It’s always fun to speculate what the future holds for us.
While most of the industry are focusing on Mobile, Open Source, Dynamic BPM and SaaS – my attention is focused on one:
Enterprise Activity Streams
It’s just a matter of time before organisations will be purchasing Twitter-like software for their internal use,
and BPM will need to adapt to this new environment.
Walk around the office and peek at anyone’s computer screen.
What other applications are they currently running – Twitter? Facebook? Skype?
Users desire same level of innovation and functionality from their business applications as they get from their home applications.
It won’t take organisations long to cotton on to the potential.
Employees want to twitter between themselves? Let them..
It’s faster than email. Internal. Collaboration. No learning curve. Simple.
So where does BPM come in?
There has been a lot of talk about unstructured processes that BPM doesn’t deal with. Now we have an oppertunity to provide a solution for both structured and unstructured processes.
Once, you needed a signed piece of paper to confirm that something was approved. Nowadays, an email is enough to confirm.
The future: Approval “Tweets”.
Think about the common scenario of getting 3 team members to approval a request. It goes back and forth until they all agree. Yes, you can create a workflow for it, but it will be complex, with loops, exceptions and business rules. Delays between each email will make it a sluggish procedure.
An internal Twitter would enable quick back-and-forth chats until agreement. The added value of an internal-Twitter application would be that the chat is stored in the local database, enabling audit trails and reports. Quick, Slick, Smart.
What else will change (ok, just speculating here…)
Email will still be used, but less (as employees use more tweets – the number of emails will decline)
Records Management won’t be able to catch up to the new reality of content types enabled by social media and collaboration tools. Wikis, blogs, discussion threads, tags. BPM will have a chance to “move in on their territory”
ECM will need to adapt as well, or be left out of the game.
The biggest winner of this power balance change will probably be BI. (think of the amount of amount of information that can be cut n’diced from the Twitter internal database)
What’s in a Name
For the sake of simplicity, I’ve called it “Enterprise Activity Streams” but there are already names out there like : Social BPM, Enterprise social networking, Online real-time collaboration, Adaptive BPM, Enterprise Microblogging. They all have the same target and they all will be integrated into one naming convention as time goes by.
Is this just wishful thinking?
I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I would be putting my money on Enterprise Activity Streams as the next big thing in BPM.
It will not only change the way we build business processes – it will completely change the way we work.
After years of stifled creativity, the ground is beggining to move.
It is going to get exciting!