Posted by: Adam Deane | 14/05/2010

Social BPM: Vendor Insight

Neil Ward-Dutton MWDI was reading Neil’s latest technology vendor capabilty camparison (MWD Advisors April 2010).

Although the research includes assessments of BPM technology offerings from different vendors, what caught my eye was that his research found that the BPM vendors were adding social software features into their roadmap.

I know there has been talk about these features, but I haven’t actually seen real use of them yet (but this could be my lack of visibility of other vendor solutions)

In his analysis, he found many BPM technology vendors roadmaps included:

  • Social software features
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery
  • Support for dynamic process behaviour

Neil believes that BPM technology tools must support these 6 principles:

  • Business has to be able to take the driving seat
  • BPM has to be measurable and justifiable
  • BPM needs to support transformation decision-making
  • BPM technology has to be ‘part of the furniture’
  • BPM success needs platforms, not one-off technologies
  • Supporting and managing change has to be central

His summary of the BPM market:

  • Following strong growth in 2009 BPM continues to be a hot topic in 2010, fuelled by the need to increase business efficiency and decrease time-to-market for business products and services
  • Diverse supplier backgrounds create a confusing technology landscape
  • In our functionality dimension, scoring is fairly even but pure-play vendors have the edge
  • In our scenarios dimension, the field is levelling out
  • In our ownership dimension, organically-grown suites are still the winners – though the gap is narrowing

The concept of Social BPM and social software features has been discussed in many of the blogs that I’ve read lately. But is it hype or are there actual implementations of these features already at customer sites?


  1. Given that ‘real’ Social BPM tools (ie, not existing tools with bolt-on chat features) are only out of the starting blocks and mostly in Beta stage you’ll be hard-pressed to find an actual implementation.

    The likes of ARISAlign, BlueWorks, Salesforce Chatter and even SAP Gravity are very young in inception. Others such as Ekuar are moving forwards with Cloud implementations and collaborative features but again the social aspect is very much in its infancy.

    Where you would possibly have greater buy-in for this type of BPM is within an organisation which has already implemented an enterprise social network and seen the benefits, it’s a much easier proposition to sell to those who understand collaboration and what it can do.

    Those waiting in the wings are always going to watch until the first person makes the jump….I think they all want to do it but it is a leap of faith right now.

    I believe in the wake of ‘social’ Neil will have to modify his 6 principles of BPM soon.

    As for hype ?
    Not a chance.

    • Hi Theo,
      Thanks for the excellent response. Much appreciated.
      I’ve seen Salesforce Chatter in action, but I’ll need to look up ARISAlign, BlueWorks, SAP Gravity and Ekuar

      My worry is that companies that require BPM solutions are usually old fashioned, bureaucratic and are usually in a muddle.
      Companies that have implemented social software are modern, open minded & motivated companies.
      It might be me being not open-minded enough, or lacking vision, but I’m having a hard time seeing these kind of strategies mix, although I do agree that there would be greater buy-in for this type of BPM is within an organisation which has already implemented an enterprise social network and seen the benefits.


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