Thursday Dec 29, 2011

Getting Social with BPM in 2012

Over the last few months i have come across numerous perspectives in blogs (from leading research firms such as Forrester, Gartner etc.) and marketing collateral from vendors (including mega-vendors and pure-play BPM vendors) on the promise of Social BPM. Analysts and BPM vendors are undivided in heralding Social BPM as a key trend for BPM in 2012. Just about every BPM vendor is making claims of delivering Social capability in their BPM offering. After all why wouldn't they, Social is the new buzzword and by some measure every technology (software or hardware) that has any human interaction seems like a suitable candidate for being labeled as Social.

Most vendors define Social BPM as the use of Web2.0 technologies to drive BPM efforts in terms of discovering, developing and fine-tuning business processes with their BPM tools. However, this view is rather narrow given the amplification, or should i say buzz, the term Social BPM is conjured to generate. I believe there is more to Social BPM that just integrating Web 2.0 technologies such as portals, IM etc. to aid the usage of the BPM tools sets with improved collaboration. Suspend disbelief in my claim for just a little bit longer and allow me to build my case on the business value of BPM.

Business priorities are centered largely on three things - Revenue, Cost and Customer Satisfaction. The fundamental value of BPM lies in empowering businesses to achieve efficiency, agility (in terms of responsiveness to change) and visibility (in terms of business operations insight) through process standardization and streamlining. BPM enables revenue up-lift from better lead-to-cash processes, cost rationalization through streamlined back-office and operational processes and improved customer satisfaction through conformance to customer/partner SLAs. However the promise of Social BPM as envisioned today i.e.limited to process discovery, design and development by incorporating multiple voices through Web2.0 technologies, does little to drive business value in terms of the above. 

Beyond leveraging Social capabilities in BPM tools through Web 2.0 technologies, a more business centric use-case for Social BPM could be leveraging external and internal Social networks to augment existing business process. For instance, HR processes for talent acquisition could be integrated with professional Social networks such as LinkedIn to source candidates and perform background checks. Similarly, Sales processes such as Lead generation could be integrated with personal Social networks such as Facebook to drive advertising leads into the sales funnel. Yet another example could be of linking customer feedback and review from recommendation networks such as Yelp into product planning processes to provide a constant stream of customer intelligence, in terms of needs and satisfaction levels.

Clearly there is more to Social BPM and i believe we are still scratching the surface.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on how you are envisioning Social BPM in your business.

About

A business centric perspective on Private Cloud, Data-center Modernization and EAI.

Author:
Sanjeev Sharma
Twitter: @sanjeevio

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