An article by Jorge Sagastume, Vice President at EscrowTech International, Inc.
Sometimes, even the simplest of processes can be critical to the continued day-to-day operation of your business. That’s why businesses should be taking a proactive approach to enhancing their processes by making use of the latest technologies available that could facilitate business process management.
Here are 7 technologies — including Blockchain technology and the Internet of Things — that are already demonstrating how they have the potential to completely overhaul existing critical processes:
Your data is important. In fact, it’s crucial to your vital business processes. Your data can tell you what you need to do, how you need to do it, and when it needs to be done. So what happens if that data is inaccurate, or is tampered with through either internal or external sources? Process failure. That’s where Blockchain technology comes in. The ‘Blockchain’ is a database or ledger that records transactions, activity, or behaviors automatically without the need for human input. It cannot be altered, changed, or amended manually, significantly boosting the accuracy, security, and efficiency of your critical processes. Most commonly associated with cryptocurrency, Blockchain can be used in practically any industry.
2. Internet of Things
Mission critical processes are essential for the continued smooth running of a business, but an ongoing concern with these vital processes is that they can be challenging to analyze and review to ensure they’re the most efficient, effective, and productive processes that the business could be using. That’s why many businesses are looking into the Internet of Things, or IoT. IoT is the concept of interconnected devices; one talks to another, to another, and so on as necessary. These devices can also be set up to operate on an ‘if x, then x’ schedule. In terms of mission-critical processes, connected devices can be used to gather data from multiple areas to comprehensively monitor and record how you work.
3. Business Process Automation Software
Business Process Automation software, or BPA software, works to simplify your mission-critical processes, minimize the need for human input (thereby reducing the risk of human error), and streamline the way you work. However, it is important to understand that forming a heavy reliance on automation software isn’t an entirely risk-free endeavor, particularly if you use the cloud-based software. While there are advantages of the cloud, there are also concerns. If your business relies on third-party software for mission-critical processes, consider a software escrow agreement, where the source code for the BPA software is held by a neutral agency and released to you should your provider go bankrupt.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a key catalyst facilitating the new ‘digital transformation’; a shift from rigid business processes to more flexible approaches using the intelligent software. AI and machine-learning technologies become smarter with continued use, as they ‘learn’ more about operations. This can able your technology to identify process flow patterns, apply fixes to enhance the process, locate patterns and trends in your way of working and highlight any room for improvement. The technology can predict how your business processes will fare in the future by merging with existing business process management platforms ultimately improving continuity, lowering costs, and boosting efficiency.
5. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been around for a while, but it is only recently that it has become ready to support mission-critical processes and applications. Part of this readiness stems from the longevity and continued strength of cloud providers, and the ability of providers to demonstrate experience in IT management. By moving mission-critical processes to the cloud, businesses find that they have greater flexibility, enabling them to focus more on their own core competencies which, in many cases, is not IT-based. Cloud providers today are able to show solid track records in terms of security and reliability, perhaps more so than businesses themselves are able to demonstrate, meaning mission-critical applications are safe.
6. Edge Computing
Although cloud computing and edge computing are often said to be polar opposites, both technologies have the potential to completely overhaul existing mission-critical processes. While cloud computing is concerned with a central ‘hub’, edge computing is more focused on the availability of several shared-effort facilities, often located closer to the user (or on the ‘edge’). In terms of mission-critical processes, the advantage for businesses is notable low latency which can boost the speed of your processes and facilitate real-time functionality to improve accuracy and efficiency. However, not all providers are able to offer edge computing yet, and it is still considered to be an emerging technology.
7. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality already has a firm place in commerce; it’s used to try on clothes without buying, check that furniture fits in the home, or see a new car on the driveway without signing the contract. However, augmented reality, or AR, is still relatively new in terms of internal mission-critical processes, but it certainly seems to have a place. Google Glass was one of the first examples of how AR could be used in the enterprise, and how it could impact business processes. It can enable users to overlay their environment with vital information to ensure accurate troubleshooting, faster fix times, optimal productivity, better learning, and enhanced safety, all using a completely hands-free method.