Social BPM is a Methodology FIRST, Just like BPM

by MK Strupe on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 @ 10:29 AM
For anyone who follows the latest chatter about business process operations today, most everyone is talking about Social Media and Social Technologies.  In some ways, now that technologies such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube etc. are popular and readily used in non-business ways, business and industry analysts are almost forcing the issue of how these technologies should be incorporated into the business day-to-day operations.  Yes, it is inevitable that these technologies will be part of most every company's IT portfolio (and Ultimus does have several customers successfully employing Social with Ultimus BPMS), but the issue should not be forced.  When I see this happening, I recollect the BPM and BPMS paradigm....BPM is a methodology first before any BPMS should be considered.  And with that, Social BPM should be a methodology first before any Social technology should be considered.

I will argue that more than 50% of the information and data used to complete business processes is communicated outside of the formality of business process technologies today.  Chat programs, emails, standing in front of the coffee machine in the AM, and passing people in the hall are easy and convenient channels of vital information exchange.  How many times have you said to someone in the hall "Oh yeah, I will get to that task ASAP" or "I will definitely read that email you sent to me and respond to you".....only to then get consumed with another task back at your desk.

In order for a new Social BPM initiative to be successful in supplementing any BPMS, discussions in the workplace should be had regarding:

  • What informal communication channels exist today?
  • What collaboration and communication programs are used to express quick information?
  • Why are they used?
  • What if those programs were taken away? What impact would that have on existing business operations?

Social BPM technologies not only capture informal communications and record them as a permanent record, but they also structure and formalize them (certainly not to the rigid level of classic BPMS data capture models).  While it will never be the case that all "water cooler" talk will be captured, Social BPM technologies do allow businesses to capture more than existing applications today.

Social BPM



There is no reason to start employing any existing Social BPM or Social Technology application today without first understanding the state of "chaos" you have today.  Otherwise, in classical application mayhem, if you do not understand what problem you are trying to solve first, adding another application to your IT landscape will only make your IT department and your business process participants confused and frustrated.However, once you've laid a good plan you open up the opportunity for an absorbent amount of additional information exchange within your organization.


Relevant Links:

The Age of Social Networking

Expanding Business Process Communications Outside Your Office

BPM is a Methodology First


Chris Adams
VP Product and Technology

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This post was written by MK Strupe