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Is Social BPM Emerging as the Defacto Term for 'Non-Automated/Business Improvement/End User' BPM?

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Ian Gotts: Is Social BPM emerging as the defacto term for 'non-automated / business improvement / end user'  BPM?  Rather like Cloud seems to have stuck as the defacto term for SaaS, ASP, hosting

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  • I hope not, otherwise where will it end ?

    Social Requirements Management ?
    Social Solution Design ?
    Social Testing ?

    There's no such thing as 'End User' BPM because it touches every facet of a business/ organisation. Everyone is a consumer of process.

    I'm beginning to believe that, in some cases, being as transparent and open as the social paradigm is pushing will eventually become counter-productive.

    • Hi Theo

      According to my understanding, you are 'beginning to believe' in the truth. BPM is counter-productive - unless restricted to the stratum of functional automation (logistic). That's what I am 'preaching' all the time.

  • Non-automated BPM? Non-automated BPM!

    Isn't just modelling Business activity in terms of a formal process (according to what ever formal scheme)
      -  social engineering
      -  perceiving human workforce as an automate (kind of assembly line)
      -  automation

  • I hope not, because it would be very confusing. (However it would not be the first time a confusing term came into common use.)

    I think we all might agree that "social" refers to self-maintained, decentralized networks of personal relationships together with flexible ways to communicate within those networks (walls, notes, messages, tweets, chats, blogs, wikis).

    BPM however should mean the "Management of Business Processes". Add social to it, and you have some enhanced ways to manage those processes -- but it should not in any way imply "non-automated". But such terms are not decided by logic, and in the end a word means exactly what everyone thinks it means, no more and no less.

    I do have a helpful suggestion. Insiders can affix "-buzz" to the end of terms that are abused. Thus we have "cloud computing" and we have "cloud-buzz computing" -- different things. This might help us keep it all straight!

    • Right, Keith, 'not decided by logic'.

      I think, these terms should be 'purified' by philosophy - in best (Western & Eastern) thought tradition. The result will, admittedly, not be The Truth, but the clearest insight we can have, at any one time, in any well-defined context.

  • Social BPM still has many varied meanings for end users and practitioners alike. I, for one haven't made up my mind that it is only about the social interaction when you define and improve the process (non-autoamted).

    I believe that there can be social (in the new Web 2.0 context) interaction in the actual automated process. We need to be careful to stick a label on something that will require a lot of change management if we decide to expand the scope of Social BPM.

    • Please tell me, Pieter,

      isn't a lot of change management required for Logistic BPM (you would say ordinary BPM, possibly Non-Social BPM), either? And isn't the question more on change-management compared with change-benefit, than on change-management as such?

      My answer to these two questions would be, that management effort, required to change over to a WSM-culture, is much more rewarding than the management effort required to change over to a BPM-culture. Here, WSM is what you have in mind, most probably, when speaking of 'Extended Social BPM' (details to be found at www.mastering-it.com > Portal 'Basics')

      • Peter

        I was actually referring to the change management in the BPM community when we realise that we stuck a label on something that was not well understood. Like you, I follow many of the online BPM debates and to this day there is not a clear, agreed definition of BPM. Many of the discussions are still trying to come up with a one line definition of BPM.

        Change Management during a BPM project, of what ever nature, is one (if not the most important) of the critical success factor. I actually did some post grad research into the use of social media to support change management during enterprise systems implementation and showed that these type of social technologies can support the non-automated process discovery and improvement phases. I still think that these tools could be useful in the actual execution of processes and I wouldn't like to stick the social BPM tag on something which we later find can do so much more.

        So the change management that I referred to was more aimed at the BPM community at large.

        • Well, Pieter,

          I agree, 'Change Management during a BPM project, of what ever nature, is one (if not the most important) of the critical success factor.' Also, I do appreciate the care, with which you handle the tag 'Social BPM'. May I have a look at your post-grad research results, concerning process discovery and improvement?

          For my rigorous way of reasoning :-), it would be important, to what kinds of processes your discovery tools are open. Are 'self-organizing collaboration processes' (the term can be properly defined, if necessary) detectable?

          Are your research result available? (If you prefer: peter.brand@mastering-it.com)

          Thanks and regards

          • Peter

            I've sent the information to your email.

            • Pieter,

              reading your research paper, I cannot but say: what a pity for so much good work invested in the 'wrong' issue (how to deploy the result of a BPM-project). I am convienced that a more and all important isssue with BPM-projects is making sure that BP-methodology is properly applied to the suitable field. Which is Logistics, never Collaboration - stratum of functional automation, not stratum of social automation (as I pointed out already so many times).

              Thanks, again, for sending me your fine research paper.

  • I tend to agree with the comments by Keith and Pieter. While Social BPM and 'non-automated / business improvement / end user' BPM, tend to get lumped together, they are different things. In my mind Social BPM implies the use of the social technologies (such as chat, tweet, blog, etc.)in the context of BPM. One can envision use of these technologies in a design and run time setting as well as part of automated or nonautomated processes, just as we have done in the Metastorm product suite.

  • Obviously, chat, blog, open-source forums, and the like are NOT technologies. They are supported or may be even enabled (in their specific appearance) by technology.
    This really simple distinction should be made before any discussion on 'Social BPM'. It would help to learn that while 'Logistic BPM' is possible (and successfully in use since decades), any 'Social BPM' is impossible, since already its very concept is self-contradictory.

    In fact, BPM, by definition, is based on modelling the governance-aspect of some social relations in a company, ignoring intentedly the self-organizing aspect of those same relations.

    This abstraction is all but 'social' and all about techno-cratic. The epi-center of the respective technocracy is the observer (modeller) of a BP, who at any time may handle his/her model to a programmer, who can handle it to a PB-Engine for execution.

    Adding of the above mentioned Web-specific communication technology has no impact at all on the anti-social practice at work in BPM, since it does not change in the slightest its techno-cratic thinking, modelling, programming, execution.

    So, it's a big mistake to believe that 'Social BPM implies the use of the social technologies (such as chat, tweet, blog, etc.)in the context of BPM'.

    Or do you think of chats used by employees to help each other to get around 'their' BPMS? This is the only case of 'Social BPM', I can think of and - as a matter of fact - I know of.

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