Unified IP business communications provider Interactive Intelligence  is working on a communications-based solution for automating business processes.

The add-on software application, Interaction Process Automation (IPA), is designed to sit on top of the company’s existing Customer Interaction Center (CIC) IP communications platform used by roughly 3,000 organizations worldwide.

IPA is currently in beta and scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2009. The product will be sold under a software subscription model.

Since it is all software, it is easy to activate, noted Tim Passios, director of product marketing for Interactive Intelligence. “This is one advantage we have over our competitors,” he said.

Another key difference is IPA’s communications architecture. “Ours is built on top of the communications platform, so inherently, it involves people. Inherently, it communicates to other people,” said Passios.

Enterprises seeking to do a better job of analyzing and streamlining their process flows receive a “much bigger picture” with IPA, according to Passios.

“There are several different types of process engines out there today, but they eliminate communications and are very complex and difficult to deploy … our solution is to come at it from a different angle,” he said.

IPA is targeting “any organization that has process flows that are manual in nature,” said Passios. Insurance, health care and financial industries are likely clients.

Interactive Intelligence will assist clients during their initial use of the software, but “after we train them on it, they should be able to start doing the workflows themselves,” said Passios.

“One of our main goals with IPA was to make sure it was intuitive enough that (clients) can do it themselves eventually, so they don’t have to go after consultations or professional services,” he said.

The ultimate goal, according to Passios, is to have a type of “process app store” where clients can shop for typical processes, such as an expense approval process flow or a time-off request process flow. “You find it, you plug it into the server and now you’ve got this brand new process flow that’s already been written and documented … you’re off and running,” he said.