The Convergence of Business Process Management (BPM) and Social Media

24 Nov

Given the popularity and rapid growth of social media in recent years, I began to wonder if it could be impactful in relation to Business Process Management (BPM). In many respects BPM and social media are mutually exclusive concepts (Stuart, 2012). BPM is based on engineering, with emphasis on the automation and standardisation of processes. Social Media is regarded as messy, chaotic, volatile, and to an extent, largely unpredictable. BPM is designed to follow rules, improve efficiency and making sure that organisations work in a predictable and stable way. On the other hand, social media is dynamic and unpredictable; it is available on pretty much every computer and mobile device, and it’s not in control of organisations (Stuart, 2012).

Despite the obvious differences, many industry experts believe the combination of the two can be used to develop and improve business processes. The result has been the emergence of Social BPM. Many regard the term as another ‘buzzword’, but there are also many advocates of the term and see it as extremely beneficial to BPM initiatives. Social media has a lot to offer BPM initiatives. As we’ve learned from previous posts on the topic, sharing information and knowledge about processes is key to the success of BPM. Social media can support collaboration and provide information at the right place and at the right time. While BPM remains well-structured and professional, team members have the opportunity to flexibly interact and access business information, thus improving processes (Holterman, 2012)

No question, customers today expect a speedy response to their requests and want the companies to customise the services provided to their needs. Social media drives BPM much closer to the end-user and customer by accelerating the responses when they interact with the business through social media channels. Simply put, Social BPM is an enabler for faster processing and for a better view of the business process from an end-user and customer perspective. A facet of Social BPM can be simply looking to do social mining to transform the way the organisation’s processes engage with customers at runtime. Social BPM can be deemed important because it helps eliminate the barrier between BPM decision makers and the users affected by their decisions (BPMfreak, 2012)

Any thoughts, is Social BPM just another ‘buzzword’?

Sources:

http://www.bpmleader.com/2012/0/06/bpm-social-media/1/

http://www.ebizq.net/topics/social_bpm/features/13356.html

http://thebpmfreak.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/social-bpm/

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4 Responses to “The Convergence of Business Process Management (BPM) and Social Media”

  1. timh88 November 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi aplusk22, nice post. The fusing of BPM and Social Media can only be a good thing for organisations as it allows a broader scope for collaboration and feedback in relation to the various processes within the firm.

  2. timh88 November 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Hi aplusk22, nice post. The fusing of BPM and Social Media can only be a good thing for organisations as it allows a broader scope for collaboration and feedback in relation to the various processes within the firm. It loosens the rigidity of BPM

  3. gashe2k12 November 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    I think a challenge is that social networking tools are event based. Users follow events from the business applications, e.g. sales & purchase orders. Business processes are often built around workflows and service oriented interfaces to the existing applications. This requires a re-design of interfaces, especially bi-directional communication between social tools and business processes. Posting a status to news feed is one thing. But actioning on it and integrating back into the business process is another.

  4. aplusk22 November 28, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    Some interesting points you’ve raised, gashe2k12. I suppose, as is the case with any new initiative, there will always be challenges. BPM has traditionally left customers, partners, and the bulk of frontline workers out of the communication loop. Social BPM will bring more diverse voices into process improvement activities through a combination of Web 2.0 and social tools with BPM to facilitate bi-directional communication for process improvement. Essentially, the user has the opportunity to step outside the structured process and create ad hoc collaboration.

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