September 19, 2014

Why BPA Results in Competitive Advantage

Process Improvement
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Why BPA Results in Competitive Advantage - It Comes Down to Better Decision Making

Decision making

Business Process Automation (BPA) tools such as SolveXia help organisations in numerous ways - including reduced human error, savings in time and money, increased productivity and increased transparency. Analysts at SolveXia have repeatedly demonstrated that combining these benefits helps with a fundamental objective of every business strategy: gaining competitive advantage.

While companies struggle to remain up-to-date in fast changing markets and faced with a growing flood of data, managers are only valued if they can find new ways to maintain productivity and differentiate themselves from their competitors. The use of flexible, scalable BPA tools is a visible differentiator that provides clear competitive advantage by converting data into meaningful, actionable information facilitating faster, more accurate, numerically justified decisions.

Evidence of this is found in a study by the MIT Centre for Digital Business, working in partnership with McKinsey’s business technology office. The study tested the hypothesis that data-driven companies (organisations using BPA tools to make business decisions) would perform better than those which are not data driven. The results of this study were clear:

“We conducted structured interviews with executives at 330 public North American companies about their organizational and technology management practices, and gathered performance data from their annual reports and independent sources… In particular, companies in the top third of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.” (McAfee and Brynjolfsson 2009)

This, of course, doesn’t mean that BPA power is erasing the need for managerial vision or human insight. On the contrary, it is the combination of smart managerial insights and BPA power that enables managers to make better predictions which, at the end of the day, yield better decisions and help organisations achieve competitive advantage.

Without BPA tools, utilising data for decision-making is a large, cumbersome and time-consuming task. This can be attributed to the fact that organisations have high volumes of fragmented data sitting in different databases, spreadsheets and other files, sourced within and outside of the organisation. In most cases, this key data is never utilised because managers have neither the staff nor the technology to rapidly convert it into valuable business information. It is not surprising then, that organisations failing to automate their data collection, reporting and analytical business processes are, in the long term, falling behind competitors who are able to readily access this data.

In summary, BPA is helping managers make better decisions, increase productivity and increase profitability by rapidly combining, transforming and communicating data from multiple sources into useful business information. Conversely, if your organisation is not using most of the data available to it, or if it is burdened by staff manually preparing reports from spreadsheets, your organisation will be at a competitive disadvantage to those companies which have accepted BPA as an essential part of their modus operandi.

McAfee, A and Brynjolfsson, E. 2012, 'Big Data: The Management Revolution', Harvard Business Review.

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