At MCFTech we use platform technologies to develop tailored or customized collaborative process solutions for a wide range of business needs. We serve areas of business that get overlooked by IT because the projects are “too small” to garner high level attention. At MCFTech, we know these projects are critically valuable.
One of our biggest challenges remains: how do we classify our tools and the space in which we operate? In fact, conversations with our partners and colleagues reveal a ubiquitous struggle for consensus on a proper name or categorization.
Recently, Forrester began promoting the term Smart Process Applications (SPA) which is defined as:
Smart process applications (SPAs) are a new category of software that provide an essential link between systems of record such as ERP and ECM, and systems of engagement to help improve the way customers interact with an organization.
Gartner doesn’t actually feel that this space or category exists on its own. Instead, the nebulous class comprises things covered by established business groups, including Document Management, Business Process Automation, and Systems Integration.
Over the years, certain terms have started to take root, but failed to gain traction. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) looked like it might be a winner about 5 years ago until Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) co-opted the term to describe their more abstracted layers of functionality beyond Inrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Recently those terms and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) seem to be all but forgotten. Now,the terminology of the Cloud dominates the conversation.
Out of curiosity I tried a few Google searches to see how to define technology platforms we currently support.
What is Sharepoint?
“Microsoft SharePoint is a web application framework and platform developed by Microsoft. First launched in 2001, SharePoint integrates intranet, content management and document management, but recent versions have broader capabilities.”
What is Quickbase?
“Quickbase is a cloud-based workspace that helps teams get more done with business apps that match their exact process. Easily customize and build customizable business applications to collaborate on data, automate workflows and share actionable reports.”
What is Intalio|Create?
“Intalio Create is a 100% meta model data driven Application builder. Intalio Create has a common look and feel for design and use GUI. When your business needs change, you simply modify the application design. The Intalio platform does the rest.”
At the present rate of innovation and change, it is unlikely that a common, agreed-upon taxonomy of technology product categories will exist. The market continues to shift, creating space for companies to compete for mindshare and control of terminology. Meanwhile, marketers look to shift the focus to the next fancy concept with hopes of becoming the Band-Aid brand of some sector of the tech world.
Check out the Forrester Report on Smart Process Applications.
See what the newest version of Intalio|Create (3.0) can do for you.