q2y5np9c6o38's picture

EPC with competencyWhen you are doing Business Process Management, you are usually trying to optimize business processes according to certain objectives. You might be interested in the processes and their execution being flexible, effective, efficient, compliant, simple, fast, inexpensive, and so on. There are a lot of factors influencing the quality of a process with respect to these goals and one of these is the competence of people doing the actual work. For example, skilled people might be able to use better techniques, require less time or produce output of higher quality than unskilled individuals when carrying out a function or process. With this in mind, let's see how we can improve processes by linking process management with competency and learning management.

The basic idea is actually quite simple: Find out which competencies are required in order to get the desired process performance and how proficient the people working on the process are in these competencies. In case you find competency deficiencies, train the people in order to close the competency gaps and improve process performance.

Implementing this idea is not so simple, however. You need a way to do the following tasks:

  • Document your business processes and the competency requirements of the functions and roles within these processes
  • Determine which competencies significantly influence process performance and which proficiency levels lead to the desired performance
  • Find out the actual proficiency levels of personnel involved in process execution
  • Determine competency gaps by matching required competencies of a role with actual competencies of a person occupying the role
  • Select and prepare training courses conveying the missing competencies
  • Get the people to use the learning opportunities
  • Determine which impact the training measures had on proficiency levels and if this actually improved process performance as predicted

So this is quite a lot of stuff to do and each of these tasks touches on other theoretic underpinnings which don't make things easier. But easy would be boring, right? And I obviously wouldn't be telling you this entire if I didn't have some answers to the question of how to deal with these obstacles. In short: PROLIX.

PROLIX logoPROLIX is an EU-funded research project developing a computer system which supports the tasks mentioned above. That means it let's you do business process modeling, competency-aware process simulation, competency modeling and matching, learning design and process creation, learning process execution, as well as performance monitoring. Since there are existing tools for all of these tasks, those programs are tied together with a multi-layered service-oriented architecture in order to get an integrated solution. They communicate with web services and use a portal as a central entry point for users.

IDS Scheer is mostly concerned with the BPM side in the project. That means, together with DFKI, we define how the ARIS modeling method has to be extended in order to allow it to be used for competency capturing and how competencies can be used for process simulation. All of this is quite exciting, because it reaches into the realms of HR managers, who more often than not are not so much concerned with process modeling and analysis.

Anyway, I don't want to heap copious amounts of scientific details upon you in a short blog entry, so feel free to head over to PROLIX's homepage if you want to learn more about the project. In order to give it a bit of a face I'll leave you with a photo of some project partners taken at the latest project review meeting which took place at the headquarters of IDS Scheer in Saarbrücken at the end of January 2009.

PROLIX review project partners

Tags: Business Process Management BPM