Social BPM: Engaging people in value-driven BPM

Given the growth of social media, increasing interest and opportunity exists for using digital channels to support business process management (BPM). This emerging concept marries the flexibility and pervasiveness of social media with the...

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Given the growth of social media, increasing interest and opportunity exists for using digital channels to support business process management (BPM). This emerging concept marries the flexibility and pervasiveness of social media with the management discipline of BPM to significantly improve and create value for process-driven organisations.

Additionally, many organisations that embrace value-driven BPM have discovered that this approach can provide an effective way of improving organisational performance. Process management actually serves as the critical link that translates business strategy into execution, thereby converting business processes into assets that offer competitive advantage.

Value-driven BPM also can make business processes adaptable while fuelling the organisations with the agility they need to rapidly adjust their strategy in response to today’s dynamic business environment
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So what role can social media play in supporting value-driven BPM?

While the concept is relatively new, social BPM can help advance the process of process management. It also can support value-driven BPM by gathering and broadcasting much-needed stakeholder input to help improve existing processes and design new processes, whether they are in finance, human resources, or nearly any other function within a company.

Although social BPM uses new technology, its main value may lie in people’s interactions. As discussed in our book, Value-Driven Business Process Management, the value of BPM relies on transparency, networking, compliance, quality, efficiency, agility and integration. By encouraging conversation and facilitating a more open environment, social media can help organisations breathe life into these values and support BPM.

At its core, social BPM is a tool that accelerates a company’s BPM practices and provides a lens through which process managers can see what process changes may be needed to help an organisation achieve its objectives. Social BPM while playing the role of a change agent through digital channels can then let changes percolate up through an organisation as it supports the process of process management.

But, first let’s look at how Social BPM can improve the process of process management and the processes an organisation needs to improve. It really boils down to helping practitioners align their BPM capabilities and the processes that could have the highest impact to achieve a valuable outcome.

For instance, information can be gathered to inform business process decisions via online surveys; social media channels, such as Twitter; or, with the right software, in real-time during a conference call. A technology department might use social media to communicate with engineering, creating a tighter feedback loop than previously existed between what was being made and what customers wanted.

These tools introduce a new level of agility to process management, and they are tremendously valuable in today’s era of seemingly constant change. Consequently, it is easy to imagine that companies, if they do not already, may soon count social media skills among the core capabilities they use to further their marketplace differentiation and help foster adoption of value-driven BPM.

Even so, social BPM, although integral to value-driven BPM, cannot realise its full potential unless it is integrated with an organisation’s operational process improvement. Organisations that use social media to support both value-driven BPM and operational processes will discover more of the possibilities that social BPM offers.

By embracing social BPM as a powerful asset, these organisations have the opportunity to develop some of the most advanced process capabilities in their fields, and become the most resilient in the face of change.

Peter Franz, managing director for Business Process Management at Accenture, and Dr. Mathias Kirchmer, executive director for Business Process Management at Accenture, are the authors of Value-Driven Business Process Management - The Value-Switch for Lasting Competitive Advantage, published earlier this year by McGraw-Hill.

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