Meeting automation is potentially positioning itself as the next technology to shake up the planning game. While apps and meeting management systems have been grabbing headline and topping lists of “tech to watch,” more complete meeting automation could take those principles another step forward.

A recent study from Aragon Research—a research, analysis and advisory company out of Morgan Hill, California—distinguishes what the company calls “a new business automation category that takes traditional manual meeting processes to a new level.” Aragon calls this category meeting automation platforms (MAPs), pointing to the growing desire from companies for streamlined and hassle-free analytics, scheduling and digital integration. “Critical data is locked within calendars, spreadsheets and other collaboration offerings, and MAPs allow enterprises to unlock these valuable insights,” the firm says in a blog post on its website.

Aragon Research CEO and Lead Analyst Jim Lundy explains further, saying, “With a meeting automation platform, businesses can take the manual work out of scheduling and planning. This not only optimizes the workforce, but gives the added benefit of decreasing time to revenue.”

Overall, tools and systems that fall into the growing category tend to offer automated scheduling, management and analytics, along with mobile-first apps for ease of use, compliance plans for regulations such as GDPR, enterprise scalability and digitized meeting data.

Cited by Aragon Research as one of the companies already beginning to offer these advantages to others, Jifflenow is a business software company implementing automation and data analysis through the platform Jifflenow Event Meetings. Spurred by the study and Aragon Research’s assertion that 50 percent of enterprises will have a MAP initiative in place by 2021, Jifflenow also recently announced new additions to its system.

The add-ons include a staff scheduler which aims to create agendas and manage work groups, the Meetings Insights data analytics dashboard and a new mobile app. Hari Shetty, Jifflenow founder and CEO, says, “Enterprises are looking beyond lead generation at events and have been asking for solutions to influence revenue opportunities by increasing the number and quality of strategic B2B meetings.” That is where meeting automation platforms such as Jifflenow come in.

The company’s CMO, Ravi Chalaka, expands further, saying, “There isn’t a business or an enterprise that can grow without strategic meetings, with suppliers, analysts or any other businesses. You have to understand the effect of your meetings. A business can spend millions of dollars on an event and end up with a measurement of social media engagements and leads. But 90 percent of it isn’t useful. Events have a specialized audience. Having data and a strategy both before and after your meetings means you can capitalize on that.”

By integrating with other management tools such as Salesforce, the idea is for meeting automation platforms to create and track a concrete ROI for event organizers. “How much value are events producing?” Chalaka asks. “Collecting and analyzing all the data can tell you the people and meetings making the biggest impact.” These abilities are all in combination with streamlining the initial meeting process to begin with.

“Meeting automation platforms may not yet be on everyone’s radar,” Aragon Research says on its website, “But they are quickly carving out space for themselves as a valuable and strategic business tool.”