Social BPM has been getting a lot of hype as a technology. It is not. Certainly, it is supported by technology, but it is a practice that requires the right skills. The skill that will be fundamentally required is process design. Social BPM requires understanding how to turn a process “outside in” by viewing it from the customer’s perspective and experience. Social BPM is about enhancing customer experience at all the touch points of a process, and insert methods to seek out new information, not only about increasing internal efficiencies.
The shift will need to be from focusing on tasks and work flows to thinking about the experience of those interacting with the process. Social BPM will cross into the realm of user interface and require a hybrid role a process designer. A process designer is a highly skilled individual that creates the context and concept of the user experience. This means challenging conventional thought – it means creating an experience of the process first, then defining the activities and tasks.
An example of this thinking one of our Gartner clients shared with me:
The enterprise is undertaking a major restructuring and redesign of a major portion of the company. Rather than looking for just efficiencies, they included the customer view of how their processes are experienced. This led to rethinking how processes have been standardly defined. For instance, their product distribution was deemed a customer facing interaction. (I admit I did wince when I was first told this!) The rationale is that the delivery is the touch point for the customer and that interaction influences the perception of the company. Rather than defining distribution as a supply chain function, they included it in sales and marketing processes.
As you can see in this example, technology would not have identified this shift. Social BPM is a shift, it will require re-looking at how we have defined processes (management, enabling/support and competitive). Using the above example, the role of the delivery person may be expanded, they may need different decision making authority, they may need to connect customer comments, spot emerging trends and be able to communicate these for action. This role will contribute to the competitive advantage of this company by making every customer interaction one that represents the brand.
This view of process design goes beyond getting a bunch of people in a room collaborating on process design. It goes beyond cobbling some disconnected social technology on top of the process. (see “Stop Whining and Get Back to Work(flow) by Carol Rozwell) It will require radical rethinking of the process, understanding the touch points with the customers (external and internal) and how that view changes how the process will execute and what changes may be needed in the roles delivering that process.
It will require the skills of a process designer.
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