Today’s knowledge workers consist of different generations and each is faced with their own challenges.  We know one thing for sure, since being identified as a “Knowledge Worker” by Martin Feregrino in 1959, the way work is executed has changed and evolved. Just as the tasks, work environment and requirements of knowledge workers have progressed since the Industrial Revolution, so have the tools available for every generation to efficiently do their job.

From frontline managers overseeing factory workers, to employees solving mission critical problems that affect customer relationships and business lifespans, the duties of the knowledge worker have drastically evolved over the years. It is critical to equip knowledge workers with the tools needed to get the job done at the device level. In order to do so, knowledge workers must have access to the tools they are accustomed to using and that provide the necessary information to get the job done, conveniently and from any location.

Powerful platforms are being used today by knowledge workers to collect data, process information, and produce results to solve issues and execute daily tasks. According to analysts Andrew Bartels and Connie Moore of Forrester, the new tool is Smart Process Applications, packaged applications designed to specifically support business activities that are people-intensive, highly variable, loosely structured and subject to frequent change. They explained to KM World readers, and we agree, that we are now in an “age of the customer” — where the focus on the customer now matters more than any other strategic imperative.

In order to satisfy the customer, they say businesses need to take advantage of new developments in business rules, event processing, business process management software, advanced analytics and cloud computing. Companies that use these tools are equipped to handle untamed processes by creating applications that support collaborative activities far more effectively and efficiently than ever before.

Businesses seeking these types of smart process applications might consider a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution that provides templates via the cloud and serve as an enterprise app for knowledge workers. The next generation of packaged applications will encapsulate current best practices and make it possible to reflect continuous improvements to an organization’s structure and dynamic activities.