Social software is a new paradigm that is spreading quickly in society, organizations and economics. It supports social interaction and social production. Social interaction is the interaction of non-predetermined individuals. Social production is the creation of artefacts, by combining the input from independent contributors without predetermining the way to do this (*). Users are supported in creating new contacts, presenting themselves and collaborating with other users. As a result, content, knowledge and software is not created by a hierarchy of experts, but by combining a multitude of contributions of independent authors/actors. Examples for such a social production are wikis, blogs, social bookmarking and tagging, etc.
Social software follows a more egalitarian and meritocratic approach compared to traditional approaches where the role of the software user is determined by the enterprise senior management and its representatives. Thus, trust and reputation play a crucial role in the use of social software instead of authority granted by the top management.
The paradigm of social software and social production has created a multitude of success stories such as wikipedia.org and the development of the Linux operating system. Therefore, more and more enterprises see social software and social production as a means for further improvement of their business processes and business models. For example, they integrate their customers into product development by using blogs to capture ideas for new products and features. Thus, business processes have to be adapted to new communication patterns between customers and the enterprise: for example, the communication with the customer is increasingly a bi-directional communication with the customer and among the customers. Social software also offers new possibilities to enhance business processes by improving the exchange of knowledge and information, to speed up decisions, etc.
Up to now, the interaction of social software and the underlying paradigm of social production with business processes have not been investigated in depth. Therefore, the objective of the workshop is to explore how social software and social production interact with business process management, how business process management has to change to comply with social production, and how business processes may profit from social techniques.
(*) Rainer Schmidt and Selmin Nurcan, “BPM and Social Software“ in BPM2008 Workshop Proceedings (Milano, 2008)..