A question recently asked on eBizQ’s BPM Forum. According to the analysts, Social BPM is new. Certainly the terminology is new, but are the concepts behind it?

In Gartner‘s recent BPM Hype Cycle, SocialBPM is near the bottom starting the climb to the Peak of Inflated Expectations.

But I believe that “the future is already here – it is just unevenly distributed”. By that I mean I can point at 100′s of clients who are routinely engaging their end users to drive business process improvement. Are they using Twitter, LinkedIn or GoogleGroups. No – but they are using these style capabilities embedded within their BPM applications, optimised for driving sustainable, auditable change.

That is why it is easy to get cynical about analysts getting all frothy and excited when a BPM vendor, possibly late to the party, launches their “BPM V6 with added SocialBPM zest” product.

But does that mean companies can sit on their laurels and say “We were doing this since R1.0″. Clearly not. Embracing what is best from the current crop of Social Networking tools can make their products stronger at engaging end users. Because that is what is at the heart of Social BPM.

An end to end process must accurately represent what end users do on the ground, and have the mechanisms to allow them to suggest changes which are rapidly incorporated. At the same time as tracking an auditable change cycle for compliance.

Put mathematically : R = I x A x A > results = initiative x adoption (squared).

Without end user adoption, what is documented and what is actually done will rapidly diverge. And then, even if the processes are in the newest SocialBPM tool it is simply ‘Lipstick on a pig”.