You might think that mass collaboration is ill suited for business process improvement. The chaotic, unpredictable, messy, voluntary, often controversial and sometimes ugly interactions that can characterize social collaboration seems almost the opposite of the clean, calculated, activity centric, deterministic approach that many associate with business process management. Well, the times they are a changin’.
The most strategic, transformational, and beneficial organizational processes just might be found in the chaos of the community. Social collaboration represents a whole new frontier for business process management. I use “frontier” specifically because it will be new exploration, challenging, and fraught with both danger and great opportunity. And exploring a new frontier requires some new approaches. New approaches that can enable, unearth, examine, enhance and support processes from within communities of customers, employees, suppliers, partners, contractors, prospects, etc.
Success in this new frontier demands a few new mindsets including:
- A focus on social processes that enable business processes
- The ability to discover and nurture emergent processes
- Understanding the shift from designing “the right” process to enabling multiple experience opportunities
- And how to effectively employ community protectionism from hostile processes
Consider the CEMEX example from the book The Social Organization where CEMEX employed a social collaboration approach to increasing the use of alternative fuels in their plants. Instead of taking a traditional process improvement approach they employed social processes to enable a community of plant leaders to themselves build the processes for increasing the use of alternative fuels. Yes, it was messy and sporadic and unpredictable as they initially stumbled around trying to find their way. But over time the community got better at it and ended up wildly successful. They accomplished in about 8 weeks what they estimated would have taken about 18 months with traditional process improvement efforts. And CEMEX also believes that the social collaboration approach gave them a much greater rate of adoption. We call this Design by Doing.
I will be delivering a keynote presentation entitled “Driving Organizational Success by Combining Social Media and Business Process Transformation” at the
Gartner Business Process Management Summit on 25 – 27 April 2012 in Baltimore, MD. I’ll be discussing this exciting topic. Yes, I did say exciting!
I’d love to hear from you on any thoughts and experiences you have around “crowd processes.”
I co-authored a book "The Social Organization" on Amazon.com . Check it out!