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BPM and Social Media Synergies for Agile Enterprises

Posted on: 04 February '13
Sajeev Nair
General Manager & Head EAI, BPM

Omnipresent social media is changing the way enterprises define, analyze, implement, control and optimize their business-critical assets – ‘processes.” Expecting their skilled workforce to possess higher degree of Social Quotient (SQ ) along with Intelligent Quotient (IQ), organizations are actively gearing up for enriching their business processes for multi-channel revenue enablement avenues, real time decision making and “crowdsourcing” for process optimization.

Organizations are increasingly embracing “processes” as the mode of translating business strategy into effective execution. The journey of Business Process Management (BPM) establishes the right focus for initiatives based on the strategic imperatives of an organization and converts business processes into real assets that provide competitive advantage. The key to success of BPM is communication, and nowadays communication is completely intertwined with social media and here comes the synergies between both.

In my recent interactions with few customers in the Insurance domain, I could feel their hunger for adopting social media platforms as convenient channels for optimizing existing business processes successfully. This will be the trend going forward in all domains, especially, for better user experience, customer satisfaction and process agility.

A few scenarios of social media usage in insurance through BPM initiatives implemented with a closed group of users:

  • Share incentives, discounts to closed group of brokers and agents to achieve calendar based targets
  • Accept quote requests and provide bind confirmation and policy number to trusted brokers and agents and key customers for pre-underwritten products, as in many such instances brokers/agents are equipped with rating rules
  • Ask for feedback, surveys and announce product changes in closed groups to build trust

A few other cases of process optimization using public group in social media in a controlled manner, which is crowdsourcing at its best:

  • Insurance companies using social media feeds to respond and help customers involved in catastrophes like earthquakes, provides a wealth of helpful information.
  • Allow customers to raise First Notice of Loss (FNOL) over public social media in case of extreme conditions (major disasters) and call centers are not reachable
  • Provide promotional offers to customers and brokers on social Media

Such effective process tweaks and its success prompted me to think about how social media channels can impact process agility in all industry domains. Let us use this blog for sharing experiences in your own domains of excellence.

The huge strides made on the process optimization front by synergies of BPM and social Media has created a BPM trend as such, viz social BPM, acknowledged by analyst community and adopted heavily by numerous customers. Social BPM is the use of social tools (e.g. blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and techniques in Business Process Optimization efforts. Social BPM uses web 2.0, components such as wikis and social networking and more traditional components in BPM initiatives. Use of social BPM allows direct and volume user interaction. This helps in leveraging mindshare of resources outside the company, encouraging a more collaborative, transparent approach to process optimization and re-definition which has created a new problem solving paradigm called “crowdsourcing”.

Social BPM will reap high degree of rewards in culture based organizations with high levels of transparency and openness amidst all levels of organization hierarchy – organizations like Mindtree for instance, where operational business processes incorporates employee feedback. Blogs and other online communities support transparency, the central ingredient for the success of any process driven organization. Normally these blogs are open forums encouraging frequent posts from process owners and resident experts. These will help organizations identify pain points and bring in much needed clarity on ambiguous process snippets with viewpoints on process improvement coming directly from the experts.

To gear up for the social BPM trend, BPM market has effectively integrated most of the popularly used social media channels as part of their BPM suites. IBM BPM 8.0 and PEGA Smart BPM Suite lead from the front in this context. This will enable business analysts and process architects to effectively utilize data from social channels as input for key processing scenarios, trigger for an alternate workflow or as exception process flow, or even as an initiator for critical process flows. Real time event correlation and predictive analysis scenarios using Complex Event Processing (CEP) can also effectively leverage this crowdsourced data.

Mindtree’s BPM practice is one of the early movers in effectively leveraging the synergies between BPM and social media for effective BPM life cycle offerings for our customers. Our BPM Center of Excellence uses it as an effective tool for collaborative process definition, discovery and analysis with all our customer SME’s. We also provide social BPM consulting services for effective leverage of social channels.

BPM technologies are already established as “change agents” for enterprise transformational journey. Social media adds another effective channel for adoption and navigation of core enterprise business processes. It opens wider possibilities of better customer experience, process flexibility and agility which are key for agile enterprises.

What’s your view on this? What are your experiences of social media leverage in BPM? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sajeev Nair

Sajeev is Practice Head for BPM & EAI in Mindtree. Having 17 + years of industry experience, Sajeev is a technical authority in the transformational technologies of BPM, SOA and CEP (complex event processing). He is a regular contributor in technical forums and speaker at SOA & BPM vendor events.

  • Vijay

    Interesting and happening topic in BPM world.
    As you rightly described “The key to success of BPM is communication” is absolutely THE TAGLINE. From my readings, Social-BPM is trying to address BPM leveraging Social Networking techniques, disciplines and contexts.
    Talking about Twitter, FB and other social networking channels have the ability to both define and execute more dynamic processes. For any business, Mobility and Social media brings the opportunity to make the business process independent from its location, a specific software application etc. to make the Business Process Management successful.
    Along with IBM BPM8.0 and Pega Smart BPM, Oracle (part of our practice expertise :-)) came up new life cycle steps in Oracle BPM Suite: Social Modeling–>Simulation & Analysis–>Integrate & deploy–>Collaborative Task Management–>Monitor & Improve which is trying to address a new route towards social media + BPM. Since beginning of 2012 I have seen two clients who are trying to adapt this in their own domains and with their own theory.
    A travel industry expert – They started of managing their dynamic business processes for “Passenger Travel Process” which has multiple sub process and steps through blue works (which is considered going social partially) to explore options on expanding business in multiple geographies collecting some paper based statistics.
    A Credit card & Payments expert – They were thinking of launching a new credit card targeted at college students, with special features and a pre-approved credit limit. To reach potential customers, came up with looking at the basic profile information of college students on Twitter as the first level of analysis followed by other rounds of segregation. In this scenario they can leverage BPM to trigger business processes to facilitate customer conversion, by initiating a social media marketing campaign which sends customized information about interested cards and other products. By adapting this approach such campaigns can be cheaper than traditional campaigns to establish and develop new credit card business. Obviously based on the stats of interest subsequent steps of business process can be orchestrated to acquire more customers.
    And other areas which can leverage Social BPM : An alternative channel for sales, Service request initiation (complaint / query/ feedback), new customer on-boarding, an executive approval, or a delayed invoice payment, Social media marketing campaigns – Business processes which use customer patterns and behaviors on social media platforms as an input to trigger right marketing campaigns can be very effective.