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When talking about BPM most people focus on two things: systems and people. Systems are needed, because we want to automate processes and systems provide the services we can orchestrate. People? That’s easy: we make UIs and the people can then interact with the processes. But what do these people need to do their work? Most important here is knowledge. What knowledge is needed by which participant in which process step? How can this be decided? How can this be managed? This is where BPM (business process management) meats KPM (knowledge process management).

KPM can be seen as a subset of BPM. It focuses on how knowledge processes can be managed. What is a knowledge process? It describes the flow of knowledge, the knowledge activities and the related organizational roles. It is linked to business processes.

I strongly believe that a business process cannot be executed efficiently if the related knowledge processes are not running smoothly.

How can then these knowledge processes be identified, modeled and managed? By managing I mean how to support them with tooling, think of a document repository, portal, etc. and how to improve organizational aspects. I believe that the B-KIDE framework and tool developed by Prof. Strohmaier (2005) gives the best answer. It starts from the business processes, helps to identify the knowledge processes, from that create a knowledge infrastructure design and from that implement the knowledge infrastructure.
 
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The B-KIDE framework links the business processes to the four knowledge processes: knowledge generation, knowledge storing, knowledge transfer and knowledge application.

The main benefits:

In my next blog I will explain the B-KIDE framework in more detail and how the above benefits can be realized.

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3 Comments

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  1. Nicholas Holshouser
    Hi Tamas, nice blog, I look forward to the continuing discussion. I have a question about KPM and the B-KIDE framework. I have always thought of KM as document centric, is KPM and K-IDE also document centric? A real benefit of BPM is the ability to structure a process to get tasks to the right people at the right time. Of course hopefully we get the right information there along with the task – that part I get. But shouldn’t we also look at the people aspect of knowledge? Collaborative processes and the ability to collaborate with people ‘about’ a process enlarges the pool of knowledge available to process participants. Does KPM and K-IDE address the need to ‘know who has the knowledge’ aspect of collaborative work? 

    regards, Nick

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    1. Tamas Szirtes
      Agree. There is knowledge needed about a process at design time and run time. Knowledge can be codified (written) or tacit (in the mind of people). KM has to deal with both, so no, KM shouldn’t be document centric, it should cover both. In case of knowledge workers, a lot is in their head, so enabling collaboration is a key approach here. What is misleading that SAP calls it KM and Collaboration, indicating the split. I would prefer to call it Document Management and Collaboration or just simply call it KM.
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  2. Michael Goldschmidt
    Hi Tamas,
    I agree with the B-KIDE framework. We didn’t call it so, but we have the same philosophy. Basis to structure process modells and knowledge is our End-to-End process structure in five levels. We use this structure also to organize the knowledge material. For this we use the tool SPP (SAP Productivity Pak). A task in our process model can be a SAP transaction with its variants (or we have process model variants). Now it is very easy to link the task with a set of recorded SAP transaction material. An end user can search the knowledge material by using the process model or can search knowledge material and have a look in the related process model.
    With this philosophy we combine process modells with operativ knowledge material, like a sixth level of our process structure.
    And if you like, you can create a seventh level with the technical descritpion of a SAP transaction. Now you have integrated the IT view. For this the tool SAP solution manager is suggested.

    Best regards
    Michael

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