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As Kevin Beddingfield wrote in this discussion: "I never understood why social had to be a component with BPM. I worked for a company that spent a lot of time and money incorporating a social link with their BPM product and it was quickly shelved because, guess what? Work is work...not social." What do you think?

Tuesday, March 15 2016, 09:48 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 09:57 AM - #Permalink
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    Yes.

    What's next?

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 09:58 AM - #Permalink
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    Every process is unique; what works for one, might not work for the other. That's why I believe BPM in general doesn't exist.

    Having said that; executing and managing cases by process is daily work and the BPM store has different tools and methods to do that better.

    So Social BPM; for sure some type of processes rely more on collaboration (social interactions?) than other ones. And that's all depending on the type of process, process result and the best way to execute and manage it.

    So BPM is daily business and social aspects might be part of it. Nothing special.  So it's not a failure, the only thing is that marketing departments didn't understand it and try to bring it as something special. 

    Talking about marketing; as far as I remember, weren't all those 'modelling together in the cloud tools' also not sold as social BPM?

    Not sure if that really paid off.

    But I'm working on a revolutionary invention that goes far beyond that. First release will be in about 2 weeks. So check my twitter or site/blog at that time.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:00 AM - #Permalink
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    Work is social as soon as you work on a team with more than one person, or if you have any colleagues at all. This is why all useful business software is social/collaborative software.

    What goes wrong is when people try to bolt social or collaborative capabilities on to software tools or team practices that come from the command and control era. That's just lipstick on a pig, and doesn't work.

    BPM is the same: it doesn’t have to be social. Instead, you can lock a process analyst or two up in an ivory tower and make sure they don’t socialise with anyone else in the organisation, all the better to develop process models independently of how people actually work.

    Of course, I tend to believe that BPM and other management disciplines are more effective when social collaboration is a fundamental part of how they work. By extension, the same applies to any tools that support these activities.

    So no, social BPM is not a failure, but there are plenty of people who fail to be social in their approach to work. And not all of them are programmers.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:08 AM - #Permalink
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    Completely with Peter Hilton... Adding "social" to any software platform is a can of worms; and many times it is just plain overkill. Now, what does work is looking at how people actually collaborate with eachother. For example, many times I run into situations where customer ask for "documentation". The collaboration is pretty often as follows:

    Stuff gets sent, looked at, returned, looked at, discussed in a workshop, changed, sent, looked at, discussed in a meeting, changed, etc. The million dollar question is: Where have people looked at? Which version? Where are all the comments? Audit log perhaps? So, yes, there is a need for this type of functionality, but the implementation is often pretty bad. And: My oh my, email is still such a killer app :-).

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    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:19 AM - #Permalink
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    Many business processes benefit when you allow participants to collaborate, and that collaboration can be enhanced by tooling that was originaly created for social interactions - but to be truly useful the collaboration tools need to be goal oriented, and few social tools are.

    Social BPM, as a moniker, misses the point. Collaborative BPM is spot on.

    • Patrick Lujan
      more than a month ago
      "Social BPM, as a moniker, misses the point. Collaborative BPM is spot on."
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:25 AM - #Permalink
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    While there are some use cases for capturing the work interaction as part of a business process, I think Social BPM is more a marketing buzzword trying to capture the Social Media craze of consumers rather than a real differentiator as it was portrayed. For risk averse industries, capturing some of the interaction that takes place outside of the work product is appealing in theory but for many, it is just a clumsey added feature. Value comes from directed collaboration as others have said rather than social BPM.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:31 AM - #Permalink
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    Yes. Absolutely. It is the perfect example of so many BPM companies that are just following buzzwords and hype in order to fool the analysts and their disappointed VCs. But isn't that the story of Sillicon Valley itself? :)

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:44 AM - #Permalink
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    Thanks for using one of my comments today! I would like to clarify when I talked about Social BPM, it was a direct integration with Facebook, Twitter, and the software company's own social media "app." On this app you had the ability to add followers and to follow someone, liking aspects of a work item going through the process and even following a particular case so you could get updates when anything happened. Maybe that's fine but there are other integrations and tools that can provide that without needing a separate app (y'know, like email or text messages).

    I totally agree on the BPM Collaboration points and perhaps a BPM based social app provided by the company is a way to do it but integrating with FB and Twitter is total overkill and just doesn't make sense to me ("Oh hey, I got a Tweet that I need to approve an invoice. Think I'll Like and Retweet that." )

    I think the social part of BPM was more marketing driven than anything else and it's a shame that the true benefits of a BPMS solution get buried underneath all the the hype.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 10:44 AM - #Permalink
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    Another "distraction" to core discipline of BPM. However perhaps where the informal tasks in a process are recognised as useful allowing interaction with colleagues then should be moulded into the end to end process recording outcomes as appropriate. But I do not like term social in this context.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 11:02 AM - #Permalink
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    Absolutely. BPM tools should seek to integrate with best practice rather than attempt to replicate it. BPMs should continue focus on reducing the cost to deploy and on the less sexy aspects of process design, integration and business rules.

    Agree with David that Social BPM has been a distraction. I’d add mobile BPM to the list of distractions as well.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 11:05 AM - #Permalink
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    There are great applications for BPM integration with social network platforms. For example, I know of one municipality that is preparing to use BPM and Twitter to provide all kinds of new services to its citizens.

    But in general, the hype was always hype. And that's equally true of many of the "collaboration" features lauded by analysts and touted by vendors today. But don't get me started.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 11:08 AM - #Permalink
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    It depends on how one defines "Social". Most processes involve more than one person and are "Social" in that regard. However, if one takes the narrower definition of "Social", i.e. "posts" to ones followers (Twitter), friends (Facebook) or connections (LinkedIn) then that makes for a very poor foundation for BPM.

    As @Walter stated, email is the killer app for processes. Why is that? It's because email is at its core a conversation rather than a status broadcast. And a conversation is a much more promising basis for BPM.

    Accordingly, I see conversational BPM as a much more promising path than "classic Social". Conversations are a natural way for people to interact with each other as well as for people to interact with bots. The main thing missing from email is a consistent conversational state. (Attachments represent inconsistent conversational state). Add consistent conversational state to an email-like tool that users and bots can interact with while conversing and I think you have a possible future of BPM.

    Currently, conversational BPM, at least on the people-to-bot side, is somewhat stilted due to the limitations of AI and the ability of bots to understand natural language. However, the rate of progress in this area is staggering and it seems to me this limitation will be rapidly overcome. Even before bots can truly understand natural language, approaches like "commands" (think "Hey Siri") are a more-than-adequate stopgap.

    References:

    1. https://tmail21.com
    • John Morris
      more than a month ago
      Great mention of conversational technology, closely related to the work on "narrative" or "story", where progress is, as you say, staggering.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 11:24 AM - #Permalink
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    Use of community-intelligence or social-intelligence or social-knowledge is one of the many coordination techniques in modern work environment thus it must be available in modern BPM-suite tools to capture events and generate complete audit-trails.

    BPM-suite tools gradually incorporate more and more coordination techniques - see ref1.

    Thanks,
    AS

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 11:26 AM - #Permalink
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    4 votes

    Was the "horseless carriage" a failure?

    The term "social BPM" was a handle to explore how technological trends fit together. Now, we just call it BPM.

    As a marketing term, Social BPM was a failure. However, I am not sure anyone ever seriously thought this was a new product category.

    • Peter Whibley
      more than a month ago
      Mmm I'd argue as a marketing term, for some vendors anyway, it was a success. As a product or feature of a BPMs it was a failure.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 12:40 PM - #Permalink
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    3 votes

    So many diverse comments here on this one discussion topic.

    In healthcare it's "no verbal orders"

    For a child, at any step along a best practice pathway, you are likely to get a call from the parent re "Why are you doing this? or "I see on the internet that beet root is a better treatment modality, why are you not using this?"

    For an adult, same thing plus a desire to go to a portal and gain access to their EMR file (the law says they have the right to access information in their file).

    The healthcare log needs to have a record of each of these "ad hoc" interventions - not just date/time and caller but any data that was recorded, at the time it was recorded, on the form versions in service OR an audio recording OR a video telehealth encounter recording.

    No way we would allow data flows to patients/caregivers using Facebook, Twitter, e-mail because of the risk of disclosure of patient information and possibility of heavy fines.

    In respect of portal accesses, you want the user to be able to log in, see a menu of services (trimmed to what this user is allowed to see/request), a message goes from the portal to a webserver engine and it is the engine alone that links to the backend db server, indexes to the right record, retrieves the data, passes it back to the engine and pushes out the info to the user at the portal. Any suspicious incoming data stream diverts to a healthcare professional/admin person who will probably call and say "if you really need this amount of information, how about you come into the clinic to pick it up?

    Bottom line, no "social " in healthcare and if you are building generic platforms for healthcare (hospitals/clinics interacting with patients), for manufacturing (organizations like Lockheed interacting with suppliers), for b2b (a job shop operation interacting with a customer), why not use the same approach?

    I am with Emiel ". . . .some type of processes rely more on social interactions than other ones"

    I think we could avoid the controversies by saying " . . . some type of processes rely more on ad hoc interactions than other ones"

     

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 03:59 PM - #Permalink
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    Outstanding question! "Social" in a business context is a can of worms (cf @Walter Bril). There are the problematic implications of a blurring of the personal, the public and the corporate. There's the question of unpaid labour (not all social technology is unpaid labour, but the possibility is there). There's the question of rigidity, whereas the real world of conversations (cf. @Ranjit Notani) are dynamic and emergent. And then there are the questions of governance and loyalty, especially relevant in a day when automation is finally having a negative impact on employment. It also seems that social has been often poorly done, and without much theoretical basis (e.g. concerning "narrative" and "conversation" etc.) on what people actually need in the context of the tacit. And here's one more concern about "social" and BPM (triggered by reading @Ian Gotts' new item), which is the question of "cost of collaboration". There's some evidence emerging that forced collaboration sometimes generates a higher cognitive load that what was the case before, with a resulting decline in productivity. Yikes! That wasn't supposed to happen.

    And so all these phenomenon add up to "features without users".

    So, in summary, sure, by all means "social", but done right.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Tuesday, March 15 2016, 08:35 PM - #Permalink
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    Collaboration is made easier (crossing geographical / time boundaries) with the right technology. So providing effective collaboration around the improvement and delivery of processes is a valuable enhacement.

    Poorly designed (or woefullly out of date), inefficient processes flows cannot be improved by simply making it easier for people to discuss how to get the job done. Of worse, simply expecting the processes to work better, despite no formal consistent understanding because they have implemented social (Chatter, Yammer, Tibbr) is simply naive.

    That is like putting lipstick on a pig

    I had to go back to 2011 to find my last blog on SocialBPM...(attached)

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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 16 2016, 01:21 PM - #Permalink
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    Business work is inherently social - you are supposed to work for a customer and get paid for it. In the happiest of cases, the customer is a different person than you. Boom! there's your social component right there.

    If I understood correctly, social BPM is where people get together online to draw on the same model? Hehe.

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