Twitter and BPM (notes from Paul Mathieson’s lecture at QUT)

Last week we had a lecture from Paul Mathieson who is doing his PHD on social media and BPM. He started with a definition of BPM:

The “goal of BPM is to create a process-centric, customer focused
organisation that integrates management, people, process and technology for both operational and strategic improvement”  (Goeke & Antonucci 2011).

People everywhere are using social networks to gain value through collaboration. Organisations need to be able to also get value by collaborating through social media. In fact, social media is the ideal way to get inputs into business process management. How better to get a customer focused organisation that through business process management that gathers value from the wisdom of the crowds.

An example is KLM’s “Meet and Seat” via Linked In where passengers can view other passenters’ Facebook or LinkedIn profile details and see where they’ll be sitting. There is intrinsic value to the passenger; for a traveller from a large corporate they may find they can sit next to colleagues, and for a leisure traveller they may find they can sit next to someone with similar interests, and for the more anti-social traveller they may choose to sit next to someone who doesn’t speak the same language!

While this process is delivering value to the customer it’s also delivering valuable information to the organisation. By signing up to this facility, you are providing KLM with your information that is available through these social networks, that is your personal details as well as your network. Imagine the power of a message delivered from a personal friend as opposed to a message delivered from KLM.

For me, listening to Paul’s lecture it made me think more deeply about the business processes that can be enabled through social media. This isn’t about putting lipstick on a pig, that is, dressing up old ways of engaging with customers using web 2.0 applications. I know I’ve filled in contact webforms on organisation web pages and can see that this is less effective than a phone call enquiry, this is not quite the compelling shift to a new paradigm.

What is striking about the examples Paul used is that these are key business processes that are built within social networking platforms. While these are customer facing processes, there are enterprise 2.0 applications available that suggests to me that there is huge opportunities to improve internal processes by using the same principles.

Twitter screenshot following 3 processes

There are further examples of tweeting process models. Personally I love the idea of following the security checkin at the airport just before flying – I could spend even less time hanging around departure gates!

Another example is companies monitoring all tweets addressed to a twitter address has an automated system that searches through older service requests for similar records. This allows a customer service agent to quickly reply back with the necessary links and information.

Did anyone else attending pick up on other parts of Pauls talk?


5 thoughts on “Twitter and BPM (notes from Paul Mathieson’s lecture at QUT)

  1. I had a v mixed reaction to Paul’s talk. I thought the idea of knowlng who’s sitting where on the plane when you make your booking was great (with 4 kids everyone would avoid us lol). I found the video of KLM staff giving gifts to passengers who had tweeted at the airport excruciating – like spam in person. Especially the old lady. Giving elderly and disabled people more leg room should be standard not a gift.

    I’m not seeing Twitter-type messaging as a radical leap forward technically – more an incremental improvement on instant messaging, & like all the web 2.0 technologies it’s up to companies/consultants to find innovative ways of using it & opening up to customers. I think the uptake of social BPM would depend on it being a competitive advantage.

  2. That’s a good point, it’s not a big change technically but it makes me wonder if it’s a huge change culturally for organisations. It’s interesting KLM is so active with the in-person spam 🙂 and the ability to see who else is on your flight: they’re active across multiple areas suggesting the organisation as a whole is seeing value in social BPM.

  3. What a great sum up of Pauls talk, Amanda! I believe you have been able to forward some of his most important points, and it’s truly interesting to hear and read about. It’s quite fascinating all the possibilities that evolve from the development in computer attitude and technology. It makes me also wonder how it will end up. With all these great ideas, leading to efficiency bit by bit, how will it look like when suddenly we have thousands of different tools, that has been developed independently and might not interact. Sounds messy to me. What do you think?

    • It’s an interesting question. I’m not sure what I think – it may be that mashups take away the messiness right now … or maybe this is a disruptive stage of new technology and at a later stage there may be dominant players or technologies. The next generation of users may look at our use of facebook and google+ and myspace as a minor footnote in technological history the way we think about the decisions people had to make between OS/2 and windows.

      • I think you might be right about the mashups “making it cleaner” right now at least in some areas, but the ocean of different mashups out there, brings a little mess themselves. I wonder if anyone or a company will see the potential later for a one-stop site where you can access it all. Like a google, but just for neat web tools.
        I think the web 2.0 is a short stop before we go into the semantic web where the sites starts to not only bring you service, but data and all you need. It’s a bit crazy all this automation, but it is all so seamlessly integrated and introduced, so we don’t really see it all happening. I think as you do, that facebook is only a small step on the way. Can’t you see the education system moving into virtual classes as the most natural thing in the world? I think we’ll heading there..

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