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May 24, 2013

Social BPM: The Watercooler Just Got Cooler

I never quite got social BPM. "It's like facebook but for corporations" the BPMS marketing departments screamed! "It will change the way we do business" they cried!

The success of social media is primarily that it's fun and easy. We get a laugh out of sharing our catbearding photos (well I do...) and having innane conversations with people on the other side of the world that we haven't seen for years. It's an escape from the day-to-day humrum. So what is social BPM given that it's focus IS the day-to-day humrum?

At the Gartner BPM summit last week I met Edward Hughes from Appian. Edward was kind enough to take the time to show me the Appian app on his iPhone and explain social BPM to me. Then it struck me: social BPM is the new watercooler. All those little conversations we have in passing, all those chats in the corridor or at drinks after work - they give us those snippets of information about "what people are up to". The same is the case with social BPM. "I'm working on project X" someone might say "Oh I didn't know you were working on project X!" someone else might say - "maybe we can collaborate?"

So the social BPM interface is like all those little watercooler conversations, except it's much, much cooler and the exposure is far greater. There are plusses and minus to that, but if the social BPM conversations can be encouraged and made a habit by employees the ability to communicate and collaborate will be worth it's weight in gold...or at least water...




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Sadly this was the thinking 4 years ago Craig, the world has moved on from that.

Maybe read this and then have a rethink:


A great analogy, Craig.

It also highlights the importance of management teams being aware of these discussions and actively participating themselves.

Hi Theo - not sure how the world has moved on but in my experience most companies aren't anywhere near social BPM yet. Most are stuck with unconnected legacy systems / intranets / doc management systems. The focus is on BPMS for process automation primarily. I'd say that social BPM is beyond the capability of most of them. I'm sure it's not as effective as it could be and like anything it will improve over time. My reaction was to a real life example where I saw people working and collaborating using it. I like the utopian vision of the article you sent but I think that most companies will struggle to adapt to such a flexible model. Cheers, TPN.

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