Social + BPM seems like a winning combination. Technology is enabling collaboration to improve processes and get the job done spanning geographical, time and inter-company barriers. Think of it as a form of crowd sourcing. Engaging customers, companies and suppliers – the entire end to end process – to deliver better results.
I have been encouraging business users to take control of the definition of their own processes, rather than abdicating it to Business Analysts or IT Analysts as they have for years. 14 to be precise, which is how long ago I founded Nimbus. Nimbus Control is easy enough to be used by end users, not business analysts or process professionals. There is clear evidence in client after client that we have achieved that.
But, Phil Gilbert from IBM has gone so far as to claim that IBM Blueworks is so easy that everyone should just “start mapping”. To me that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Everyone creating islands of process. Disconnected. Uncoordinated.
But a Business Process Competency Center (BPCC), as Gartner advocates or Centre of Excellence (CoE) is a way of putting some structure around the mapping work. Again Phil Gilbert has something to say here. “Kill the Center of Excellence“.
The new level of interest in BPM offers an opportunity to harness the passion and energy of the entire organisation. True crowdsourcing. But crowds need leadership, guidance and direction. Hence the critical importance of a BPCC or CoE.
We should look to other successful crowd sourcing activities for guidance. Probably the best known is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a free for all. The founders of Wikipedia set some structure, guidelines and rules. After that they let people fill out the structure. They delegated ownership, yet kept overall control.
Both these principles Nimbus Control supports. But remember with Wikipedia there is no requirement for different Wikipedia entries to gel or fit together. No need to satisfy regulators or auditors. For processes to really improve business performance as a whole, they work they need to work end to end, spanning departments or even companies seamlessly.
So, whilst I applaud Phil Gilbert for raising the profile and discussion around end user driven process management I cannot agree with him on his approach.
If I did that, we’d both be wrong.