Fastest HorseIf I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

-Henry Ford

In this period of profound change, many of the current orthodoxies about business opportunity, business models and the technology tools used to run enterprises are under significant stress.

– Cognizant Center for the Future of Work


BPM software is designed for flow-centric processes – there is a predefined sequence of activities that must be followed, and coordinating the flow of the activities is as automated as possible.

But there is a whole set of processes that are not easy to map, streamline, or automate


Situational Process Management (SPM) is focused on supporting business activities that are:

  • People-intensive
  • Highly variable
  • Loosely structured
  • Subject to frequent change


These processes may follow a flow, but the flow is only known after the fact. The flow is determined by decisions that are made during the execution of the process. These processes are therefore situation – they emerge based on the prevailing circumstances.

Work Style Focusing on Output and Outcome


Every organization has many processes that are similar in name between businesses, but are actually often highly customized. This customization is often handled in an unstructured or semi-structured manner.

The the objective of a decision-centric toolset is to introduce  the objective is to introduce a measure of structure and control into the everyday interactions between humans to assist them in reaching a common, predefined goal.

Since the opportunities to use technology to automate processes through the elimination of manual work are dwindling, what remains are those processes that are human-intensive. This is where the action is, where organizations can really make a difference.

These human-based processes or activities range from relatively simple cases involving one to three people in handling and resolving a case, to service delivery situations involving similar numbers of people handling less-predictable and less-structured service problems, to some or many people working on a project over time, to many people working on a complex operation in unstructured conditions. The goal of smart process applications is to improve this range of human-based activities or processes.

Unlike structured processes, where applications can replace people, software can enhance the capabilities of the people doing unstructured work. And because this work commonly provides the most value in modern organizations, improving unstructured business processes can generate the most competitive advantage today. collaborative work management goes a long way toward facilitating the needs of organizations in their quest to become a “smart” customer focused company.


Businesses used to live or die on the quality of their tools: the business processes and solutions that they invested so heavily in. Today businesses live or die on their ability to adapt: their ability to use the tools around them to solve the problem (or capitalize on the opportunity) in front of them.

– Peter Evans-Greenwood, The New Instability: How globalization, cloud computing and social media enable you to create an unfair advantage


BPM and collaborative work management provide different starting points for looking at the world:

BPM and collaborative work management 

Whereas BPM is primarily focused on automation and integration, collaborative work management is primarily focused on orchestration and coordination.


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Here are some other differences:

BPM and collaborative work differences 

Looking for a Situational Process Management tool?

This is where Work-Relay on Salesforce App Cloud comes in.


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