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Where does BPM fit into today's evolving collaborative enterprise?

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Suggested by David Chassels, where does BPM fit into today's evolving collaborative enterprise?

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  • I wrote about this yesterday, good timing !

    http://bpmredux.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/social-workflow-social-enterprise-the-future-of-bpm-and-work/

    The future of BPM and indeed work based software and method itself doesn’t lie in continually adding onto the bloated software product stack from the latest analyst twitterings, or jumping onto the darling buzzword for this week, the future lies in being able to step back and accept a piece of humble pie and admitting that we have been wrong. I’m not suggesting we ignore everything that has come before but equally we can’t blindly keep following the same mechanics that have served for decades.

    If we do, we’ll continue to keep getting it wrong. We owe those enterprises to do things differently now.

  • I hope it finally makes clear the core of managing by process: delivering results and not wanting to control all of your work in an industrial six sigma way, because that is a very rigid and depressing view of a process (and then often called workflow or routine).

    As you can tell from my last name I used to be in a band (you know; those stinking boys and girls with long hair).

    Writing a new song is a very collaborative process with a very clear result: a new song. Only there was no predefined workflow to write a new song.

    Sometimes I came up with a guitar riff, or my brother with some lyrics or my sister with a melody.

    We started jamming and finally we ended up ‘being in love with an alien’. Not following a predefined workflow, but collaborating during a jam session.

    Is this chaos? Absolutely not. Every note we played was recorded. After jamming for a while we played it back.

    We performed our ‘prototype’ for other family members; we really managed the process. Imagine if we had youtube or twitter in those days…even our 'customers' could collaborate.

    But after we recorded a new song a very workflow-like process was started. The cd was produced, packed and shipped. Straight through, thousand times per day.

    So I hope that companies start to realize that all processes are unique and might need different ways of managing them to make them deliver what they promise.

    ACM or WFM? It’s al BPM.

    That means they have to accept that some processes cannot be dictated upfront, but developed during the trip. The trip to a destination. So I believe that the product/service or problem you have to solve must be clear, but the path, the information needed, people involved might differ.

    Other processes might still be managed workflow style.

    In the end it’s not about having a process, but about using it. So, use it well.

  • Same as where it's always been, making things work faster, easier, cheaper. Whether it's a standalone vertical, or part of an overall implementation but, yeah, after twenty years the buzzword hype that changes from one year to the next is beyond tiresome.

  • I also wrote yesterday a piece on this -- Enhancing the Productivity of an Evolving Workforce:

    http://social-biz.org/2012/08/20/enhancing-the-productivity-of-an-evolving-workforce/

    I think the big area of expansion and promise is the support for creative and innovative professional, which BPM has never really addressed in the past. It is about embracing complexity, not attempting to eliminate it. It is about putting the human mind to work, and not about eliminating thought from the workplace.

  • Jumping in a tad late here, but...

    If "collaborative" is to mean anything, it certainly includes the ability for a process to reach across the enterprise for data, and across organizational boundaries for participation and interaction. I can think of no technology better suited than BPM to accomplish that very goal.

  • Enterprise software as has emerged is a mess. It was never designed to "work" with people. Yet it contains invaluable data even if replicated many times! New technology capability for easy change reflecting how people work has the capability to change the game removing spreadsheets local databases and the unrecorded creation of information. Yet we know that this involves informal collaborative work. Whatever such knowledge needs to be collated and hence the discipline of “BPM” is the start point. There should be no technology barriers to empowering people with the required measurements recognising collaboration is as much about linking to legacy data as it is about between people?

  • The reality is that with the complexity of modern business no-one will get a process right first time, so an iterative, evolutionary process is essential. BPM needs collaboration just as much as collaboration needs BPM.

    There are two approaches to BPM - to treat it as the latest IT fix or as a business focused platform for collaboration and continual improvement.

    Once you really understand your current process and why you do what you do, you can share it in a form anyone can understand. The opportunities to improve it suddenly become obvious as everyone applies their particular viewpoint and expertise.

    We use an iterative approach with a straw man To-Be process and heartbeat re-iteration and improvement to create a robust and agreed process in weeks. Often the gains from getting everyone together to agree on what the process should be far outweigh the technology driven benefits. And a key benefit of collaboration is that everyone then has an interest in the outcome - implementation becomes easy.

    I know of no other business solution which facilitates and encourages collaboration this way and which continually evolves and improves a process. That makes it the cornerstone of an effective collaborative enterprise.

  • BPM can play a unique role when it comes to collaboration. Intelligent BPM suites (as defined by Gartner) include social collaboration tools that enable collaboration on business processes by all stakeholders and process participants. Recently, BPM tools are extending this functionality, to include the ability to hook in other members of the organization into a dialogue on the processes. Here's a quick look at some Social BPM tools that are new in our own BPM suite: http://www.pnmsoft.com/technology/white-paper-social-bpm/
    These tools include the ability ask questions and add comments to processes ad hoc, which is actually part of the move toward more dynamic processes.

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