As part of the CTI blog series on knowledge management, we have introduced Probst‘s building block model in recent weeks and subsequently presented our experiences with the individual building blocks of knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge development, knowledge distribution, knowledge use and knowledge preservation based on practical use cases from our consulting practice.
Supporting large business-critical transformation projects through knowledge management
In the context of large programs that encompass several projects, such as an S/4 HANA transformation, these building blocks are used to their full extent.
Let’s first look at knowledge identification. This is usually at the beginning of every programme and starts with the identification of relevant know-how carriers and experts who need to be integrated into the program organization. This building block requires measures such as knowledge and process identification workshops. In order to be able to fall back on them again and again in the course of the program, it is advisable to set up expert directories. From a process management perspective, the knowledge carriers identified in this way must be assigned to the processes as responsible parties. SAP key users often play a decisive role here. They play an important role both in the collection of actual processes and in the verification and validation of possible target processes for their own company. In S/4 transformation projects, it is particularly important not to simply transfer the existing actual processes 1:1 to the new software, as the new software itself offers a range of optimization options.
Knowledge acquisition is about purchasing the required external know-how on the market. This requires technical skills as well as process and customizing experts. S/4HANA offers a large number of new functionalities that were previously not included in the ERP Classic standard and had to be created in the past through customer-specific enhancements. As a rule, these customer-specific enhancements cannot be migrated 1:1, but must be assigned to the new standard functionality in the S/4 system.
Adequate process documentation is essential as a basis for such considerations. It is therefore necessary to have documentation of both the actual and target processes in order to be able to assess the delta and its effects at any time. Only in this way is it possible to meaningfully assess the effects of the “Back to standard” process.
This specific know-how about the possibilities of the target system must first be built up in the company. As part of workshops and training measures, the external consultants incorporate this knowledge into the organization. Key users are trained in the processes and technical administrators are prepared for their new tasks.
The company’s interaction with the external consultants leads to numerous new insights. New knowledge is created iteratively, which is referred to as knowledge development. If you go beyond the project documents created directly in the program, it is necessary to convert the information gained there into actual knowledge. Workshops, idea meetings, scenario techniques, best practices and lessons learned can be very helpful for this.
From a business process management perspective, it can also be useful to compare the existing actual processes with the future target processes in order to look for optimization potential.
In the context of knowledge distribution, an attempt is made to overcome the restrictions imposed by knowledge islands of individual employees by transferring knowledge to the company. Suitable media for this are, for example, internal blogs, expert directories or the creation of e-learning courses, which are primarily made available to key users.
The use of knowledge is particularly relevant for all project participants during the ongoing program. It is particularly important to make knowledge available to specific target groups, e.g. by means of wikis or FAQs. From a process management perspective, user group-specific views of processes can be created for this purpose.
If we look at knowledge preservation as the next building block, the program will provide essential new insights that must also be secured for the future. The documentation of target processes on the basis of business process management software such as SAP Signavio should be mentioned here first and foremost. Process documentation is essential for subsequent process optimization. The process documentation can then be transferred to key user-related tutorials and e-learning courses so that the knowledge can be anchored in the organization in the long term and can be transferred to new employees in a timely manner in the event of staff changes.
Just like well-established process management, the conscious use of knowledge management and orientation towards the described building blocks offers a decisive advantage. The availability of knowledge at the right time and the transfer of this knowledge is often one of the success factors for large programs.
Large transformation projects, such as the introduction of new software (e.g. S/4-HANA), make it necessary to make a significant proportion of process knowledge, which was previously implemented implicitly in software products, explicit. CTI CONSULTING supports these projects by effectively supporting the knowledge modules described above through the aforementioned activities. Effective and up-to-date business process management plays a key role in this.
Read the blog posts that describe the building blocks individually here.