Social BPM saw a flurry of activity last week in the BPM blogosphere for some reason; I’ve been writing and presenting on social BPM for about four years now, so most of this isn’t new to me, but it’s good to see the ideas starting to permeate.
Keith Swenson writes on who is socializing in social BPM, and how the major analysts’ view of social BPM is that the BPM application developers are socializing, not the end users; that misses the point, in Keith’s (and my) opinion, since it ignores the runtime social/collaborative aspects as well as the blurring of the boundary between designing and participating in processes. He writes:
The proper use of social software in the business will eliminate the need for process designers. Everyone will be a designer, in the way that everyone is a writer in the blogosphere.
This last part is not strictly true: everyone could be a writer in the blogosphere, but in reality, only a tiny fraction of those who read blogs actually write blogs, or even comment on blogs. The same will likely occur in runtime collaboration in BPM: only a fraction of users will design processes, even though all have the capability to do so, but all will benefit from it.
Then, at SAPPHIRE this week, I had a conversation with Enterprise 2.0 adoption expert Susan Scrupski, founder of the 2.0 Adoption Council, about her characterization of SAPPHIRE as 2.0 Reality Rehab, and her distressing discovery that 0 out of 20 SAP customers who she interviewed on the show floor had ever heard of Enterprise 2.0.
Distressing to her, but not so surprising to me: enterprise social software is not exactly mainstream with a lot of large companies that I work with, where wikis are used only by IT for tracking projects but not permitted into the user base at large, and blogs are viewed as disreputable sources of information. Imagine the reception that I get when I start talking to these companies about social BPM concepts: they don’t exactly warm up to the idea that users should design their own processes.
Before you jump all over me with examples of successful Enterprise 2.0 and social BPM adoption stories, I’m talking about mainstream adoption, not just in the echo chamber of those of us who think that this stuff is great, and root out the case studies like the rare and valuable gems that they are.
As a champion for Enterprise 2.0, and with only a few short weeks to go before the Enterprise 2.0 conference, Susan is keen to see more meaningful adoption within enterprises: not just more, but in applications that really make a difference for the core business of the company. This is, I believe, where social BPM can help: it’s an application that lends itself particularly well to collaboration and other social aspects, while providing a core critical function within enterprises. I’d love to see Enterprise 2.0 software vendors start to tackle core enterprise software, such as BPM, CRM and ERP, and stop building more enterprise wiki and blogging platforms. Think of it as 2.0 Reality Rehab for the whole Enterprise 2.0 industry.