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Augmenting BPM with Social Software

Rainer Schmidt and Selmin Nurcan have co-authored a nice paper that succinctly explains some key social software principles and their application to BPM. Their view is that social software and business processes can have a unique relationship where processes may apply social technologies to enhance process stakeholder interaction and/or support process design and implementation. Both of these extensions to traditional BPM address some existing stakeholder engagement and process model adoption issues.

Four enabling factors of social technology are presented in support of the emerging “social” BPM approach with reference to various sociology and marketing texts. These principles as debated at various workshops and BPM conferences have been defined as:
1. Weak Ties – “spontaneously created connections between non-predetermined individuals”. Leading to improved organisational agility due to enhanced knowledge exchange within and outside established network boundaries.
2. Egalitarianism – Crowd sourcing knowledge from all process stakeholders (internal & external) with all contributors having an equal say in the discussion.
3. Social Production – A rapid process improvement cycle driven by an open user-access policy established to support continuous knowledge aggregation & reuse.
4. Service-Dominant Logic – Adoption of a service-oriented approach to marketing where the process Customer is a co-creator of value.

They go further to draw the alignment between social software and business processes i.e. process may use social software to improve stakeholder interaction and/or processes may be the object of social software. This means that the traditional practice of BPM (modelling, requirements analysis etc) utilises social technology to address for example the model-reality divide between process model design and implementation. In their view, the key benefits of social BPM will be the continuous fusioning of process knowledge; process improvement agility; identification of hidden knowledge contributors and the broadening this knowledge base.

Rainer and Selmin raise some valid points on the benefits of social BPM not least of which is how this approach can address the model-reality divide….but just how successful is this in practice and can these benefits be measured?

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Categories: BPM, Enterprise 2.0
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