BPM and Social Media

Social media on the road of BPMToday, there is a lot of discussion about how Business Process Management (BPM) and social media can enrich each other. The topic comes up at almost every BPM software meeting and BPM conference. This blog provides an overview of how social media and BPM relate to each other and in what way they can be combined to improve the results of BPM.

Differences between BPM and social media
Social media and Business Process Management seem to be each others opponents in almost every way. There are a lot of differences. BPM is usually visible in process flows and the users are highly educated professionals, working in a structured way. The software is designed to follow rules, improve efficiency and making sure that organizations work in a predictable and stable way. On the contrary, social media conversation isn’t any of these things. Social media are dynamic and unpredictable, available on every computer and mobile device, and not in control of organizations. While Business Process Management and BPM software is about modeling business processes and simulating them so that we can make them more efficient, social media is about changing the rules of business and social interaction, and loosing control of information flows.

Co-exist in daily business
Facilitating interaction between organizational members and sharing information internally and externally is key to the success of business processes. Here BPM and social media can co-exist to optimize these aspects. Social media could be coupled to BPM in order to support getting information at the right place at the right time. Social media could be used to share knowledge and methods and support continuous conversations across systems and media. Social media can also trigger the start of business processes, making sure information is updated and sharing process improvement data to the right process managers.

The combination of BPM and social media can be used to develop and improve business processes. For example, wikis and social media allow organizational teams to start user-driven BPM projects to generate improvements. Now social BPM is becoming collaborative BPM, providing access and decision-making to multiple internal and external users without losing exclusivity. You can also think of applications where BPM software is running inside social software. This way, users can collaborate and share but also execute, improve, and repeat.

Reinforce BPM with social media
In theory, social media have a lot to offer to BPM initiatives. 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, access business information and improve processes.

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By Reint Jan Holterman @ BPM Leader | January 6, 2012

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