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Successful social BPM – start talking

unpickableInteresting discussion over at the ebizQ forum on the secrets for successful social BPM. What strikes me most about Social BPM is that any discussion will quickly turn into a debate on what ‘social functionality’ should be included in the next wave of BPMS releases.

Rather than asking how processes could be better managed (we are talking about BPM after all) through drawing on all types of methods and capabilities (technology being only one of them), the trend once again seems to be to try to integrate everything into technology – at the same time as arguing that BPM should be more than technology.

Frankly, I don’t see the point. Sure, we will see a wave of rebranding towards ‘Social BPM’ systems and there will be the inevitable hype surrounding it, but what will that achieve?

The main problem is still the lack of communication between people and institutions which should be talking to one another instead of only following the demands of their input screens. Most people working in a BMS supported environment know that their processes will not deliver if the folks work in total isolation. Accompanying communication is in many cases necessary to keep processes alive and running. But does anyone really need social BPM capabilities to talk to co-workers? What is needed however is an environment that supports and enables communication, which is where issues like company and leadership culture come into play. And that’s only looking at the operational phase.

Go back to the beginning of the process lifecycle and reflect on the mistakes, misunderstandings, different interpretations of your process designs. Only in rare circumstances will these be identified and cleared up prior to implementation. Most will be carried over into IT and operations and will cause all kinds of problems.

When we run process validation sessions at the taraneon Process TestLab we always do it with the inclusion of client employees. And guess what – even the shortest process will usually generate discussions starting from the simple ‘oh, when you wrote customer I thought you meant prospect’ (data and CRM problem approaching!) to the more complex ‘and what happens then? something’s missing in the process’.

Communication and interaction is key to good process design and the basis for good process operations. Put junk into ‘Social BPMS’ and all you’ll get is junk you can talk about.

Of course, creating and maintaining a communication and process environment  – why don’t I just call it a social environment – requires work (and ideas, flexibility, vision, understanding …) which is why I guess we will see the wave of Social BPMS approaching: It’s so much easier to buy social off the shelf than to create and live it.

(Image by http://xkcd.com/916/)

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3 Comments

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  3. [...] Olbrich contributes “Successful social BPM – start talking“concluding that there is more hype than [...]

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