Information Support for Knowledge-Intensive Business Processes -- Combining Workflows with Document Analysis and Information Retrieval

Andreas Abecker, Ansgar Bernardi, Heiko Maus, and Claudia Wenzel

Explicit modeling of business processes and their enactment in workflow systems have proved to be valuable in increasing the efficiency of work in organizations. We argue that enacted business processes - that is: workflow management systems (WfMS) - form a solid basis for adequate information support in complex and knowledge-intensive business processes. To support this claim we demonstrate results from two different projects: The VirtualOffice approach employs workflow context information to support the high-precision document analysis and understanding in standard office settings; the combination of workflow context and document analysis techniques allow for the automatic handling of incoming paper mail with respect to the appropriate workflows. The KnowMore approach focuses on the support of people who work on knowledge-intensive tasks by automatic delivery of relevant and goal-specific information; the context of the workflow, an extended process model, and a detailed modeling of information sources are combined to this end. Both approaches show ways to proceed from workflow systems towards active knowledge management.

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