BPM and Social Media – Harnessing the Many Opportunities

Bronze medal for Most Shared Blog, 2012This summer, we will highlight the three best read and three most shared blogs on BPM Leader.
In line with the spirits of the Olympic Games, we will award these blogs with a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Today’s blog by Nischala and Charles has won the bronze medal for most shared blog.

Happy reading!
Reint Jan, publisher at BPM Leader 


BPM and Social MediaSocial Media in 2012 is ubiquitous.  Irrespective of whether you are an individual or an enterprise – using it for fun or business – there is awareness on social media from almost every corner of the globe. What varies in individual contexts is the level of interest, excitement and desire to leverage and engage with what it can provide.

What’s also interesting to note is that the pace of change and evolution in social media is also rapid – in terms of tools, platforms, features, services, pricing, etc. Consequently, the apparent winners of today will not necessarily be the leaders of tomorrow and this is what makes the whole world of social media so exciting and unpredictable.

Todate, if we look at the basic situation, it can be loosely described as below:
1) There is no universal definition of “Social Media” (Of course, there are many broad definitions. But is it understood in the same way by you and me? Probably NOT!)
2) This lack of universal definition is good because it means Social Media is evolving without the context of artificial confines. This implies that there is no boundary for what “Social Media” is and what “Social Media” is not

The world of BPM is also quickly evolving from well-defined, controlled and data hungry approaches within the context of complex analytical frameworks best suited to a structured world or a rigid production line to simpler, more agile, customer centric approaches designed to empower the whole organization.

Moving forward, the focus is to harness technology solutions that will “bust” the silos within an enterprise to better connect and integrate customers, systems, data, talent and capabilities, in a useful, simple and adaptive fashion. And this is the “unique sweet spot” where BPM and social media can be harnessed in several useful ways.

In this blog, the authors* provide some perspectives and potential opportunities on the synergies between BPM and Social Media:

1)    The BPM Product Vendor View
As of date, there are more than 100 BPM product offerings in the marketplace. Not only is it a crowded market space – But the fact is that the majority of these products have less than a 5% market share. The ensuing result is obvious – There are no REAL winners at a product level.

The omnipresence, state of nascence and potential promise of social media has been spotted by BPM Product vendors. Consequently, one popular approach being adopted is to enhance the current BPM product suite to add features which integrate with social media.

Product vendors keen to win the feature / function race (Often the wrong battle in our opinion) are integrating with numerous social media channels (e.g:  Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as a standard part of the BPM suite itself to:
i) Leverage the data from Social Media channels as a trigger to initiate the business process.  This actually provides a significant business opportunity – provided the trigger is really “customer experience”; although many product vendors do not appreciate the implication readily enough.
ii) Use the information from Social Media to navigate through a business process
iii) Analyze social media data to identify trends which will provide intelligence to define and model new business processes OR refine existing business processes to achieve a specific business objective

Click on the links to get an overview to the Social Media offerings of some of the BPM product vendors PegaAppian, IBM BPM.

2)    BPM Solution Provider View
For a BPM Solution Provider, there are many opportunities to build added value service streams exploring synergies between BPM and Social Media. This translates to:
i) Provide Advisory/ Consulting services to clients on how to leverage BPM and Social Media for specific business objectives. A good knowledge and understanding of Social Media is a pre-requisite, plus of course BPM expertise and experience. If this knowledge and expertise is harnessed towards improved customer experience, then there is a valuable upside opportunity
ii) Leverage Social Media for collaborative process discovery in the BPM Implementation Life cycle. Variance in viewpoints is a normal implication in process discovery. However, the focus here should be on harnessing views on variation rather than creating a single viewpoint based on consensus
iii) Effectively use the power of Social Media for BPMS implementations with focus on project delivery quality and excellence. E.g.: Leverage Social Media as a Knowledge Sharing platform within BPM project implementation teams.

Another important aspect to the success of BPM projects is the ability to manage change. Industry sources such as PMP point that about 70% of “change projects / programs” still underperform and do not deliver on time resulting in an unfavorable business impact. Finding ways to increase the probability of success in “change projects / programs” is becoming of paramount importance. However, the success rates have not increased markedly over the last 5 years.  Whilst knowledge sharing represents only part of the solution for success in BPM solutions – it is indicative to leveraging innovative methods for collaboration early enough in the project cycle to increase the probability of success.

3)  Organizations implementing BPM solutions [For e.g: Banks, Insurance Companies, Telecom Service providers, Retailers, etc.]
The accelerating adoption of Social Media across the globe – irrespective of age, profession, gender, social status, location, etc. makes it a very powerful and cost effective channel in terms of audience reach.
For any organization looking at implementing BPM solutions, there are some very effective ways in which the synergies between Social Media and BPM can be leveraged.  The most obvious starting point is to use Social Media as a “formal” channel to initiate or navigate through one / many of the following key business processes – Prospect Identification, Customer Acquisition, Marketing, Branding, Sales, Corporate Communications, Customer Notifications, Customer Service Request Management, etc.

In Summary,

  • How you leverage Social Media is dependent on your individual context, goals and your role in the industry value chain
  • Whatever be your goals, it is important to have a holistic view along with a well-integrated strategy on how to leverage “BPM and the Social Media opportunity”

What’s your view on this? Leave a comment to let us know…

*NOTE: This post is co-authored by Nischala Murthy Kaushik & Charles Bennett 




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By Nischala @ Wipro | August 14, 2012

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