Smart process applications (SPAs) are becoming essential for businesses to meet growing customer expectations.
This is according to Shaun Dicker, head of operations at Intervate, a T-Systems company, who notes competitive pressure is driving organisations to look at process improvements.
Forrester Research coined the term Smart Process Applications, calling them a "new category of application software designed to support business activities that are people-intensive, highly variable, loosely structured, and subject to frequent change".
They use computer intelligence and artificial intelligence to extract context-relevant information from the content associated with a business process, and use it to select, modify or re-direct the next steps in the workflow.
According to the research firm, leading vendors involved in the SPA space include Appian, Cordys, EMC, IBM, JDA Software, Kana Software, Kofax, Lexmark, OpenText, Pegasystems, salesforce.com and SAP.
Dicker says SPAs improve every aspect of customer engagements - drastically improving an organisation's customer experience and greatly reducing operating costs. As a result, it drives increased competitiveness, growth and profitability.
Customers expect not only fast response times, but also quality engagements that actually get problems solved with limited hassles - they look for personalised and intuitive experiences, he points out, adding SPAs mean organisations can respond to the demands of the modern customer who expects to be able to engage with companies anytime, anywhere, and from any device.
Organisations that open up many doors to their digital businesses - using social and mobile channels in particular - will be rewarded by seeing more incoming traffic through those doors, he adds.
"SPAs give customers the ability to communicate with an organisation in any way, from any device in an efficient manner. They empower customers with self-service capture, status checking and collaboration."
According to a Research and Markets report, growing advancements in ICT, connectivity, business agility and limitations with traditional process applications are trends driving the SPA market.
The smart process application market is expected to grow from $24.35 billion in 2015 to $43.28 billion in 2020 - penetrating the market to a huge extent of covering all geographical territories, says Research and Markets.
According to Dicker, the analytics engine of the smart process application links up with the organisation's broader business intelligence - providing real-time monitoring and optimising of business processes, and providing rich customer data.
"With strong technology underpinning the organisation's digital transformation, it is possible to make the customer experience a delightful one that stimulates positive emotions from the word go."
Riaaz Jeena, sales director at Software AG, says companies can no longer afford to underestimate the crucial importance of customer satisfaction - customers are the most important assets to any organisation.
"Adopting and implementing effective business intelligence or customer engagement processes and solutions has become a core differentiator for just about every customer-centric business, regardless of their market or offering," she adds.