The team has good intentions, but the people actually involved in making the business process happen end up saying, “This isn’t how we do it,” or “This isn’t what we had in mind.”
Employees end up reverting to the old way of doing business, and either all that business process improvement work goes down the drain or the BPM tools don’t get used.
With social BPM, employees — and in some cases, customers — are involved up front in changing and improving and even creating new business processes. Also called collaborative modeling by Forrester Research Inc. analyst Clay Richardson, the idea behind social BPM is to involve employees and customers in the design and planning stage. “Right now, it’s mostly top-down BPM; social BPM flips this model,” he said.
Richardson has written several blog posts on the subject, with one that discusses big process thinking, an approach that includes tying the customer experience to process improvement.
Richardson is seeing it happen among his client base. When a large health cooperative needed to transform its business processes, it brought customers into the conversation, worked with the customers’ employees and asked, “How do you think we should improve our processes?” he said.
With social BPM, a process can be changed midstream. “What’s critical is not just inundating people in the organization with a whole bunch of [business process] data, but putting it into the context of a work in progress so participants can take action on it real-time,” said Elise Olding, a research director in Gartner’s BPM practice.
Social BPM is one piece of the BPM strategy puzzle. We’ll be exploring other factors behind successful BPM strategies — and common mistakes — next week on SearchCIO.com.
Let us know what you think about this blog post; email: Christina Torode, News Director]]>
It wasn’t called cloud computing services or Software as a Service (SaaS), but the concept was the same: Dubovik wanted to house resource, staffing and project management business process applications on someone else’s infrastructure. The in-house infrastructure for those processes was a mismatch of off-the-shelf and open source platforms, and he didn’t want to invest in a new infrastructure.
The real selling point for him back when he was the vice president of IT strategy for Digitas, an advertising agency that was acquired for $1.3 billion in 2006 by Paris-based Publicis Groupe, was not the ability to rent infrastructure and applications, however.
“[The service provider] truly became a partner — we could leverage their expertise, which was based on best practices gathered from their network of customers, and use them to improve our business processes,” he said.
The company that Dubovik outsourced his business process applications to was OpenAir, then known as a Web-based professional services automation platform. OpenAir was acquired by NetSuite for $26 million in 2008.
Dubovik is no longer with Digitas. He’s now the vice president of information technology for Boston-based private equity firm Audax Group. And he is no longer quite as enamored by what are now called cloud computing services.
“What we were buying back then [from OpenAir] was not just the technology, but resources we could use to solve a business problem. I don’t know if I can say that holds true for all the SaaS plays now,” he said.
I have heard IT executives describe Salesforce.com as a player that solves business problems, and even creates new business, but I’d like to hear about other, not-so-famous SaaS, cloud or whatever you want to call them, players that you consider more than a place to rent space.