Smart Process Applications (SPA): Workflow and Forms for the Mobile World

Smart Process Applications

So, the tech industry is soaked with three-letter acronyms, so why not add another to the fray.  The biggest buzz lately in the BPM world is surrounding SPAs, or Smart Process Applications.  So what they heck are they, what do they do, and how can I get one?

As I search the internet for pertinent information on the SPA, I get even more confused as to what they really are, and what they really do.   There are many definitions, and most revolve around leveraging mobile devices for photo capture, workflow and forms.  I quickly realize it is a bunch of mumbo jumbo marketing speak for a combination of many different applications and sources of data:

  • Data about the business activity
  • Document Capture and Data extraction
  • Analytical tools about the data and process at hand
  • Content collaboration and creation
  • Workflow or Business Process Management (BPM)

So really, an SPA is just a bunch of technical tools that combined can take a document, data or content from the source to the destination.  During its travels, the document and data are visible, analyzed and accessible by all process owners and participants.  This is very similar to the layout of a Business Process Applications platform, like K2.

So why the buzz?  Mobile devices have really put the process in the hands of every end-user, and all process participants, at any time.  The process or workflow can be created simply, with total transparency, by anyone.    Mobile Information Capture on smart phones and tablets have become a catalyst for SPAs that are vertically focused.

So who are the leaders in Smart Process Applications?  K2 has done some great work addressing the challenges with mobile applications and providing the ability to capture information with their smartforms technology.  Below is an overview of a mobile app for maintenance on field equipment leveraging the photo capability of a  mobile device.

Thoughts?

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