IANES

FP7 IAPP, 2011-2015

IANES (Interactive Acquisition, Negotiation and Enactment of Subject-Oriented Business Process Knowledge) addresses the requirements of in-situ process knowledge acquisition and alignment. The aim of the project is providing a set of socio-technical instruments to support members of an organization in elicitating, negotating and improving their knowledge about individual and organizational work practices and interfaces.

IANES was funded by the European Union as a FP7 Marie Curie Action under the Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways scheme. It was a joint project of Johannes Kepler University Linz (AT), Metasonic AG (DE), and Infomedia Services (AT).

Motivation

In today’s highly dynamic business environments, organizations have to be able to rapidly adapt to changing internal and external contexts and contingencies. Considering business processes to be a set of messages that trigger individual behavior rather than a strictly predetermined way of enacting given steps towards reaching a business goal facilitates this ability. The shift of perspective towards individuals acting in an organization towards a common goal enables the flexibility required for adaptation while still maintaining well-defined representations that allow for validation and execution support.

The ability to individualize the work practices within a business process and the possibility of modeling from a local rather than a global point of view are the core properties that distinguish subject-oriented business process modeling from other approaches focusing on the sequence of activities rather than the flow of communication. People can describe their actual ways of performing tasks and are only required to know and describe their interfaces to other subjects.

The acquisition and alignement of individual work process knowledge has hardly been addressed methodologically and technically so far. Following the individual centered philosophy of S-BPM, work process knowledge should be captured and reflected upon in the current work situation of an individual or a group of individuals collaborating, enabling them to set up or revise the work practices whenever the need arises.

Objectives

IANES addresses the requirements of in-situ process knowledge acquisition and alignment. The global objective of the project is to provide a set of methods and tools that enables the members of an organization to externalize, reflect, transfer, and align their knowledge about individual work practices and interfaces to and with co-workers. The combination of empowering individuals and local collaboration on an operative level together with maintaining a global view of given business goals and fundamental value creation chains enables organizations to more rapidly and effectively adapt to dynamically changing business environments.

Methodology

Research in IANES involves methodology from various social and technical sciences. Methodologies and tools for supporting the identification of knowledge claims in networked work environments will be designed. This includes interactive systems that directly interact with users as well as repositories that provide the necessary background information for appropriate support through the interactive systems. A set of tools will be provided, that allows for situated work process knowledge acquisition and alignment. Process knowledge validation and formalization to put revised processes back to practice is supported. Integration of tools, repositories and methodology is an on-going process throughout the whole development phase of the project.

IANES follows an actor-driven approach in the support of work process improvement. The process of acquiring and negotiating knowledge about work and putting improved business processes back to practice is supported by an intertwined set of methods and backed by state-of-the-art technology.

Methodologically, the IANES approach is based on the Knowledge Lifecycle proposed by Firestone and McElroy. In operationalizing the steps of this lifecycle by well-established methods and putting it into the context of the subject-oriented Business Process Lifecycle, IANES presents a theoretically sound, yet practical and effective way to improve cooperative work processes in organizations.

The IANES technology layers builds upon instruments that have been successfully deployed in both, research and industry use cases, for several years. Users will be able to seamlessly interact with and switch between those tools, as IANES will provide a set of transparent interfaces for integration.

IANES presents a knowledge-based process improvement approach integrated on both, a methodological and technical layer. It enables people to identify and actively work on their individual and other’s roles relevant for an organization and ultimately align the heterogeneous knowledge about their work.

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Stefan Oppl
Associate Professor in Business Informatics, soon-to-be Professor of Technology-enhanced Learning

My research interests include heterogenity-aware instructional design, technology-enhanced collaborative learning, stakeholder-driven socio-technical system design.