Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Metastorm seeks to accelerate the strategic socialization of the enterprise for process improvement

Metastorm, the business process management (BPM) software provider that recently released two cloud-based business collaboration products, is betting on what it calls the "socialization of the enterprise."

We're seeing more social media techniques and approaches entering the enterprise, from Saleforce.com's Chatter to the forthcoming beta of HP's 48Upper. The trend is undeniable. A recent Trend Micro survey reveals social media use in the workplace has risen from 19 percent to 24 percent in the last two years.

Strategies to resist the socialization of the enterprise may be futile. So Metastorm is suggesting enterprises embrace it, using tools that foster rather than squash social productivity in the workplace.

Knowing that these technologies exist, there is this effort to figure out how to adapt this for a distributed business environment to increase the productivity and effectiveness of employees.



Part of that process is moving away from standalone products like Yammer and Socialtext and integrating social capabilities, profiles and collaboration with a richer enterprise experience, according to Laura Mooney, vice president of corporate communications at Metastorm, maker of Smart Business Workspace, a rich internet application that aims to empower knowledge workers to become more engaged and productive.

BriefingsDirect caught up with Mooney to discuss the issues around social enterprises.

BriefingsDirect: What’s your perspective on the business trend toward social enterprises?

Mooney: Companies don’t necessarily want to move away from stand-alone tools, but stand-alone tools are not necessarily well-integrated into the day-to-day operations and activities that employees are engaged in from a decision-making perspective.

As people got used to the instant ability to collaborate in their social life with using social networking capabilities, we discovered they wanted that same experience in the office environment in a way that would add business value. By tying social capabilities into the BPM foundation their work is already running on, employees can initiate that collaboration where it makes sense.

Metastorm focus on helping organizations, the people within the company, map out their strategy, understand the way different components of their business inter-operate and overlap, and then automate and execute business processes and try to improve these business processes on a day-to-day basis.

BriefingsDirect: Do tools like Facebook have a place in the enterprise from a productivity perspective?

Mooney: At work, Facebook is really not applicable to what I’m doing. But within this business process modeling tool, I have the ability to invite people that I can see online to participate in a process review session online, so we can all look at the same model and we can annotate, draw on it, and share it and get feedback. In that way, this is very meaningful to my day-to-day job.

Rather than getting on the phone or scheduling a conference call, trying to create a WebEx, and then trying to keep track of what it was we talked about, all of that would be captured.

It becomes useful also for audit purposes because a lot of companies can’t just change core business processes without some sort of audit trail. Having that audit ability is important from a business perspective versus random social networking. Social media is not necessarily trackable.

BriefingsDirect: Do you have any insight into the customer demand that’s sort of driving these traditional software vendors to play in the enterprise to the other world?

Mooney: It has to do with companies being so virtualized these days, especially the large organizations. Not only do they have multiple offices in different locations and most likely different countries, but there’s a shift toward telecommuting so everyone is not necessarily in the office at the same time. Knowing that these technologies exist, there is this effort to figure out how to adapt this for a distributed business environment to increase the productivity and effectiveness of employees.
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jleclaire and http://www.jenniferleclaire.com.
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