Rethink The Ways You Update Your Process Participants

by MK Strupe on Fri, Sep 04, 2009 @ 01:52 PM

It is amazing how fast technology is changing (do I sound like an old man when I say this?).  It was not that long ago that people on the road needed internet cafes in order to catch up on emails.  Now, it is inevitable that I see people reading emails and texting while driving on the road (and I am not condoning that by the way).  Do internet cafes even exist anymore?


internet cafe

And now it seems that emails are starting to be today's dinosaur in many ways.  When I tell myself "I need to send them an email", for me, it is usually a formal work related communication or a touch point with my parents.  Social Technologies are all the buzz in the latest articles.  Everyone is arguing on how to marry formal business operations with informal social collaboration tools, and I think this argument is very appropriate for BPM.

I travel a lot, and like all of you, it seems every time I get a free second, I find myself heads down with my iPhone checking for updates.  On my iPhone, I have the following apps:

  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Chat programs like MSN
  • Countless others that I'm still learning
I am constantly checking for the latest information in each of these apps. It would be good to include them all in some master mash up app, where I could get all of the latest information from one source...but that is another story.  So when I think about business process activity, I think updates from business processes make sense to be included in all of these forums (not just email alerts).  I also think about how much business process activity can be in information subscription formats, rather than classic "push" formats.  Consider the following:
  • A new business process is now live. People in your company are made aware of the new live process through an email sent from the process champion. Inevitably, there will be a discussion (or formal company meeting) on how well the process is serving your company. Why not create a FaceBook page for the process and let people "friend" the process. This way, the process champion can capture formal and informal comments about the process from people when they wish to make those comments (and not just through a boring company meeting)?
  • For this new business process, rather than just email alerts going out to people when certain activities happen, think again about this Facebook page for the process.  If people in your company add that process as a "friend", then when new activities happen in the business process, updates to the Facebook page are posted automatically.  In this way, you expand a "1 to 1" communication forum with the process into a "1 to Many". 

Business Process Automation - Process Communication 

  • A high percentage of business processes have human involvement (process participants). These people have their information (job function, email address, etc) recorded either in Active Directory, LDAP, or the BPM Suite itself. Why not record people's Twitter account information also? And then allow people to designate their preferred electronic communication vehicle? In this way, rather than having to check emails for process updates, I see updates through Twitter.
With all of this excitement about social technologies, admittedly, fully leveraging them into our day-to-day operations will take some "rethinking" by us all.  Social Technology sites are easy targets for spamming and arguably not ready to serve as communication backbones.  But social technologies and social collaboration is a new evolution and will inevitably be an integral part of business processes.  Has your company adopted social technologies into your day-to-day operations yet?


Related Blogs:

Ultimus Enhances BPM Suite with Twitter Updates for Your Business Process

The Age of Social Networking

Mitigate Risk by Modeling Your Business Processes


Chris Adams
VP Product Marketing and Management

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This post was written by MK Strupe