Is Social BPM A Methodology, A Technology, Or Just A Lot Of Hype?

Over the past three months, I've been heads down working on our upcoming "Forrester Wave™ For Human-Centric BPM Suites, Q3 2010" report.  I've also been on the road over the past five weeks attending and presenting at different BPM vendor conferences - gotta love Vegas!  I must admit I have barely had time to keep tabs on my different BPM tribes - blog sites, Twitter conversations, and LinkedIn discussions.  I've been checking in here and there around different camp fires and adding a little spark occasionally when something interesting caught my eye.  

But today, I ran across a simmering debate around social BPM on different blog sites, here and here.  Seems like this is fast becoming the hottest topic in BPM.  Guess I shouldn't be surprised since I helped drive the conversation around social BPM over the last year.  It's very good to see the conversation evolve and also good to see different perspectives on how social can help improve all aspects of BPM initiatives.

Earlier this month I delivered a presentation on social BPM at IBM's Impact 2010 event. This presentation provided the most up to date perspective on how we see customers using and applying social techniques and methodologies to BPM initiatives. During the session, we framed social BPM in the following way:

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Six Organizational Practices BPM Initiatives Should Implement

As you may know from my previous blog post, on Thursday last week I delivered the Forrester Teleconference titled Increasing the Maturity of Your BPM Center of Excellence. This blog post summarizes the organizational practices discussed during the teleconference for those of you who could not attend:

  1. Assess the enterprise's BT maturity level. Forrester has developed a business technology (BT) maturity self-assessment approach. I presented an example of how to use it in a recent blog post. Perform the assessment with key business stakeholders first -- the CEO, COO, CFO, BU leaders -- then go for IT. Visualize the existing business-IT alignment gap at your enterprise and develop an improvement plan focusing on organization, enabler processes, and behaviors.
  2. Develop unified BT demand management function. BPM initiatives emerge when and where business stakeholders need them. The pervasiveness of technology services allows these change agents to roll out process improvements with or without support from the IT department. But you will need a place where everything comes together to ensure that investments are synchronized and beneficial at the enterprise level. This business demand function must establish also the enterprise's governance, monitoring and control framework, and provide strategic directions for BT.
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How BPM COEs Increase The Business Technology Maturity Of Your Organization

I am including the text of a recent customer inquiry, which nicely summarizes a common challenge among IT executives:

“Within our current IT organization, we have a team whose function is to provide technical project business analyses, project management and quality assurance.  The same team handles the project portfolio and capital project budgeting.  Within the team are account managers, whose primary function is to act as the liaison between IT and business units.  The account managers spend time with the business unit leaders to understand their technical needs and look for business processes that might be automated.  That information is what is ultimately used to build the ongoing IT project portfolio.

We are looking at re-aligning the account management role into more of a "business technology service delivery" model.  Does Forrester provide information that might assist our efforts to mold into a service delivery organization?”

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