SocialBPM has emerged rapidly and inevitably the BPM software vendors have been quick put their marketing spin on their product. This is an unformed and uninformed space. But Elise Olding and Carol Rozwell at Gartner have clearly been thinking long  and hard about what SocialBPM means.

So firstly their definition of Social BPM:

“Social BPM” is a concept that describes collaboratively designed and iterated processes. The term is synonymous with “socially enabled processes.” These processes mirror the way that work is performed from a “doer” perspective and experienced from a “receiver” perspective to harness the power of continuous learning from “the collective.”

Social BPM resides at the intersection of process and collaborative activity. It is supported by BPM and social software that makes process design more visible and holistic. It supports moreeffective process execution through the use of social software tools that augment human actions to better mirror the way work is performed, while also providing visibility to this work. This includes the ability to support all process activities — such as collaboration, social networking, collective activities and communications — that are a natural part of “work” to create a holistic process design that is open to influence and change from a variety of perspectives (for example, from customers, partners, suppliers, employees and the collective). As such, social BPM moves BPM closer to “design by doing.

In short: 2 distinct perspectives: Collaboration to improve a business process or to get a job done

Elise’s recent research note Social BPM: Getting to Doing is the first paper I have read for a while which starts to cut through the hype and suggests practical actions. Sadly this research is only available to those us who are Gartner clients.  But the key findings and recommendations are:

Key Findings
  • Social BPM enhances the tenets of BPM — visibility, accountability and adaptability.
  • Organizational change is a necessary focus for implementing social BPM.
  • The amount of social data can be overwhelming. It should be distilled into insights that can drive business performance.
  • Don’t limit social BPM application to only customer-facing processes — many processes can benefit from a broader, more interactive participation.
  • Strive to redesign processes, rather than “bolting on” social capabilities. It will result in a better process design that enables seamless usage by the participants.
  • Learn about social software by hands-on usage of available tools in order to understand the various capabilities.

So what does this all mean? Firstly is it not about technology, but it is technology enabled. People had friends and had conversations before Facebook. Now those friendships and conversations can be synchronous or aysnchronous, hence span timezones and geography. The same is true for BPM.  Collaboration to improve a business process or to get a job done –  the 2 perspectives of Social BPM – has always happened.  Now there can be less friction, more people can be involved, and better decisions can be made. But there’s the rub.  Unless you have a solid process context or backdrop to have those conversations you will not exploit Social BPM.  So for many companies, getting the basics in place – consistent, shared, understood end to end processes – is the starting point. Social BPM is not a short cut.

As Elise says: “SocialBPM supercharges BPM”.  There is a reason why Driving Schools have small engined cars, not supercharged Dodge Vipers.  People can get hurt.


Hi Ian

Not sure if you were aware of this conference?

Also I will be hosting a drinks event at the Hotel Vitale (opposite the ferry building) on May 10th (5:30pm -9pm). I will be sending save the dates but hope you can make this!

Kind regards
Melissa Harkcom

Director, US Business Development

Direct:  +1 415 728 9815

Mobile: +1 415 867 6245

From: British American Business Council Los Angeles []
Sent: 09 March 2011 15:55
To: British American Business Council Los Angeles
Subject: BABC Conference 2011: The Impact of Innovation


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One thought on “Supercharged research on SocialBPM from Gartner #gartner #social #bpm

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