What should I be doing and when? Where do my activities fit into the big picture? If I do a great job, who will know? What, exactly, are my goals? Business process management, done well, needs to answer these questions for everyone from the top to the bottom. Gone are the days when management was in the know and the worker just followed directions.

Rising expectations?

Our world is becoming more connected, more social and more collaborative every day, thanks mostly to what began in our non-work lives with Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. The expectations change this is driving in the workplace and around business process is profound, but how much is being done to address this? We’ve reached the point where an employee at any level can know what comes before and after their work, and connect that to the all of the supporting information, transactions, links, etc. While we have the technology, however, the conventional methods of technical architecture tools or ‘Visio plus SharePoint’ still dominate the landscape and lock out most of the very crowd we need to reach, the end users of process.

Already happening

My aerospace customer is looking to change that. With a system that delivers all of the process, knowledge, metrics, compliance, and training information to the employee, at the center. Their people will be able to vote content up or down and let information custodians know the relevance of the information being shared across the enterprise. They’ll know how their own work fits into the organizational structure and how personal metrics flow up to divisions, programs and ultimately, to executive scoreboards. They’ve come to the conclusion that a true architecture brings together all of the things the INDIVIDUALS in the enterprise need to set and meet goals. They are teaching me far more than I am enabling for them.

The coming wave

There is a change afoot…and BPM in the future will support the goals of individuals and organizations. This isn’t mainstream just yet, but awareness is growing quickly, as evidenced by Gartner’s Jim Sinur in Goal Driven Processes: The Future Target of BPM. He makes great points about goals driven by outcome–through connecting process activity and corporate performance, goals driven by policies/rules–by changing behavior as policies and rules change (auto-tuning), and goals driven by constraints as collaboration and unstructured process requires boundaries.

My takeaway from these three points…goal-driven BPM is a building wave. When a wave comes we can ride it, or we can wait for it to wash us up on the beach.