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Editor's Note: In this Q & A, Peter Schooff speaks with Andrew Smith, a developer, enterprise architect and managing director of One Degree Consulting Ltd. Smith offers insights and tips about BPM, social BPM and adaptive process guidance (APG).

PS: In our first podcast, we discussed taking a holistic companywide approach to BPM [in general]. How do you think a holistic approach can help with social BPM?

AS: There are two areas when we talk about social. The first one is obviously the social communications between the business and the customers themselves. There are many ways we can communicate now, [such as] Twitter or Facebook. One of the big challenges for BPM is to capture all those interactions, no matter where they've come from. We've got to remember as well that that [information] will probably be sitting in our customer relation management [(CRM)] system, or it could be a part of a particular process that we're working on now, so we need to make sure that we have the whole conversation. Because social is very conversation-based, it's very easy to lose the context of particular conversations or any work that has to be [done] from those conversations.

By being a lot more holistic, and having a single platform that covers customer relationship management [and] that covers your business process management and the enterprise content, you actually have all those conversations stored and accessible from one place. As a customer agent picks up the phone to talk to particular customers, they can read those social interactions, be they from Facebook, Twitter or wherever, and actually make sense of them. That's a very important point to make with the customer experience-and that includes from a business process management point of view. As work moves along a particular business process stream, we're going to need to look at a particular part of a conversation, but we don't want to lose the whole context of it.

PS: And the second part of social that you mentioned?

AS: The second part is really talking about how social interactions at work impact the particular business process stream. My colleague could say, "When you pick out this particular piece of work, you need to add tasks X, Y and Z to it." BPM needs to be able to understand that now, as a user, I've got a real-time need to update the process or update my particular piece of work and include those new tasks in a new task definition.


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