"Social" seems to be the buzz word, if not the implementation, in just about every enterprise application today. Some vendors have done a nice job identifying how to bring social into the realm of usability, while others seem to be delivering a lot of "check box" acknowledgement. Granted, the industry is in its early stages — with business process management vendors trying to figure out the right "formula" for integrating social with BPM.
At BP Logix we believe there are huge advantages to adeptly incorporating social with BPM — and we are already delivering on it. Well before Process Director was delivered, we were aware of the implications of social and that demand for it would be increasing. We recognized that there were elements of social that inherently solve issues of communication and collaboration among the various players in business processes. We observed how business process management software was being used and noted where we could leverage social to give process participants more opportunities for engagement and interaction. More than being "just software" the methodologies and strategies that make social what it is are fairly easy to understand. We also appreciate that people are good at using social tools to fit their needs.
At a first glance, social capabilities may seem to be too random and unstructured to be relevant to business processes. When most of us think social (at least initially) Facebook and Twitter come to mind as entertaining way to connect with others — rather than thinking about how social might be incorporated into a "process discipline" and accompany real business goals.
Yet, social is all about...well, being social. Rules about how communication and conduct should be handled in a social network are dictated either by users or owners. Users either comply or lose their effectiveness. With BPM solutions and workflow solutions, users want need to engage, share and collaborate. Rules facilitate and drive those interactions — but not for process actors alone. Rather, all interactions are intended to get closer to delivering on the goals of the business. Social groups tend to like relying on rules— so a BPM software solution that leverages rules is a good fit.
Ultimately, social software creates new pathways along which business processes can travel. Because it is also simple and recognizable, social software allows customers, partners and others in the ecosystem to feel more comfortable engaging with processes —and allows different parties to collaborate and fuse their data and decisions. This leads to more inclusion and contribution, which might not be as readily available without an entree like social.
This is precisely what we saw and heard from partners, customers and prospects. Their needs could be solved with some of the same behaviors that are a natural aspect of social networks. We decided to help users take advantage of what they already knew and apply it to solving business problems. We suspect that integrating social with BPM may lower the barrier to entry, involve more people, accelerate the learning curve, and decrease some of the hierarchical limitations that exist in many organizations.
Process Director provides social media integration that encourages organizations to apply the best practices of social to business process planning and implementation. Social is big and trendy — yet we have figured out how to apply it in a way that helps drive business progress. And we will continue to do so.
Baseball legend Dizzy Dean said, "It ain't bragging if you can do it".... From the baseball diamond to the halls of the enterprise, it ain't bragging if it delivers actual results.