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Greek philosophers and BPM?



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Anyone who understands even a tiny bit about the discipline of philosophy knows about Socrates, whose teachings rest at the core of Western knowledge, ethics and even happiness.

Legitimate Socrates (and Plato) scholars will surely have a field day with this simplistic definition of the Socratic Method--teaching by asking, learning by questioning and gaining knowledge through the process of debate. I doubt, though, they would disagree that Socrates’ beliefs still help define Western culture and institutions.

So, it might have been a bit of a marketing stretch when Active Endpoints named its new BPM offering “Socrates.” Wisdom and Socrates certainly go hand in hand, but business process management and Greek philosophy don’t forge an automatic connection. (Remember, too, that Socrates went on trial more than 2,400 years ago in his native Athens for challenging the norm--“failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges" and "introducing new deities”--resulting in a death sentence of hemlock ingestion.)

Nevertheless, the BPM version of Socrates shows great potential because of its claimed ability to enable a domain expert to design and deploy a screenflow-based application in minutes, with no training or technical skills. The Socrates connection can be made through the company’s description of those applications that includes both question-oriented workflows and automated services required to complete a task for a specific job function in the most productive manner possible.

Neil Ward-Dutton, co-founder and research director of IT industry analyst firm MWD Advisors, provides his perspective: “For some process applications, focusing most of your time and resources on modeling the core process makes sense. There is, however, an important class of applications--many of which are centered around customer interactions--that demand sophisticated, person-to-person interactions that need to be guided based on current policies, rules, promotions and so on. Because delivering great customer experiences in an agile way is so important for today’s enterprises, providing domain experts with easy-to-use, model-driven tools for quick delivery of these ‘interaction management’ capabilities is vital.”


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