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Business Processes are Still a Manual Affair


October 30, 2012 – Less than half of business processes are automated and manual tasks for BI and reporting are especially burdensome as IT leaders can’t carry through on their interests with a lack of enterprise capabilities, according to new survey findings.

Conducted in August and released last week, the survey consisted of 300 IT decision-makers from the U.S. and U.K. with more than 1,000 employees across a range of industries. It was handled by independent research and marketing firm Vanson Bourne and commissioned by process automation software provider Redwood Software.

The survey revealed that 99 percent of respondents spend a “considerable” amount of time on manual business processes. From that amount, 63 percent of those surveyed stated they spend more than one-quarter of their work time on repetitive manual processes, and another 17 percent stated manual work takes up half of their time.

Looking over the entire enterprise, only 44 percent of business processes are automated, according to survey respondents. However, IT leaders believe that automation could lead to time savings (79 percent), improved business productivity (69 percent) and direct cost savings (61 percent).

Click here for an infographic from Vanson Bourne and Redwood on processes that would benefit most from increased automation.

Where there is automation in place, it tends to be sequestered to certain departments, like with activities for HR and payroll (15 percent) and billing (16 percent). The top challenges to automating business intelligence processes were the absence of knowledge to follow through on the project (52 percent), the complexity of enterprise process management (63 percent) and the inability to integrate legacy applications with new initiatives (64 percent).

Forty-five percent of those surveyed put the amount of automation with IT and business processes in the range of one-quarter to one-half, according to the report. Thirty-seven percent of respondents answered that one-quarter or less of their processes were automated. Eighteen-percent put that number at one-half or more of their IT or business processes. At enterprises on the lower end of automation adoption, approximately 90 percent take care of BI and reporting manually, according to the survey.

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