Gartner BPM Summit 2012: Leveraging Social Media for Business Process Transformation

Social media is pervasive and increasingly, an important communications channel. Anthony Bradley, Group Vice President in Gartner Research and author of The Social Organization, advocates that the real value of social media is massive collaboration. In his keynote at Gartner’s 2012 BPM Summit, the theme is combining social media and business process transformation to drive organization success.

Most people understand and agree that processes can be messy, hidden, chaotic, and unpredictable. Bradley asserts that some of the most important processes within an organization may not be structured and linear. So rather than trying to tame these ad hoc and unstructured processes, why not embrace and leverage social media, tap into the power of people to help discover, nurture, and improve business processes?


The idea of social process is to enable organizations with mass collaboration for performance transformation. According to Bradley, the six mass collaboration behaviors and opportunities for process improvements are:

  1. Collective intelligence: crowd-source to gather ideas for process improvement, innovation, and solution.
  2. Expertise location: identify knowledge experts and promote best practices from your people, which can be your employees, customers, partners, and prospects.
  3. Interest cultivation: bridge interests between participants so it’s a win-win for everyone involved in the social process.
  4. Relationship leverage: leverage the one-to-many massive reach and influence of social media, while maintaining an open channel for communication and collaboration.
  5. Flash coordination: include people and social process as part of the scalable sense and respond system in a peer-to-peer network structure that can detect events and take actions faster than with a top-down approach.
  6. Emergent structures: think outside of the traditional organizational structure and include other constituents to contribute to your process.

As the leader and innovator in Social BPM, Appian understands the importance of leveraging the power of the people and social media for process improvement and organizational success. The Appian Social BPM user interface, for example, extends visibility and participation of business processes across the enterprise. It combines real-time collaboration, filtered views of key business events, and direct action into a single intuitive interface. The social user interface is being used internally within Appian across all functions from technology, recruiting, professional services, sales, to marketing. New positions get posted so employees can refer candidates; sales opportunities and wins are announced to encourage insights and celebrate success; product questions get posted and answered within minutes.

Similarly, the Appian Forum for customers, partners, and employees foster a community that’s collaborative, dynamic, and valuable to members and their organizations. It’s a social technology platform that cultivates and nurtures mass collaboration behaviors by collecting intelligence within the community, allowing experts to emerge and contribute, meeting interests of members, leveraging relationships, allowing flash coordination to problem-solve, and providing a new structure to collaborate.

Bringing social media to the enterprise is still a fairly new concept that many organizations are just starting to understand, evaluate, and perhaps embrace. Adding the business process improvement layer to facilitate massive collaboration and to extract intelligence from social interactions will undoubtedly add to the complexity.

However, when it’s done right, it will add business value and drive organizational success as a key differentiator in this increasingly global and flat world. According to Bradley and other Gartner analysts, it’s also the future of how we work and collaborate across teams, geographies, and organizations. Read more about Social BPM at Appian and how our customers are incorporating social collaboration into their core processes for business transformation.

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing