Social BPM: Gateway to Enhanced Process Efficiency

With the world getting more ‘social’, individuals are transforming the way they go about their daily lives. Businesses have recognized the need to rethink their strategies and reevaluate their operating models and have commenced to align them with customer expectations and customers’ perception of value. From focusing only on optimization of supply chains, penetration of new markets and scaled bottom lines, companies are now opening their eyes to the new world – a world which is moving towards a greater impetus on having a more social identity. Today, people across the globe rely on social networks for finding lost friends, making new ones, buying new furniture and selling antiques — interacting with technology for almost every activity in their everyday life. You no longer get a wedding invite delivered by post to your doorstep; you get an event invite via Facebook delivered to your inbox!

BPM has taken cue from this world-wide phenomenon and has been quick to embrace ‘social’ and embed it into its very design. With the increase of bi-directional communication taking place between customers and business enterprises, more and more applications are being built collaboratively by both parties. A social interface will help enhance the efficiency of business processes by combining expert knowledge and user experience and needs information, giving more clarity to the conceptualization and subsequent improvisation of the complete BPM design phase. Many companies have recognized that their social BPM initiative should revolve around the organization’s processes as well as the tools and technologies being used and that it should be a collaborative effort between process designers and social media participants including customers, to improvise the entire process.

With social BPM integrating the views and opinions of diverse stakeholders using web 2.0 and social tools, we can see the evolution of specific trends in this area:

  • Collaborative Process Improvisation and Implementation: Social BPM integrates social tools and social networks in BPM based interfaces, collecting feedback and using it to tweak process designs created by process engineers. In BPM implementations, social interactions facilitate implementations and provide the ability to integrate the unstructured nature of social communications and spontaneous events into the BPM equation.
  • Process Discovery and Analysis: Another interesting social BPM pattern is the transformation of the process discovery and analysis stages. Traditional BPM confined these activities to process engineers and technical resources but with social BPM, key stakeholders such as frontline workers and customers have been drawn into the communication loop.
  • Real-time Monitoring: Enterprises have embedded social systems to monitor their business processes in real time thereby replacing the ‘snail mail’ system. Social media feeds bring together the key parties for any event or project and helps track key people and events in real time enabling quick decision making and immediate corrective actions.
  • Spontaneous Status Updates and Feedback: Social BPM also captures spontaneous status updates for the various business processes at the design stage or implementation stage so that the critical priorities are aligned to the development process at any point of time. Process users can also provide real time feedback, ensuring timely and effective process improvisations and enhancements.

With such emerging trends all set to revolutionize business processes, I feel the greatest impact on how we ‘do’ our BPM is yet to be unleashed.  With customer interactions transcending business boundaries and realigning the way businesses think and act, social BPM is BPM’s opportunity to brace itself for today’s increasingly ‘social’ world.

Stuart Chandler

Senior Vice President - Digital Process Automation Practice, Virtusa. Stuart has over 18 years of experience in deploying Business Process Management (BPM) solutions in large Financial, Insurance and Healthcare organizations. His focus areas include process optimization and implementing core foundations that enable businesses to transform into agile organizations. Stuart has worked across the globe delivering solutions to Fortune 500 companies and possesses a unique mix of extensive industry knowledge, in-depth technology expertise and cross cultural experience. Stuart has a Resource Economics degree from the University of New Hampshire. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration and Master of Science (MIS) degree from the Boston University. Stuart loves the outdoors and participating in sports including running, playing squash and ice hockey.

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