Social BPM is Dead, Long Live Social Case Management

I participated in an interesting debate on this week on the topic “has social BPM failed”.

First of all I don’t think social networking has any place within a Business Process Management (or Case Management) Suite (BPMS), the BPMS should integrate to best practice elsewhere. As I have said elsewhere on this blog I think social has its greatest opportunity within a Case Management and not a BPM context. Social BPM was always going to fail because BPM focuses on the needs of the business and not the knowledge worker. Social Case management is really where it’s at. Case Management after all is about empowering knowledge workers and giving them choices as to how they want to execute a case. Adding social capabilities to a Case Management platform empowers the knowledge worker to choose with whom, how and when they wish to collaborate.

Integration with a case management suite will allow organizations to extract value from their Enterprise Social Network (ESN) investment. Tools like Yammer, Chatter or Jive have limited value and will continue to struggle for adoption unless they are plugged into some actual work. Plugging social into knowledge worker based business processes helps people to establish and strengthen personal relationships, develop trust, reduce friction and accelerate the business processes in which people are engaged. Social integration has the potential to reconfigure the BPMS and Case Management suite for the post email world and the next generation of employees.

Enterprise social

Anyway looking at what some of the ESN vendors offer today I’ve had a bit of a brainstorming exercise and have come up with some features that could be delivered through the integration of the Case Management suite with an ESN platform. At a basic level all of these features are focused on enhancing knowledge worker productivity by delivering enhanced collaboration and support opportunities. Let me know what you think:

  • Enhanced collaboration and file sharing
  • Collaborative creation of content within a case
  • Automatic creation of temporary team workspaces or groups focused on a specific process or a specific case to facilitate the collaboration and sharing of ideas among co-workers
  • Runtime guidance from subject matter experts
  • Rapid access to shared content and content ranked on utilization by co-workers and teammates
  • Crowdsourcing or distributed problem solving
  • Social Stream and BPM work queue integration i.e. the Social work queue which many BPM platforms already offer today
  • Shared team folders and shared case management folders
  • Collaborative process design and continuous process improvement.
  • Leveraging social awareness to deliver automatic process routing based on availability

4 thoughts on “Social BPM is Dead, Long Live Social Case Management

    • I think social is difficult to define because it means different things to different users? For example my daughter uses social media in different ways to how I use it. Though at basic level I guess its about collaboration.

      The challenge is to understand how the post email generation like/want to work and to support this within the execuation of case management processes.

      • We really have reached a “post email stage”.

        I was shocked the other day to discover I had 330,000 e-mails across some 10 terabytes of hard disk space. I only discovered this after purchasing Lookeen (a professional email search software system) that indexes all of the content of each message and reports statistics on the virtual search space.

        Threading together messages is another matter and you are RIGHT that the solution lies in supporting work within the execution of Case. Nothing really new here of course, medical professionals for decades used “charts”, but software vendors did a terrible job of transitioning healthcare from paper to electronic.

        My focus in on “n-dimension computing” – “cases of cases”, if you like.

        I feel it has huge potential.

        See Adaptive “Case Management – the widening picture” at
        Civerex Systems Inc.

  1. Work as we know it today is a mix of structured and unstructured work.

    BPM is good at orchestrating structured work, ACM, is good accommodating unstructured work.

    We had three choices a) put ACM in BPM, b) put BPM in ACM or c) invent a new methodology.

    It turns out Case is capable of accommodating any mix of structured vs unstructured work. A good Case environment allows work to follow a sequence where it makes sense to do this, and allows ad hoc interventions.where in the minds of knowledge workers this makes sense.

    Social interaction becomes easy in a Case environment. Close collaborators can log into the ACM/BPMs. Casual collaborators can interact with Cases at portals.

    Case accommodates objectives,and periodic assessment of progress toward attaining objectives which really should be the focus of all work (structured and unstructured).

    Since Case allows building of a history, a parallel extract of data collected to a general purpose data exchanger allows exports to local and remote 3rd party systems. Running data in reverse allows a Case environment to import data from local and remote 3rd party systems.

    Once you have a framework for managing work,plus guidelines, guardrails and interoperability, there is not much more needed other than better ways and means of managing data across cases (“Big Data”).

    “Big Data” is best managed within knowledgebases that can accommodate free-form searches/decision support..

    See “How do you like to view your big data?” at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s