Delving deep into the art of the social business

“Experience shows that people always find better ways to do things."

Businesses looking to improve internal communication, increase process transparency, and achieve operational efficiencies should consider adopting a social business process management (BPM) approach.

Social BPM is emerging as the next step in BPM evolution but few organisations understand it clearly or have implemented it effectively.

“Experience shows that people always find better ways to do things,” says Russell Gordon, business process practice director, UXC Eclipse.

“They just don’t necessarily share that information with their peers. Social BPM provides a way to capture that information and make it part of the officially-documented process.”

For Gordon, social BPM offers a number of key benefits.

“It can improve the way organisations interact with employees by making it simple, fast and painless to provide feedback on processes,” he explains.

Gordon believes this helps employees feel more connected and engaged in process improvement and because social BPM uses a more relaxed communication channel, it encourages employees to contribute while still letting the company improve processes in a structured manner.

“Social BPM breaks down organisational silos and encourages a collaborative, transparent approach to process management,” he adds.

“This transparency is a key ingredient for success in process-driven organisations. That sense of inclusiveness distinguishes social BPM from traditionally-collaborative BPM.”

Going forward, Gordon has identified seven tips to successfully adopt social BPM:

1. Understand the objectives:

Some businesses need to eliminate costly inefficiencies while others are simply looking for general improvement or to become more customer centric.

Understanding and articulating the objectives upfront can help identify what kind of social BPM approach to take.

2. Take an integrated approach:

Make sure the social BPM tool you choose integrates with your current systems and environment.

3. Start small:

By picking a particular area or process that is inefficient and starting there, organisations can get faster, more solid results.

Trying to do everything at once is complex and time-consuming. In the time it takes to achieve any success, the project can lose support from the business and stakeholders.

4. Start selectively:

Organisations will achieve a faster return on investment by choosing a business area that can be improved significantly. Start with areas that are considered high risk and high value to the organisation.

5. Promote usage:

Like any project, business leaders need to encourage employees to use the new social BPM system.

6. Maintain realistic expectations

100 per cent adoption on day one is unlikely. Organisations should give employees time to adjust and training to understand the new system. Participation will improve as time goes by.

7. Follow through, follow up:

It is vital to respond to people who participate in social BPM so they know their feedback is valuable and useful. If process owners respond to feedback then people are more likely to continue to participate.

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