To put it another way, BPM is a practice that looks at the organization as a whole, while BPA is a strategy for improving particular processes. Thus, BPM is the overarching ideology, while BPA refers to the individual action steps.
“A BPA and BPM combination can be powerful, as BPM outlines and provides an architecture for all of the business processes to be mapped and automated,” Red Hat explains. “When applied within a BPM practice, BPA can be used to continually monitor and improve process efficiencies.”
It’s always a good idea to have a BPM framework in place. Still, as we move into 2022, leading organizations are more focused on implementing specific BPA technology to improve efficiency and profitability in key areas of their businesses.
As such, that’s where innovation is focused right now.
The Top Trends in Business Process Automation
Innovation is booming in the BPA space. So while we could highlight dozens of individual ideas and innovations, we’ll keep it simple and focus on the biggest trends we see as we prepare to turn the calendar from 2021 to 2022.
1. End-to-End Organizational Visibility
From a management perspective, having gaps in your organizational visibility is dangerous. It allows small issues to fester under the surface and potentially proliferate into much larger problems down the road.
Thankfully, BPA solutions make it easier to enjoy end-to-end organizational visibility with few (if any) gaps.
For example, FinancialForce has a cloud-based professional services automation platform that allows businesses to easily manage teams across the entire organization with rich, real-time insights.
This includes the ability to schedule the right people with the right skills for the right projects at the right time. It also streamlines the traditionally finicky handoff that exists between sales and service. Departments can work together through a shared view of the customer pipeline instead of working in silos.
Platforms like this are becoming more commonplace in organizations of all sizes. Because once you get a system in place, it’s totally scalable and adaptable. (They’re so effective that you’ll wonder how you ever did without.)
2. Better Employee Onboarding
Your business is only as good as the people you have on your team. And if you want to have a productive team, it all starts with a strong onboarding process.
The onboarding process is where you make your first impression as an organization. If things get off on the wrong foot, it’ll compromise your ability to get maximum value out of your employees. However, if things start positively, it gives you a nice launching pad for bigger and better things.
BPA paves the way for streamlined and automated employee onboarding by eliminating endless paperwork, disjointed tasks, employee dissatisfaction, and low productivity. In addition, it ensures a smooth transition from one onboarding task to the next, which fully integrates employees into the organization in a way that stabilizes the organization.
3. Proactive Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity threats are a big deal for small businesses and large organizations alike. (In fact, many hackers are actually targeting small businesses because they tend to be more vulnerable.) But thanks to advanced BPA solutions, it’s possible for any organization of any size to be more proactive with its cybersecurity efforts.
When implemented correctly, automation can proactively detect cyber attacks at the very first sign of a threat. This ensures attempted attacks only make it to the “front porch” and never actually “inside.”
BPA is quickly becoming an essential component of any company’s cybersecurity blanket. The best tools have validation technology in place and require multiple levels of authentication.
4. Voice-Activated Automation
We see significant growth in the voice-activated automation space (and you can expect it to explode onto the scene in 2022). This technology, which is also growing quickly in the consumer marketplace with technologies like Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, is perfect for increasing flexibility and productivity in the workplace.
The key to voice-activated automation in the workplace is to implement it in ways that promote greater efficiency (rather than convoluting existing processes). Examples include:
- Turning lights on and off in areas where employees are likely to have their hands full (like storage rooms).
- Recording notes and video in meeting rooms.
- Unlocking doors and other access points.
Voice-activated automation is especially powerful when it comes to connecting different platforms. For example, when you combine a tool like Google Home with an application like IFTTT or Zapier, the possibilities are endless.
5. Reallocation of Human Labor
For decades, people have been worried that automation and robots will eventually steal jobs away from humans and make employees obsolete. But the more we watch BPA advance, it becomes clear that this is not the case. In fact, the opposite is true.
What BPA will do in 2022 is simply reallocate human labor to more strategic positions. In other words, automated technology streamlines menial, repetitive tasks (which are expensive for businesses and frustrating for employees). In turn, these employees are able to reallocate their energy, creativity, and talent to tasks that require human input. This makes them more valuable to their employers, while also ensuring employees spend time doing more enjoyable work.
6. AI Tech Stacking
Artificial intelligence will become much more commonplace in organizations in 2022. More specifically, we expect to see different tools layered and integrated together in a way that increases their value. This includes machine learning, image recognition, natural language processing, and even intelligent optical character recognition.
By creatively and intentionally combining multiple AI technologies together, businesses will be able to use these tools in ways that were previously thought impossible. This will fundamentally transform digital workflows and dramatically increase productivity across the board. It’s going to be a game-changer, to say the least.
Looking to the Future
It’s impossible to know which specific technologies will take root over the next three to five years. (So much can change so fast.) However, this much we know to be true: Business process automation will continue to be a core focus for growing organizations that want to improve productivity, ramp up their output, and bolster their bottom lines.
If you want your organization to enjoy these tantalizing perks, you’d be wise to place a similar emphasis on BPA in 2022 and beyond.
RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER
Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.
Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.
Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below!
For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.
Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.
With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.
The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.
Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.
Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.
This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.
The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.
Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.
Image Credit: by Happy Donut; Pexels; Thank you!
Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses
Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.
Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.
Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.
Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.
What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?
E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.
- Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
- Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
- Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.
Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.
Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.
Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.
An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.
Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.
The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.
ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.
Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.
ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.
Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.
Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.
Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.
Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.
It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.
The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.
LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.
LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.
The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.
7. Beer Cartel
Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.
Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.
One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.
8. Berlin Packaging
Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.
They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.
They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.
With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.
This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.
They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.
The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.
What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.
Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.
What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?
Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.
Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.
Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.
Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.
If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).
Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!
What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?
The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.
Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.
However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).
Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?
This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:
“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”
Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.
In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.
How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?
At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.
- The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
- Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
- The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.
Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.
Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.
Image Credit: by Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!