Social BPM and HIMS and Routine Clerical Work

  • February 17, 2011
  • Scott

Keith Harrison-Broninski compared Social BPM and HIMS in an ebizQ article recently.  Actually it was more of a product comparison between Blueworks Live and  HumanEdj.

HIMS is Keith’s acronym for “Human Interaction Management System”.  I’ve not heard it used outside the context of Keith’s blog, and references to his talks and blog and product.

Perhaps my favorite part of the article is that he goes back to the tired complaint of the ACM crowd against BPM:

I’ll take it as read that the functionality described above applies well to low-level, routine clerical work.

Ah yes- that low-level, routine clerical work.

The target of a product like BlueworksLive is not the routine work, but rather the somewhat non-routine work that isn’t overly complicated to describe as a task list or check list.  It looks like Keith has confused the modeling functionality with the execution functionality (the modeling functionality comes with the templates he describes… but the process execution is all around simple ad-hoc efforts, no modeling required or allowed, really).

The main criticism of BlueworksLive, as an example of “Social BPM” is that it looks like a toy, compared to the mature HumanEdj offering.  It is a fair criticism, but I’d point him to Chris Dixon’s blog post on the subject of “toys” :

The reason big new things sneak by incumbents is that the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.”  This is one of the main insights of Clay Christensen’s “disruptive technology” theory. This theory starts with the observation that technologies tend to get better at a faster rate than users’ needs increase. From this simple insight follows all kinds of interesting conclusions about how markets and products change over time.

Chris Dixon was referring to startups but I think the idea applies equally well to lots of new ideas.  As dismissive as I’ve been of some of the “new naming” around the BPM space, I’m not dismissive of the value that the new ideas can bring (I just abhor the bandwagon acronym effect…).  Social BPM isn’t a great name to capture what is being added to BPM by social networking features.  But it doesn’t mean that these ideas, in the BPM space, won’t take root and create value despite unfortunate names…

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