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Web 2.0 and Knowledge Management

Hello All


In my first post to the SAP BPX Community I will first of all explain who I am and what my blog will be about.


I am studying International Business Administration on the Europa University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. I have already finished all my exams. My current task is to prepare a diploma thesis with the topic “Knowledge Management in Web 2.0”. I am about to investigate how Web 2.0 can carry knowledge management tasks, how the concept is implemented in BPX how it helps to achieve the community’s objectives. 


There are several blogs already dealing with the Web 2.0 basics topic. Moreover most of the community members know what wikis, blogs or podcasts are. For that reason I will skip the story and definition but concentrate on the crucial principles of Web 2.0:


  • Data is the central resource – not the software but the data being aggregated with it stands in the middle of Web 2.0.
  • Architecture of participation – user being involved in every step and process from content-generation, through publishing, sharing up to software-development in constant beta-phase
  • Services instead of software – Social Software is independent of operating systems or hardware but offered as services and cost-effective scalable with no initial investment needed
  • Software re-integration – dynamic innovation, open-source, application programming interface – making innovation and integration of services in a range of variations possible
  • Superior usability – characteristic high operability and clearly arranged design makes Web 2.0 services nearly as efficient and interactive as conventional desktop applications


However the principles are understandable and easy to follow for those who looked more into the topic, it is much harder to convince people about the knowledge management potential of Social Software. Just to refer to Wikipedia – obviously the largest encyclopedia ever assembled with more than 2 million of articles gathered together within less than 7 years. Web 2.0 made it possible to create such large catalogue of information within such short time against disbelief of many sceptics.


The important question is, if Web 2.0 can be successful implemented in business, within a company or as a knowledge management tool between numerous companies? Gartner calls this trend “consumerization” – new enterprise technologies are based on customer applications. Will it be the most significant trend affecting IT during next 10 years, as Gartner forecasts it?


What has to be done to make a business community successful? How to convince business users to contribute, to share knowledge as the private users do? Will the motivation to participate be the same? If not, how will the quality of the content be influenced by the different type of motivation? Last but not least – how to steer the community? Is it necessary to steer it? Does it need to be controlled? What results will the collective intelligence of corporate environment contribute? How to make use of the exceeding knowledge pool?


These are the problems I will be dealing with in my thesis. I will investigate traditional knowledge management approaches and attempt to combine the academic theory with the Web 2.0 praxis. I will examine existing BPX results and search for improvements. It would be a misapprehension to look into Web 2.0 without being part of it. For that reason I will appreciate the community members to participate in building up of a concept for BPX to make it successful. One of the possible ways to get direct feedback from the community will be this blog.

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  • Hi Miroslaw,

    You want to take a look at the BPX Community Project (The specified item was not found.) which is an example of the use of Web 2.0 in the community space and my blogs (/people/richard.hirsch2/blog) – many of which deal with Web 2.0 topics.


    • Hello Dick,

      Thank you for your comment, it was a very useful piece of information I have found there. As you can see in the reply for Jaime, I was able to choose a right theoretical approach for my thesis. What I am still searching for is a good praxis example for describing the Five-phase-model of the Knowledge-Creation Process.

      Back to the BPX Community Project – is it possible to see the whole story behind the walls, to see the history of changes made in the content, blogs and maybe forum threads connected with the idea especially in its early steps?

      Best rgds,

  • Hi Miroslav, I just wrote a “Grosse Hausarbeit” about this topic. I remember that my first problem was to find a “good” definition of Web 2.0. I think that the one given by Tim O’Reilly is the best.
    The second problem was to find a framework for organizational knowledge creation. After some research I opted for the model proposed by Nonaka and Takeuchi. I also found an article published by Alan Marwick delaing with this topic: Technologies changing Nonaka’s framework KM framework:
    Its very useful although it was writen on a “pre-Web 2.0” era.



    • Hi Jaime,

      it’s been a while but I have been doing a lot of reading and research. I had some discussions with other people writing about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 and they were convinced to use the Probst framework. It is true that this approach is well established, especially in German speaking countries. But I fully agree with you that Knowledge Creation Theory from Nonaka and Takeuchi matches Social Software better than other theories. A short summary of the theory can be found here: The main part of the theory is the linking and transfer between tacit and explicit knowledge:

      It was a good hint with the IBM page. Thanks. However as you wrote, it is from the “before-web2.0-times”. I have tried to apply the approach for Social Software and it went quite good according to the four types of knowledge transfer mentioned before and the five prerequisites for the implementation of the theory in an organisation. Since I am writing my thesis in German it’s hard to translate it at once, but I will try to publish an abstract once I am done with that.

      What I am still searching for is a good praxis example on the BPX that I could use for describing the Five-phase-model of the Knowledge-Creation Process: In Nonaka’s book the process itself is more like a practical example. I was wondering if I could find a good BPX example as well. I have been studying some successful projects, for example the BPX Community Project. What I am missing is the first, more tacit part of the process that is rather hard to identify while studying only the final results. I was hoping that the Round Table on Food Recall Management will start sooner but I will probably have to search for another example.