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Social media can play a role in Business process management

(Posted on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:45PM )
Today, organizations need to be able to execute at the pace of global change. Those that adapt to trends before their competitors can create a defensible advantage. But firms may not be able to do this unless they have access

to real-time market data and can rapidly align their organizations to the new priorities. Too often, legacy processes prevent companies from having that agility.

Fortunately, social media offers firms a chance to strengthen the communications supporting process improvement. Leading organizations are already using the power of social media to shape their business process management, or BPM, agendas.

Although the use of social media in BPM may still be in its infancy, its potential for increasing the agility of business processes is immense.

Social tools can make the ‘’process of process management’’ much more nimble by delivering information about needed improvements.

If, for example, there is a quality issue in goods received, immediate online communication between customer and supplier can help the parties address the problem and improve the process.

Social media can also be an excellent tool for bridging the gap between external networking and internal integration.

 For example, an organization’s information technology department can use social media to communicate with the engineering division as it works on new products, often creating a tighter feedback loop between the two departments than existed previously.

Transparency has long been an ingredient of the success of process-driven organizations.

Social media can make transparency easier, gathering and disseminating the feedback that improves existing processes and creates new ones.

Companies can use community-building software or blogs to solicit input from stakeholders in order to gather information that can be used to improve internal- or external-facing processes.

This use of digital channels can become part of the process of process management.

Our research, published in last year’s “Value-Driven Business Process Management,” indicates that fewer than 20 percent of processes truly differentiate a company in the eyes of its customers.

Social BPM can identify and validate those processes that really make a difference.

Those that don’t should be candidates for standardization and automation.

Organizations that embrace social BPM will become more agile, improving their ability to deal with volatility and leaving competitors struggling to evolve.

(Mark Pearson is the managing director of the Operations consulting group at Accenture.)

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