BI tools can help with automation

The worldwide business intelligence (BI) market is expected to take off in the coming years, with a recent Pringle & Company study predicting that spending on BI software and services will exceed $143 billion in 2016. In particular, companies are expected to gravitate toward industry-specific programs, such as automation tools that help manage electronic workflow.

"Sustained high demand for BI tools from the financial services industry is driven by more stringent and demanding regulatory environments, persistent focus on fraud detection and prevention and the continuing automation of banking activities," said Tom Pringle, founder and principal analyst at Pringle & Company.

The report found that the BI sector, which was worth nearly $80 billion in 2012, will achieve a 16 percent compound annual growth rate through at least 2016, driven largely by the rising popularity of analytics tools.

Financial services companies are the most frequent purchases of BI software, accounting for a quarter of the market. Pringle suggested that information and document management software will be in high demand in the coming years, as organizations attempt to organize increasing amounts of data.

Workflow automation can help
In a recent blog post for Healthcare IT News, Scott Fuller, director of workflow engineering at FormFast, discussed some ways business intelligence tools allow organizations to manage the electronic workflow. Fuller wrote that BI software can provide real-time reports and dashboards to company leaders, which can analyze data relating to daily operations and revenue.

At the same time, Fuller stressed that workflow automation is a crucial element to managing these business applications. By transferring what are traditionally "manual, paper-based administrative" processes to a digitized environment, automation systems allow BI applications to be used effectively. This also improves worker efficiency by eliminating what were previously time-consuming tasks.

In addition, Fuller said, an automated electronic workflow offers several other advantages, including:

- Audit process management: Audits can present a major burden to organizations by dragging down revenues and profit margins. However, through automation, audit process management becomes significantly easier, with data that is available in real time.

- Accuracy: As with most processes, relying on technology tends to be more accurate than manually punching in numbers. Therefore, using automation essentially eliminates the risk of human error.

- Human resources benefits: As Fuller noted, HR departments typically have an"endless stream of documents." Invoice automation tools, meanwhile, can improve the​electronic workflow, making the department far more efficient.