Social Business Forum 2011: Keith Swenson keynote speech on the Quantum Enterprise

Keith Swenson keynote speech at the Social Business Forum2011 on the Quantum Enterprise

Today I attended the Social Business Forum 2011 in Milan. It was a great event, with a huge line of speakers and events. The audience was huge (1200+ people I think), so big praise to Open Knowledge for the organization.
If you want to grasp the level of social interaction, just look on twitter to the #sbf11 tweetflow. You could barely follow it in realtime.
I have no time to go through the entire stack of sessions, but I wish at least to report here on the keynote speeches at the Social Business Forum. Great speeches from Dell, Oracle, and Fujitsu VPs actually.
Among the many things going on, the Social BPM book was launched at the event, sponsored by WebRatio and the event itself (during Keith Swenson speech at the end of the day). That’s why I’m focusing especially on Keith’s speech. Some hints on the other speeches are reported too.
Keith Swenson speech (Fujitsu): the Quantum Enterprise

The discussion basically start from this simple question: Why do we think that we should have simple processes?
Chaos and turbulence are there, both at the macroscopic physical level (thus challenging the Newtonian thinking) and at the atomic level (Quantum thinking). Why shouldn’t they be there within an organization made up of complex human beings interacting?
Repeatability and mass production at the office place work well until you stay at the level of routine work. However, this level is being more and more automated and thus eliminated. We have now a much larger percentage of work which can be defined “knowledge work”.
What distinguishes a knowledge worker is the way to apply their knowledge by figuring out what they need to do based on the intelligence and knowledge. This spans from university professors, to paramedics, rescue and firefighting crews, police detectives, judges, and so on. They follow up clues and they have no way of predicting and modeling in advance what to do.
The thing is: 40% of workers today are knowledge workers and this percentage is going to increase.
While a good model for the enterprise for routine workers is a machine, a good model for knowledge workers is an ecosystem, ie. a place with several parts that are self-organizing and self-regenerating.
Thus, the paradigm is moving from a Newtonian model (external observability, smoothness, simple rules, predictability) towards a Quantum model (limited precision, turbulence, relationship-based, unpredictability).
This also implies a move from push to pull models in the organization. The push model assumes centralized choices, passive consumers. The pull model instead bases on loosely coupled and modular systems.
So, enterprises should be careful of not to oversimplify. The value today must be on promoting the culture of sharing knowledge and decentralizing.
We are on the verge of this change, and enterprises must be able to master this transition. Here is the link to Keith’s presentation:

Bill Johnston speech (Dell): Paving the Way to Social Business

On this, you can directly look at the slides that the author put on SlideShare:

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A Model-driven Approach to Social BPM Applications

Together with Piero Fraternali and Carmen Vaca Ruiz I’ve recently written a chapter published within the Social BPM Handbook.

The book is published by Future Strategies in association with the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) in the BPM and Workflow Handbook Series and will be launched at Social Business Forum 2011 on June 8, 2011 in Milan, Italy (if you want to meet us, we will be there). The book will be on display also in the WebRatio booth at BPM Europe in London, from June 8 to June 10 (WebRatio is sponsoring the event).
The details on the book are available online, including the complete Introduction containing full Table of Contents and Abstracts of each chapter. The book is a valuable resource in the field and gathers the contributions of several experts including Clay Richardson, Keith Swenson, Nathaniel Palmer, Sandy Kemsley, Max J. Pucher (see the post on his chapter), Keith Harrison-Broninski, and many others (most of them are also listed in my Prominent BPM Bloggers post).

The title of our chapter is: A Model-driven Approach to Social BPM Applications.
It addresses the design and development of BPM solutions that encompass communication with social tools, open-ended communities of performers, and allocation and execution of tasks to actors not known at process design time, through interactions with social network platforms. The core of the proposed approach is threefold:
  • At the methodological level, providing a framework for understanding the ways to incorporate social interactions in business processes.
  • At the notational level, verifying the capacity of a mainstream process modeling language (BPMN 2.0) to express social interactions and cover Social BPM requirements.
  • At the technical level, exploiting model-driven software engineering techniques to produce applications enacting the social process directly from the (extended) BPMN process schema.
The main contributions of the chapter can be summarized as follows:
  • A classification of Social BPM adoption levels.
  • An extension of BPMN enabling social activities, events and conditional process flows.
  • An extension of the WebML (Web Modeling Language) for expressing Web applications interacting with social platforms, through abstract operations represented as components and design patterns.
  • A technical framework for generating Social BPM applications directly from specifications encoded in the social extension of BPMN 2.0, based on model transformations and on a runtime architecture integrating business process execution and social task enactment, implemented in a commercial tool suite called WebRatio BPM.

    If you want to know more, you can contact me or buy the book directly online. To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).