Social ACM

By Joe Shepley posted 04-29-2011 08:11


We talk about Enterprise 2.0 as if it were some kind of separate thing, a standalone discipline we could embrace and all our old fashioned E1.0 pursuits would fall away like scales from our eyes, giving way in one fell swoop to a whole new way of doing business.

Of course, in reality, E2.0 is a good bit messier. It isn’t a whole cloth, Greenfield pursuit. It’s done in medias res, in the thick of doing business and keeping the lights on, mixed and jumbled with our ongoing E1.0 pursuits.

To that end, in the next few posts I want to take a more hard-nosed, realistic look at how E2.0 will impact organizations, not from the ivory tower perspective of a fresh start, whole cloth implementation, but from a attach-the-wheels-while-you’re-landing viewpoint—which is where most folks are with E2.0.

In  that spirit, I’m going to look at E2.0 from the other way around, from the point of view of existing domains/functions and how E2.0 might catalyze change in them rather than from a best practices, formally perfect E2.0 perspective that assumes that these disciplines have to keep up with the E2.0 wave.

I plan to look at a wide range of enterprise domains, but wanted to start with a hot topic: advanced (or adaptive) case management (ACM).

Hurry up and wait

I’ll admit that, although I have good experience with BPM, I’m an ACM newbie. For those of you who’ve been following my forays into ACM I’ve published elsewhere, you know that, while I definitely feel that ACM is a legitimate domain in its own right, I don’t think that technology has quite caught up to it. That is, we’ve got a domain with requirements, contours, and shape, but don’t yet have the proven technology to fully support/enable it. It’s certainly been available in pockets and to address very specific applications, but as an enterprise platform to address ACM generally at organizations, we’re just not there (or at least I haven’t seen it in my travels).

And while vendors plug away at trying to solve the ACM conundrum from the BPM angle, I think the solution, or at least the near-term solution, might come from a completely different direction…

You don’t hear a lot about E2.0 and social media (SM) in the context of ACM, I think that E2.0, SM, and other enterprise social computing capabilities may be the catalyst that makes it possible for technology to support/enable ACM effectively, cost-effectively, consistently, and for the masses.

Think about it, one of the pillars of ACM, along with things like run-time variability, end-user manipulation of the process, and the use of process templates, is the ability to draw relevant information from all over the enterprise and make it accessible during a process.

Sure, we could lean on business intelligence or enterprise data warehouse to do this, but neither of these is a particularly agile enterprise capability (those of you who’ve been involved in an enterprise report project know what I’m talking about). A far better candidate, to my mind, is the emerging discipline of enterprise collaboration/social computing. Its mission is to bring together people, information, and content in ways that would seem to be tailor made for the business requirements ACM demands.

A different emphasis

Could more traditional approaches to ACM, born out of deep experience in BPM, also get us to the same place that E2.0 tools and techniques would? Sure, eventually. But it seems strange to put all our eggs in that basket when we have a whole class of tools that seem (to me at least) fit for purpose to enable the information and collaboration demands of ACM.

Which begs the question, if we use E.20 and SM tools/capabilities to enable ACM, are we really talking about social BPM? Or maybe, instead of BPM for knowledge workers, maybe social BPM is what ACM is really all about?

The final word

As usual, these are my ramblings, gathered up after too much time in the airport system, congealed in the car ride home, speeding off to a weekend of rest before doing it all over again. But I think there’s some grain of truth here—what do you think?

I know there’s folks out there who feel strongly about ACM, BPM, SM, and E2.0…so jump in and keep me honest, call me into question, and heckle mercilessly—I’ll be glad to spar with the best of them. I’m already cooking up the net post in the series, but in the meantime, jump in, and let’s get the conversation started!

#adaptivecasemanagement #BusinessProcessManagement #advancedcasemanagement #acm #e2.0 #BPM