This is where I believe social can have one of the biggest impacts on BPM. I’ve heard the following phrase, or variations thereof, many times recently. “Social network platforms have become so ubiquitous in our personal life that people now expect them in their work life.” While there are undoubtedly great benefits to adding this capability to the work place I believe there is more to it than that.
Donald Norman’s seminal work ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ was written over two decades ago and explains in very simple terms how life is made overly complicated by poor design. He advances some very simple principles that help designers create products that are easy to use. Yet many software vendors, especially of the enterprise variety, continue to create products that require advanced knowledge in order to complete simple tasks. There is a multi-billion dollar software training industry that exists to close the gap between poor interface design and helping workers complete tasks.
Products like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are easy to use. Some are better than others; each is a variance on a conceptual model which is becoming culturally recognisable to a larger and larger proportion of society. So when software vendors start to bring this type of technology into their own products they cannot, or rather should not, make them more difficult to use than what people have become used to. A majority of BPM vendors, that have released social enabled platforms, have taken care to preserve those ideas of usability and in many cases even begun to improve the underlying product.
This is a positive and constructive improvement to the industry at large. It will improve adoption by the end user community and help acceptance of BPM as a whole.To be ‘social’ BPM must become more inclusive, to be inclusive it must be accessible and that means better usability than most workers have traditionally had to endure.