Today's business environment would be unrecognizable to even the most forward thinking of executives from as little as 20 years ago. Regardless of industry, the sheer volume of information that flows through almost any modern business is staggering. That information needs to be securely stored, easily retrievable, and able to be processed in a variety of ways, for a variety of contexts, so that today's executives can steer their companies properly. Hand-in-hand with the need to process vast amounts of information is the need to have powerful, free-flowing channels of communication and collaboration between different parts of the business.
When it comes to filling these needs, businesses have traditionally had a choice between one-size-fits-all software packages, and custom-designed software solutions both of which come with significant drawbacks. Prepackaged software is relatively inexpensive, but often lacks key functionality businesses require for their unique business needs and use cases. Custom-designed software solutions are often prohibitively expensive both to build and maintain. Both solutions lack the degree of flexibility and adaptability required by today's rapidly changing business landscape. This is the gap filled by smart process applications.
Smart process applications, such as the Assure line by Opentext, can combine enterprise information management and business process management software into one flexible, scalable, and easily adaptable integrated solution. Smart process apps acknowledge the business reality that today's best practices are tomorrow's outmoded and archaic systems, and provide businesses with the tools necessary to adapt processes and workflows to reflect their current business reality on an ongoing basis.
Unlike traditional software packages, smart process apps allow businesses to customize most aspects of their operation to reflect current best practices while also accommodating the unique business needs of an individual company. Unlike custom-designed software, the easy adaptability and customizability of smart process applications prevents a business from being locked into one methodology over the long term.
Some of the more important functionality included in most smart process apps are
- task specific tools for data analysis
- collaboration tools for content creation, and
- BPM tools for workflow management
Task Specific Data Analysis
Most smart process applications provide task specific analytical tools for managing the data that is the lifeblood of any modern business. By providing the ability to customize analysis at the level of individual tasks, smart process applications and provide businesses with the ability to efficiently and effectively make use of data in different ways within different contexts.
An increasing number of business processes are becoming collaborative in nature from contract negotiations to simple inter-departmental cooperation and smart process applications provide the tools necessary for individuals in different departments, or even different geographical locations, to create content and documents, reach decisions, or determine courses of action collaboratively.
Smart process applications also provide fine-grained control over most aspects of business process management, including workflow. This functionality in and of itself is hardly revolutionary, but the way in which smart process apps integrate BPM seamlessly with their other functions is what makes them so valuable in today's business world.
Scalability, flexibility, and adaptability are the hallmarks of smart process applications a new class of software solution for modern businesses. Products like Opentexts Assure give businesses the ability to maintain an acceptable level of process automation, while providing robust workflow management and customization tools, and allowing the whole system to evolve with changing business needs and models.