uEngine.org White paperProcessCodi: A Social BPM or more.JaeHoon Lee, Ph. D.Principal research engineer, uEngineSolutions20 March 2011BPM Crisis – Will the traditional BPM still beneficial to modern organizations?Ever since Hammer (1992) insisted the importance of business processes１, BPM has become one of the famousmethods for enterprise management and improvement. BPM allowed companies to standardize their businessprocesses, automate tasks by IT systems, and monitor the critical business activities in real time. It is obviousthat the key to success to BPM is its systematic approach to define, execute, control, and evaluate businessprocesses. This approach is especially powerful when to adapt to the traditional companies which havehierarchical organizations, standardized job description, and division of labor. On the other hands, modernenterprises become more agile, knowledge-based, and flexible structured. So a question arises; is the traditionalBPM still beneficial to recent organizations? <Figure 1> Smart workers’ workflow in a knowledge based companyThe new type of organization; knowledge-based companies are different or in opposition to the traditional one in１ M. Hammer, and J. A. Champy, Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, HarperBusiness Books, New York, 1993.
various aspects. First of all, traditional BPM is based on “plan and control” strategy, which makes involvedworkers passive and stressful by continuous monitoring, feedback, and reminding. On the contrary, knowledge-based companies control their workers as less as possible so that they can concentrate on their tasks perfectly. Inaddition, traditional BPM makes a certain boundaries of authorities and responsibilities. Whereas knowledge-based companies are sometimes very unclear of organizational boundaries and even they are indistinctivebetween a company and its outside area.Figure 1 depicts a simple example of the problem stated. In a knowledge-based company, smart workers –mostly the key resources of an organization – do not only act within the boundary of a company. They learnmuch from the outside, communicate with experts, and make decisions in anytime / anywhere based on mobiledevices. Figure 1 clearly shows that there exist two separated areas of business concerns; 1) a company whichhas hierarchical organizations, standardized and regulated business processes, and centralized systems, and 2)the outside the company, where non-business activities, experts, social networks, and atypical resources exist.Interestingly, knowledge-based workflow needs to cross the two areas. However, the boundary in the middleappears that it will disturb both the business processes and knowledge flow of smart workers. The boundary canappear in either engineering perspective or business perspective.What is social BPM and what is different?Social BPM is a new trend of BPM and already has been introduced by the leading BPM vendors. According toClay in Forrester, social BPM refers to processes developed and improved through the use of social technologiesand techniques２. We are already familiar with social tools of Web 2.0 such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, andothers. More practically, IBM emphasizes two features of social BPM; community dynamics andcollaborations３.Is social BPM merely an integration of BPM and social networks? It may be a simple issue in engineeringperspective but a complicated matter in management perspective. BPM is based on the idea that a businessprocess is an object to be clearly defined, measured, controlled, and standardized. However, the concept ofsocial networks is somewhat opposed to the traditional one. Social networks are characterized by unstructuredknowledge flow, informal activities, and independency on organizational regulations. Thus, social BPM has topossess both the S/W functionalities of integrating social networks into a business systems and the culturalenvironment which motivates collaboration and voluntary participation.ProcessCodi: Social BPM or more.uEngine.org – one of the famous open-source BPM vendors is planning to launch a new social BPM;ProcessCodi. It inherits our strengths; open source based flexible architecture and customization, and activecommunity with world-wide developer participants. uEngine users and developers already have accustomed tothe collaborative and open business environment. In addition to that, ProcessCodi reinforced the concept of Web2.0 and mobile interfaces.Figure 2 shows that ProcessCodi enables to interact with the two main social resources. Through ProcessCodi,business process performers in the company can use the Web 2.0 tools in an integrated environment. On top ofthat, they can also communicate with the relevant people with the tasks such as domain experts, expert groups,and potential clients to get supports, collaborate, and understand the atmosphere around the company.２ Clay Richardson, Is Social BPM A Methodology, A Technology, Or Just A Lot Of Hype?, Forrester blogs,http://blogs.forrester.com/clay_richardson３ Wilfred C. Jamison, BPM Voices: Get social with IBM and BPM, IBM developer works, 2010.
Ultimately ProcessCodi enables to orchestrate the heterogeneous cultures; the controlled business processes andthe knowledge-based innovative business processes. <Figure 2> ProcessCodi as a gateway to social tools and people in networks <Figure 3> ProcessCodi a) and ProcessTouch b)ProcessCodi has new features of user interface in both Web and mobile environment. Customized UXsaccording to user’s preference are provided. Figure 3 a) shows the main portal which consists of four main areaof 1) business category, 2) social network, 3) relevant process instances, and 4) contents based on the user-friendly UX. During a user’s activity, these elements will show up to support him/her whenever necessaryautomatically and dynamically. <Figure 4> ProcessCodi; AS-IS vs. TO-BE.
Moreover, ProcessCodi provides a mobile based BPM tool; ProcessTouch (Figure 3. b). It plays a role of isoffline process trigger and makes up the weak points of BPM which is rarely applicable to offline businessactivities. ProcessTouch enables process participants to start and connect to the processes without restriction oftime and physical locations.What will the new social BPM bring to organizations? There are many superficial aspects of social BPM aslisted in Figure 4 such as self-motivations, collective intelligence, extension of BPM to the off-line businessactivities, or new compensation system based on social activity. However, the ultimate goal of ProcessCodi willbe to design and implementation of smart-working cultures into an organization. It maximizes the performanceof workers, raises job satisfaction, and gain the competency of a knowledge-based company.About the authorJaeHoon Lee, Ph.D.Dr. JH Lee has spent almost five years in the area of BPM in both theory and application. He has therecords of academic research papers for BPM in various industries such as medical, qualityengineering, and applied statistics. Recently, Dr. Lee has been working with uEngine.org, which isone of the world famous open-source BPM projects.