Social Apps, Business Processes …

I had written earlier about social enterprise apps, where i had takled about how the interactions of people with business processes are a very important part of knowledge creation, this being an important reason for why enterprise apps need to facilitate connections between people who complement each other with knowledge requirement and availability. Taking up from there, one would need to look at how this could be done.

To begin with, enterprise apps need to recognize that these connections as it is exist. You would be working with so many people, out of whome, with some you interact more frequently than with others, because of the nature of work. This is something which could be leveraged to enable creation of connections within the organization. A production manager, for example, must interact quite frequently with the inventory managers, and the software developer must interact more frequently with others working on the same technology, and with others from the same vertical (in addition to the pantry folks, for when the coffee machine goes kaput), or the sales folks need to interact more frequently with the dispatch folks to make sure material or services are delivered on time to customers.

This is not to say that knowledge flows in organizations can be straitjacketed along business processes, but there is a higher probability of people collaborating on a business process interacting with each other, and needing inputs from each other on a regular basis. Once this is understood, an app could help to surface connections between positions, in addition to the social networks that people develop among themselves. What this means is that the Shift Incharge has a higher probability of building a connect with the Stores Manager, and this could be facilitated by the apps.

While this does look like an appendix to the workflow management system which the apps would already have in place, this is bringing in a perspective to workflow management which is people-centric rather than being purely process-centric. Somewhere between the people and process centric approach? Or am i leaning too much towards the process aspect?

4 Comments on “Social Apps, Business Processes …”

  1. Interesting take on knowledge creation. I would say that there is a lot more to this, for example see our blog, “Knowledge, best enjoyed socially” and “Getting KM right! 4 functions and 12 constructs”

    I see where you are going with technology as an enabler, something that we agree with. However, it is the reliance on technology as a ‘first stop’ solution that concerns me; for example, see “For KM’s sake, get the people factor right!”

    Thank you for posting this though and it will be interesting to see other people’s opinions.



    • thoughtsandme2004 says:

      Agree with you, David, about knowledge-sharing being a social process, and that the people aspect of KM needs to be done properly to begin with. One aspect of this is that KM shouldnt be something people need to do separately, which means that knowledge sharing and knowledge access should be a part of the transactions people do, and to that extent, enterprise apps (ERP, for example) need to have a social aspect to them which can integrate knowledge sharing with transaction processing.

      Would you think that this is something ERP’s should be looking at?

  2. For me it is initially about the knowledge mapping process – identify who knows what (know-who…HR directory that maps searchable terms of know-what); basically link people to the knowledge and start to find out how big the knowledge footprint is —- this also enables knowledge retention and allows you to start succession planning/planning for outsourcing/downsizing/rightsizing/skill loss due to an aging workforce. From there we can start to talk about the right app to get people connected – that said, there are plenty of tools available to enable this already…what we really need is the knowledge mapping intelligence.

    Hope that makes sense… DG

    • thoughtsandme2004 says:

      Agree, David. Here, what I am suggesting is, that a default set of connections are required based on the role someone is playing in the business process. For example, a Production Manager needs to know the Stores folks on a first-name basis, that’s required for their work. From this, some connections can be derived, the rest coming from people themselves. In a sense, I think we are saying the same thing, though I am looking at it from a process perspective.

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