Why 2010 will be the year for Communication, Collaboration and Community for BPM

There’s been a fair bit of chatter about the changing landscape in Business Process Management, a lot to do with the main game players merging in recent weeks but certainly not exclusive to this alone. There has also been mention in some of the recent interviews I’ve conducted of education, community, collaboration, unconferences and there was an effort to pull together the disparate ‘clans’ under the BPM Nexus banner for a common purpose last year. However, perhaps more so now than ever, this need to be looked at and reimagined as a concept.

I had a conversation with a large vendor who was quite open about creating a large community for process professionals which was vendor and analyst agnostic. The whole purpose was to learn from each other, address issues in a collaborative forum and communicate it to the wider populace. He mentioned that some vendors would be concerned about potential negative comments being made about their products but he saw this as a positive aspect since it presents a unique opportunity to listen to user community opinion and fix the problem openly. Given the transparency surely this would only be a plus in terms of company image ?

Obviously the biggest hurdle is allowing control to be relaxed and letting the people decide how best to evolve the format. It no longer needs a committee to rule the roost either. If someone wants to create a discussion topic to talk about a specific subject let them, there’s no need to request Admin intervention or canvas for opinion. As long as it’s held in the one place for everyone to interact with then where is the harm ?

Let’s examine the current state of the BPM ‘community’. Currently LinkedIn is awash with Groups on process improvement and BPM. If there is ‘healthy’ debate it’s more often than not at the expense of another faction with the usual ‘death of….’ topic to create a bit of stir and emotive response but rarely do discussions achieve anything, conclusions are not derived or communicated outwardly. If you’re not a member of LinkedIn or a particular Group you cannot participate or learn from what is happening. I’ve seen plenty of Twitter messages about ‘excellent discussion taking place in XYZ Group on LinkedIn’ with a URL link which leads nowhere because you’re not registered. Obviously gatekeeping has its uses in keeping out the trolls and flamersin forums , but a modicum of active moderation keeps them out and they’ll soon get bored anyway.

I had to laugh earlier in the week receiving an invite to join the BPM Institute’s “Social Network” and its description of a gated community. I think that speaks for itself really. Many other ‘organisations’ are trying the same but the result is a far cry from something groundbreaking because there is no ambition to take it anywhere constructive for everyone.

In terms of communication if we continue to follow the same patterns as stated above then the message is stunted. It goes no further than those who can access it. From real open communication follows education which Chris spoke of in his interview. Every discussion has merit so why not let everyone participate and learn from it ?

So what of collaboration, communication and community for BPM ?

At the moment it’s all talk and buzzwords right now which are befitting of BPM brochureware but all it takes is for someone to step off the fence and add their voice.

This isn’t a soap box rant, it’s a war cry. It’s time to gather the clans.

If we want open collaboration then we all have to openly communicate together, and in turn become an open community to better the industry.

So will you just pass through this blog after reading or do you want to talk about it ?


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