On behalf of guest author, Yegin Genc:
Integrating social network software into business process management platforms, aka Social BPM, has been one of the new hot topics in the BPM blogosphere. As social networks began to pervade into our personal and business lives, such talk was inevitable. But whether Social BPM is going to stick around is not as clear. I believe the root of the doubts is in the conceptual differences between the two phenomena. Social networks enable people to interact and produce information and work within a free form, with unstructured activities. They are geared towards improving the effectiveness of communication during collaboration. BPM, on the other hand, is mostly about providing structure to the way people collaborate so that the collaborations are efficient.
Given such a fundamental difference, it is logical to be pessimistic about the future of social BPM and argue that the integration of social networks and BPM can only go as far as providing a social network screen within a BPMS system, with some minimal integration points, like showing pictures of people next to their assigned activity, ability to chat with someone live, and seeing whether they are present or not. Although these features are beneficial and can improve collaboration, they are hardly a revolutionary improvement to BPM capabilities.
In future posts, we will explore some potential ways that Social Networks can make a real impact on BPM.