Will the elephant replace the bird?

tldr; I’m on Mastodon at fosstodon.org/@skemsley

I’ve been on Twitter since March 2007 and have amassed over 7,500 followers (probably half of them bots, but whatever). There’s a current push to move off Twitter and onto Mastodon, an open source microblogging social network, because of the declining standards of content and new ownership over at the bird site. Can we successfully make the shift from tweeting to tooting?

In the old days of Twitter, which don’t seem that long ago, I used to engage in a lot of conversations: my timeline was mostly tweets from my friends and business colleagues, and we would banter back and forth. These days, however, I use Twitter mostly as a broadcast platform, where I post links to new blog posts, videos and other publications. I respond if someone mentions me directly, but it’s no longer the place that I go to start a conversation. It’s just too noisy, full of promoted tweets, and retweets about topics that I don’t care about by people who I barely know. To be fair, some of that is my fault: I tended to follow most people who followed me and had some sort of similar interests, and it’s a lot of work to go back and pare down that list of 2,000 who I follow to a more reasonable number. When lists came out, I started putting people on lists rather than following them directly, but it was probably already too late. Same, by the way, for LinkedIn: I was indiscriminate about who I added to my network, and it’s just too noisy over there for a real conversation.

Enter the elephant. Mastodon is an open source, decentralized social platform that has functionality quite similiar to Twitter: posts are “toots” instead of tweets; you can like, share and reply to posts, and can see a running feed of posts. The big difference is that Mastodon isn’t one company, or one instance: anyone can create a Mastodon instance, either privately for use within a smaller group, or included in a group of federated servers that share posts and (to some extent) account information. When you sign up, you need to choose the server where you want your account, although you can follow accounts from other servers. If you want to change servers at some point in the future, you can; however, it doesn’t appear that you can move your posts to the new server (although you will move your following/follower lists), so there is less incentive to do this once you start posting a lot.

I looked at the available servers that follow the Mastodon Server Covenant and are part of the fediverse (the group of federated servers), and picked fosstodon.org, which is a technology-focused server that includes a lot of (but is not exclusive to) free and open source software. I’m not exclusive to open source, but I do cover a number of process automation vendors with open source offerings and this felt like a good fit. You can find and follow me there at fosstodon.org/@skemsley. Will I be better at curating my follows on this platform, which I so miserably failed at on Twitter and LinkedIn? I have way less FOMO these days, so maybe.

I’m already starting to have some conversations over there, but finding it difficult to find who from my current circle of friends and colleagues is on Mastodon, and on which server — searching by name really only gives you who is on your server unless someone else on your server mentions them. I also have a lot to learn about curating my feed, since the defaults are Home (my posts, re-toots of my posts, and my followers’ posts), Local (all posts from everyone on my server) and Federated (holy crap, everything in the fediverse). I’ve discovered an unoffial but quite good source of helpful into at fedi.tips and will be reviewing more of that.

On a side note, Twitter tends to be a good platform for contacting customer service for some organizations, so I’m not going to abandon it outright, and I’ll still use it for broadcasts. Just covering my bases.

Ten years of social BPM

Ten years ago today, I gave my first public presentation on social BPM, “Web 2.0 and BPM”, at the now-defunct BPMG Process 2006 conference in London:

The ideas from consumer social software that I proposed be integrated into BPM — software as a service, user-created processes, collaboration during process design and runtime, lightweight integration models — are all now ubiquitous. I pushed the social business concept further by publicly posting my presentation on Slideshare, a move that other consultants and analysts considered heretical since I was “giving away” my intellectual property. How times have changed.

The attendees likely thought my ideas were a bit crazy; luckily, the BPMS vendors and the big analyst firms started to see the light a few years later. 🙂

bpmNEXT 2016 demos: W4 and BP3

Second round of demos for the day, with more case management. This time with pictures!

BPM and Enterprise Social Networks for Flexible Case Management – Francois Bonnet, W4 (now ITESOFT Group)

wp-1461177318999.jpgAdding ESN to case management (via Jamespot plugin) to improve collaboration and flexibility, enhancing a timeline of BPM events with the comments and other collaboration events that occur as the process executes. Initiates social routing as asynchronous event call. Example shows collaborative ownership assignment on an RFP, where an owner must self-select within the ESN before a process deadline is reached, or the assignment is made automatically. Case ID shared between W4 BPM and Jamespot ESN, so that case assignments, comments and other activities are sent back to BPM for logging in the process engine to create a consolidated timeline. Can create links between content artifacts, such as between RFP and proposal. Nice use of BPMN events to link to ESN, and a good example of how to use an external (but integrated) ESN for collaborative steps within a standard BPMN process, while capturing events that occur in the ESN as part of the process audit trail.

A Business Process Application with No Process – Scott Francis, BP3 Global

IMG_9207Outpatient care example with coordination of resources (rooms, labs) and people (doctors, patients), BPMN may not be best way to model and coordinate resources since can end up as a single-task anti-pattern. Target UI on tablet, using their Brazos tools with responsive UI, but can be used on desktop or phone. Patient list allows provider to manage high-level state of waiting versus in progress by assigning room, then add substatessuch as “Chaperone Required”, immediate updates regardless of platform used. Patient and doctor notifications can be initiated from action menu. A beautiful UI implementation of a fairly simple state management application built on IBM BPM, although the infrastructure is there to tie in events and data from other systems.

HoHoTO 2015: be a sponsor, or just come for the party

HoHoTO is a fundraiser event put on each year by Toronto’s digital community: a great party with dancing, raffles and a chance to catch up with your friends (at the top of your lungs to be heard over the dance tunes). Since its inception in 2008, HoHoTO has raised over $350,000 for the Daily Bread Food Bank – an awesome organization that helps to feed people in our community – but this year, HoHoTO has turned its eye to supporting “the next generation of founders, funders and tech professionals”. In particular, the focus will be on organizations that help to bring more women and minorities into technology and digital businesses. The event is on December 11 at the Mod Club, and early bird tickets are on sale here.

The primary focus is on the YWCA Toronto’s Girl’s Centre, with a 3-year goal to completely fund the Girls’ Centre and push for the opening of another one. This centre provides programs for girls from 9-18 to allow them to try activities and develop skills, including “Miss Media” for designing online media such as blogs and websites. It’s located in Scarborough, the easternmost 1/3 of Toronto, serving a community that has upwards of 65% visible minorities (and the best ethnic food in the world, according to one economist), meaning that it is a great match with HoHoTO’s focus on promoting women and minorities in business and technology from an early age. HoHoTO is also bringing together professional women as mentors, including me.

The HoHoTO event, run by unpaid volunteers, is raising money through tickets and sponsorships. If you or your organization recognizes the value of diversity in business, and wants to support the success of women and minorities in digital and technology fields, consider becoming a sponsor of the event. Details are here, and most of your contribution is eligible for a tax receipt. You’ll get recognition on HoHoTO’s site and at the event, other promotional opportunities throughout the year, a handful of event and drink tickets to bring your team out to enjoy the evening, and a nice warm feeling in your heart.

Knowledge Work Incentives at EACBPM

June was a bit of a crazy month, with three conferences in a row (Orlando-London-DC) including two presentations at IRM’s BPM conference in London: a half-day workshop on the Future of Work, and a breakout session on Knowledge Work Incentives, which was a deep dive into one of the themes in the workshop. I put the slides for the breakout session up on the day of the presentation, but then went off for a couple of days of holidays in Brighton and completely forgot to post a link here:

Yesterday, I read a post on The Eloquent Women called In a world of #allmalepanels, can we share pics of #eloquentwomen?, which is a riff on the Congrats, you have an all male panel Tumblr. This has been going on a long time: I wrote about the problem at Toronto’s mesh conference starting in 2007, and then just stopped attending it.

The recent TEW post had me think about the opportunities that I’ve had to present at conferences all over the world, and I decided to take them up on their challenge and post some of the pictures and videos from me presenting in the past. First, a few videos in a variety of speaking styles:

And some pictures taken and tweeted by audience members:

I speak primarily about technology and the impact that it has on business, and I’m recognized as an expert in my field, so I have to say that the common excuses for having no (paid) women speakers summarized here – no qualified women speakers; woman only speak about “women stuff” [wtf?]; women are more likely to say no to speaking; women are more likely to cancel – are patently untrue in my case, and likely in the case of most women speakers.

There are some shining examples of companies that put a lot of women – internal and external – on the stage at their conferences, and we need to see more of this in the future. Otherwise, you’re just ignoring half of the IQ available as speakers, and starting to alienate the attendees.

PegaWORLD 2015 Keynote with @BrianSolis: Innovate or Die!

Brian Solis from Altimeter  Group was the starting keynote, talking about disruptive technology and how businesses can undergo digital transformation. One of the issues with companies and change is that executives don’t live the way the rest of us do, and have to think of the shareholders first, but may not have sufficient insight into how changing customer attitudes and the supporting technology will impact their profitability, or even their ability to survive. “A Kodak moment” is now about how you go bankrupt when you ignore disruptive technology: not something that you want to capture for posterity.

Digital Darwinism

Customer experience can just happen by accident, or it can be something that we design in order to achieve a “higher purpose” of being customer centric. That doesn’t mean that we have complete control over that customer experience any more, since our brands are made up of what we put out there, and what other people say about us. Customer experience is not about what we say, but about what we do, since that’s what will be examined under the social media microscope. Altimeter’s research shows that almost all companies undergoing their digital transformation specifically because of customer experience, but that few of them really understand what the problem is. 67% of buyers’ customer journey is now done online, consulting 11 different sources for information even if they purchase IRL, and your online customer experience is the difference between surviving or not. Part of this is omni-channel presence, since almost none of those pre-buying search journeys happen on a single device. You can’t force customers to do business your way: you have to do it their way. And in order to do it their way, you have to understand what that is (that sounds kind of obvious, but may companies don’t get that). You have to think through the eyes of your customers: as Solis said, “Think like a customer. Act like a startup.”

Innovate or Die

Solis’ message, in short: if you don’t disrupt yourself, someone else will do it for you. Innovate or die.

Capital Raising Through Crowdfunding

Nicholas Doyle of DST gave a presentation on crowdfunding: an interesting topic to cover at a conference attended primarily by old-school financial services companies, who are the ones most likely to be radically disrupted by crowdfunding, but likely don’t see it coming. He started with a video from CraftFund — crowdsourced capital investment focused on the craft beer and food industry — then talked about the state of the market, the different business models, and the US securities regulations that apply to private securities that include crowdfunding. He also included a good timeline of crowdfunding from the 1983 startup of Grameen Bank‘s microfinancing operations, plus some of the regulations that govern microlending and microequity in the US:

Crowdfunding Timeline

I covered a bit about crowdfunding at the 2012 Technicity event, including the UK crowdfunding platform CrowdCube and a discussion on the legality of equity crowdfunding in Ontario (where I live). Equity crowdfunding really only started in the US in 2011 with MicroVentures, and the recently passed JOBS Act includes a number of regulations that apply to crowdfunding and other small-scale equity investments, including who can participate and how it can be promoted and sold. In particular, Title III of the JOBS Act applies to crowdfunding; it’s not finalized yet but Doyle was able to give us a review of what is expected there, as well as some of the state regulations that will impact crowdfunding.

The landscape positions the crowdfunding platforms between issuers and investors; that platform needs to include compliance, distribution, reporting and enabling technologies. Crowdfunding is only 0.6% of the world’s capital markets, but that’s still $1.6B and the industry has grown 1000% in the last five years, and will undoubtedly continue to grow. Debt financing is growing at a much higher rate than equity investing, in part due to the limits placed by the applicable titles of the JOBS Act. Donation models are also growing, and the biggest growth is in reward models, which are typical on sites such as Kickstarter. There are obvious challenges to work out with crowdfunding, such as secondary market liquidity and investor accreditation, but it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay and will continue to grow.

Crowdfunding Growth By Model

DST does not currently offer any products in this area, but it’s interesting to see that they are keeping a close eye on it to see how they can fit in the market, whether as a recordkeeper, clearinghouse or other role.

The sun is high and I’m all done with my presentation and videography commitments, so this will be the end of my blogging from DST ADVANCE 2015 as I head out to enjoy a bit of the Phoenix weather.

Social Media Meets Social Collaboration. Or Not.

My fellow Enterprise Irregular Susan Scrupski posted last month on the split between enterprise initiatives in social media (external-facing marketing) and social collaboration (mostly internal work production and knowledge sharing) – apparently the number of organizations actually integrating these efforts is near-zero. I don’t find this particular surprising, since the people involved and the purposes of the initiatives are quite different, but it doesn’t bode well for efforts to directly connect internal business processes to customers via social media. I started to incorporate themes of linking external social presence into core business processes (recorded screencast here) a couple of years ago in my presentations and writing, based on my own experiences as well as those of my clients. However, when I talk about that Zipcar/Twitter example today, I still get a lot of “wow” reactions in the audience: for most organizations, the idea that social media can be directly integrated as a near-real-time customer interaction channel seems like science fiction. And even for those that do see social media as a customer engagement channel, it often has serious limitations: as soon as you actually need to do a “transaction”, the social media team has to hand off to an operations team, usually requiring that the customer restart their interaction over again through a different channel.

Many organizations are still struggling with the idea of internal social collaboration. Although the software functionality for the social enterprise is robust, and has become integrated with line-of-business functionality such as in BPM and ERP systems, I’m still working with many traditional industries, where managers still want to know exactly how how long people spend on break, and certainly don’t trust them enough to enable on-demand collaboration features in their systems. Although, of course, the workers do collaborate: they just do it outside the systems, creating hidden business processes that provide the collaborative and dynamic aspects using (primarily) email.

This is more than just an outside-in realignment, although that’s a necessary starting point: there’s a combination of technology and corporate culture that needs to allow for the direct connection of external social media and internal social collaboration.

APQC Process Conference

This week, I started in Vegas with huge SAP TechEd conference, then moved on to Houston for the much more intimate APQC Process Conference, attended by 150 of so quality practitioners who are focused on process. I arrived too late for the first day’s sessions, but caught up with people at the reception, then gave the keynote this morning on how we need to change incentives for knowledge workers within the social enterprise:

This is an area that I’ve been pondering over for quite a while, but the first presentation that I’ve done explicitly on this topic. I’m going to do a separate post on this including all of the research pointers to open it up for more discussion; for a technology geek like me, looking at HR issues such as employee incentives makes me feel a bit out of my depth, but it’s been tapping away at my hindbrain since I first started talking about social BPM more than seven years ago, and I’m intensely interested in some of the research that can start to make its way into enterprise process software.

We had a full 25-30 minutes of Q&A after the keynote; there is a huge amount of interest amongst this audience, and a lot of related experiences to share.

I had the huge pleasure of hearing Jack Grayson, founder of APQC and productivity guru, speak about his ongoing work as well as his skydiving experience at the age of 90 (!), and he graciously gave me a tour of the Houstontonian conference center and the adjacent APQC offices that he has helped to build over the years. Impressive and inspirational, although a bit intimidating to follow onto stage.

Keeping focus long enough to blog right after doing a presentation can be a bit challenging, but I sat in on the joint APQC/ASQ breakout session that I attended just after the keynote, discussing their research linking quality practices to quality performance and presented by Travis Colton. Quality measurement systems tend to be related pretty strongly to process improvement and BPM initiatives, and this was a much more detailed view of the process of quality management (as opposed to quality within the enterprise processes) than I usually see, and some interesting points. He finished up, quite by coincidence, with a bit on employee incentives for quality; interesting how much my message from earlier seemed to resonate with a lot of people who I talked to as well as showing up in other presentations. You can see more about their research and results here.

The final session of the day (and the conference) was a wrap-up led by Elisabeth Swan, a process improvement consultant. She applied her background in improvisational comedy to tease out the main themes from the breakout sessions based on post-it notes that people had created during each session, and give an opportunity for people who attended the sessions to speak up about what they heard there. Good interactive wrap-up, and an opportunity to hear about all of the sessions that I missed.

APQC holds a knowledge management conference each year as well as this process conference, plus a number of webinars related to productivity and quality improvement.

Yammer For Enterprise Social At The Canadian Cancer Society With @lvanderlip

My blogging has been pretty sparse lately, in part because I’ve been busier than usual for the summer and in part because I have an intimidating backlog of product reviews to get through. Tonight, however, I’m at a meetup of Knowledge Workers Toronto to hear Lisa Vanderlip of the Canadian Cancer Society (a charitable fund-raising organization) talk about how they are using Yammer in their workplace. Interestingly, her first words were that she is joining Microsoft in September to work with Yammer from the inside, although tonight she was here to talk about its use at the Cancer Society, and enterprise social in general.

I’ve been starting some independent research lately looking at worker incentives for enterprise social, so I was interested to hear about how they encouraged adoption within their organization. As a 75-year-old organization, a lot of their internal communication was unidirectional, and different offices across the country had their own local intranets using SharePoint servers and the like. This led to a lot of confusion about where to find information or locate internal skills and resources, and a lot of inefficiencies in getting work done. They started implementing Yammer as a social tool in January 2012 with a full production rollout in February 2013, and have seen significant improvements in their internal communications since then. Selection of Yammer was based on recommendations from other organizations, but also because of their strong Microsoft usage internally, especially SharePoint, which integrates well with Yammer.

Their driver for internal enterprise social (as opposed to customer/outward-facing social) was to achieve business goals through engaging staff, sharing goals, increasing productivity, improving collaboration, creating a positive culture and recognizing performance. They wanted to consolidate their intranet into a single cohesive resource available across the organization, and see Yammer as providing a combination of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for internal users (authenticated with Active Directory).

A key part of the roll-out was getting buy-in from management (to get the budget and approvals) as well as from the teams who would be using it. They’ve gone through three (!) CEOs during the course of the project, which added some challenges due to the shifting political landscape and the views of the executive team towards enterprise social at any given time. They worked at buy-in by having an internal advocate team (Yambassadors) that communicated and educated about enterprise social and Yammer, so that by the time they rolled out, everyone knew what Yammer was and what the organization would be doing with it: namely, solving business problems, not sharing what people had for lunch.

They established multiple levels of goals: at the national office level, there were the wider-ranging goals of engaging staff in the organizational mission and vision, increasing communication and collaboration, and increasing efficiency; at the departmental/regional level, they had a template for establishing project-specific goals. For training, there were some basics about social media and Yammer, but also some examples of Yammer success stories and guidance on adding social aspects to current processes and methods.

I asked about incentives that help to motivate users to use enterprise social, and although they’re just starting to look at some of those issues (and are going through some HR restructuring), one key part is in non-financial recognition as an incentive: using Yammer for giving someone a “thumbs up” for a job well done, or recognizing someone as an expert in a particular area. Indirectly, of course, this can translate to financial incentives since peer recognition will (or at least, it should) feed into performance reviews, and is a good indicator for employee satisfaction and therefore reduced turnover. Since they rolled out in production in February of this year, they’ve had over 100 “thumbs up” given on their national network, and have seen 80% of their staff engaged (that is, took specific deliberate actions) on the system; all departments have been using Yammer to achieve their goals.

They are measuring staff engagement and effectiveness of Yammer, allowing each department and team to set metrics to determine if they are achieving their goals. They are actively trying to reduce (internal) email and replacing it with Yammer and other more appropriate communication channels: this has improved efficiencies in several of their team that collaborate on content creation, as would be expected. In the next fiscal year, as they move forward with their approved projects on Yammer, they will be implementing guidelines for limiting staff emails, which will also drive adoption. I think (and please feel free to chime in if you know more about this) that Yammer has some gaps in terms of records management from a regulatory/compliance standpoint, but there are no real technical barriers why enterprise social content can’t be managed in the same way that we managed email, documents and other content required for specific industry governance. In fact, without this level of governance, enterprise social systems will falter as they attempt to push into line-of-business applications.

The challenge for those of us in the BPM world is that enterprise social is something that’s (currently) done in the context of a BPMS, where the organizational goals, user motivators and methods of engagement can be quite different. However, some good lessons here on rolling out social capabilities within an organization, regardless of the platform.

Great presentation and discussion, especially hearing the views and questions of those who work in enterprise knowledge management but appear to have little exposure to social media, both consumer and enterprise: these are probably representative of the views of many people within organizations who are struggling with a justification for enterprise social. The presentation slides will be added to the Meetup group; you probably need to be a group member to see them.