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Collaboration plays essential role in BPM success

Ben Farrell
December 6, 2012

Business process management streamlines enterprise operations by automating many processes and removing the tedious operations that stifle productivity. However, achieving this end hinges on being able to break down operational silos. According to a recent report from Gartner, organizations that fail to establish solid lines of communication and collaboration will likely struggle to get the most out of their BPM solutions.

Considering extreme collaboration

Gartner defines extreme collaboration (XC) as a form of communication that combines four nexus forces to enable innovation in the way employees behave, communicate, maintain relationships and work together. When used properly, extreme collaboration works equally well regardless of geographical or organizational boundaries that could get in the way.

To make extreme collaboration happen, Gartner recommends that organizations take advantage of the near addiction that has developed to real-time communication and information sharing in contemporary culture. Businesses should also use reward systems to encourage collaboration, develop communications strategies through crowdsourcing and similar social tools, employ social network analysis tools and plan group events to get collaboration plans going.

Janelle Hill, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explained that XC helps companies deal with the critical nature of collaboration.

"Collaboration is a critical activity in many operational business processes, both structured and unstructured," said Hill. "An XC environment is essentially a virtual war room or crisis center, where people can come together to collaboratively work on a shared purpose ... What makes it extreme is people's willingness to cross geographic, organizational, political, management boundaries, to pool their collective skills and resources to solve problems and move toward the attainment of a shared, ambitious goal."

Using XC to improve BPM

Implementing BPM strategies is heavily dependent on collaboration, often in non-traditional ways. In many cases, businesses are purposely divided and siloed to make them easier to manage from a top-down perspective. BPM is often about empowering employees to get the job done more effectively. This often means breaking down traditional work barriers to foster a greater sense of unity within an organization. XC and similar ideals can help accomplish this by providing workers with new perspective on how they can do the job. As a result, they can be freed from some of the operational burdens that limit productivity and get the job done more effectively.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications