Class Notes: Where to Study Business Process Management? A Global Perspective Based on EDUglopedia.org

Abstract. This note follows up on previous notes on BPM education, namely 2012's “Class Notes: BPM Research and Education – How Was School Today?” by Jan Recker and 2015's “The BPM Curriculum Revisited” by Sanja Tumbas, Stefan Seidel, and me. This note uses a living repository of educational offerings called EDUglopedia.org – The Global Encyclopedia for Higher Educational Content to contribute more current information on worldwide BPM education to the discussion. We developed this platform as part of an AIS initiative to survey all information systems programs worldwide. At last count, 130 institutions, 199 programs, and 1,310 courses associated with the keyword “BPM” were registered on the platform, illustrating the wide dissemination of BPM education at the global level.

BPM Education

BPM has matured as a professional management area and an important field of academic research. For example, there are comprehensive textbooks (e.g., Dumas et al., 2013) and handbooks (e.g., vom Brocke and Rosemann, 2015) that document the state of the art, and recent contributions acknowledge the role of BPM in driving digital innovation (vom Brocke and Schmiedel, 2015). BPM research has also begun to develop its intellectual core and methodological basis to strengthen its exploratory, opportunity-driven capabilities in addition to the rich set of exploitative, problem-driven capabilities. The term “ambidextrous BPM” (Rosemann, 2015) refers to the need to combine both exploitation and exploration in BPM, which is also reflected in more recent curriculum recommendations (vom Brocke, Seidel, and Tumbas, 2015).

Against this background, keeping up with BPM research is a major challenge for both practitioners and teachers. Given the speed with which the field is developing, BPM curricula and training run the risk of being quickly outdated. While BPM researchers have started to make recommendations on curricula design (e.g., Bandara et al., 2010; Recker, 2012; vom Brocke et al., 2015), these contributions remain scattered and lack the attention they should be paid in real-world BPM education and training. An online repository for BPM education could help to mitigate these problems, as it would offer unrestricted access to educational information for academics and practitioners alike and a way to review and update curricula and teaching material at any time.

This note explains how the platform EDUglopedia.org, an open platform developed as a global encyclopedia to share educational knowledge around the world, can be used as a hub for educational knowledge on BPM and related fields. The platform began in the area of information systems education, but it is growing quickly and moving to include other disciplines. Preparation for this note began with a keyword search for “Business Process Management” on EDUglopedia.org on November 24, 2016, that revealed 130 institutions, 199 programs, and 1,310 courses associated with “Business Process Management.” This result illustrates the wide dissemination of BPM in the education sector and demonstrates that adequate resources are available for planning and designing BPM curricula and training.

The following note reflects on the search through EDUglopedia.org for BPM-related content, provides a short overview on the platform, and illustrates how it can be used to search for BPM programs, courses, and teaching resources.

BPM on EDUglopedia.org

Overview

EDUglopedia.org is social sharing network for higher educational content. It brings together people who are interested in higher education by creating a directory of higher educational offerings in various fields. More specifically, EDUglopedia.org provides access to educational programs and courses around the world, connects people who share an interest in competencies and educational topics, and facilitates the sharing and reuse of educational resources (Fig. 1). Unlike paid sites that require institutions to pay a fee to list their programs, EDUglopedia.org is an initiative driven by the community itself.

Fig. 1: EDUglopedia.org Home Screen


Fig. 1: EDUglopedia.org Home Screen

Programs

Based on the data stored on EDUglopedia.org, descriptive statistics on BPM programs show the spread of BPM educational programs around the world. Most BPM programs are offered in European countries (72%), followed by North America (10%), and Australia and Oceania (10%) (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: BPM programs per region


Fig. 2: BPM programs per region

Germany offers the highest number of BPM programs (13), followed by the US (6) and Australia (5) (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Number of BPM programs per country


Fig. 3: Number of BPM programs per country

Certain “spikes” in BPM education occur where there is a comparatively high density of BPM education programs (number of BPM programs per country / population per country). Some smaller countries, such as Liechtenstein, Estonia, Slovenia, and the Netherlands, have such spikes (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Density of BPM programs


Fig. 4: Density of BPM programs

Fig. 5 provides an overview of BPM programs in terms of study level (bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D.) and schedule (full-time or part-time). Whereas most programs in Europe are taught on the master's level, most programs in Australia and Oceania are taught on the bachelor's level.

Fig. 5: BPM programs (study level and schedule)


Fig. 5: BPM programs (study level and schedule)

Many of these programs can be explored using the EDUglopedia.org platform. For example, using the keyword “Business Process Management” yields sixty programs around the world that relate to process management. In addition, selecting English as the course language yields 35 courses, including programs offered in the US (e.g., programs at Bentley, the University of Georgia, and Stevens Institute of Technology) in Europe (e.g., at the University of Liechtenstein, Vienna University of Economics, and Business, and the Open University Heerlen) and in Oceania (e.g., at Queensland University of Technology, Victoria University of Wellington, and the University of Sydney). Fig. 6 shows the filtering process used to find BPM programs based on specific preferences.

Fig. 6: Finding BPM Programs on EDUglopedia.org


Fig. 6: Finding BPM Programs on EDUglopedia.org

The site provides visuals and descriptions for each program, including a fact sheet, a list of highlights, references to the program's and institution's websites and external profiles (e.g., on Facebook and Twitter), and in some cases a list of courses with descriptions for each course.

Resources

Apart from finding educational programs in areas like BPM, EDUglopedia.org provides access to educational resources like slides, books, articles and teaching cases, syllabi, exercises, MOOCs, webinars, and software, to name a few.

The number of BPM-related resources on EDUglopedia.org is still limited, but it has some interesting material that is useful for both teachers and students. The keywords “business process management,” “business process,” and “process” show that books and teaching cases are the most frequently shared types of resources in the context of BPM (Fig. 7).

Fig. 7: BPM resources


Fig. 7: BPM resources (keyword search for “business process management,” “business process,” and “process”)

Examples of resources found on the site include BPM books and BPM teaching cases:

In addition, the site offers the BPM MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Fundamentals of Business Process Management (http://eduglopedia.org/fundamentals-of-business-process-management-mooc) and a BPM Reference Syllabus (http://eduglopedia.org/business-process-management-syllabus).

Fig. 8 provides an example of a MOOC registered as a BPM resource on EDUglopedia.org.

Fig. 8: Example of a BPM Resource Shared on EDUglopedia.org


Fig. 8: Example of a BPM Resource Shared on EDUglopedia.org

As the MOOC example in Fig. 8 shows, sharing does not require the resource to be uploaded; instead, links to the original sources (e.g., the MOOC or a book) can be placed. The usual terms apply to accessing the resource (e.g., access to digital libraries or online shops), and each resource shared is given a unique identifier, the EDUglopedia ID (EID). Further, a time stamp and a reference to the member who shared the resource is provided, as is a recommended citation for using the resource. Such mechanisms support intellectual rights and create a culture of recognizing the contributions of others.

Lessons Learned

Reflections on the content

The journey through EDUglopedia.org's BPM-related content revealed an impressive number and variety of results.

  • BPM programs: The number of BPM-related assets on EDUglopedia.org confirms the active nature of groups performing research on BPM that have been mentioned in previous educational notes on BPM curriculum design. (See the chapter on programs.) However, a number of programs come up that have not been considered in BPM curriculum reviews, such as the programs at the University of Mannheim, Ghent University, the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and SAP University Alliances, to name a few.
  • BPM courses: In addition to full programs that focus on BPM, the great number of courses on BPM shows that BPM plays a role in information systems education even when the entire program does not focus on BPM. For example, courses on BPM are offered at Bern (Switzerland), Christchurch (New Zealand), Groningen (the Netherlands), Guimaraes, (Portugal), Kaunas (Lithuania), Kennesaw (the US), Kharkiv (Ukraine), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Saarbruecken, (Germany), Tartu (Estonia), and Würzburg (Germany).
  • BPM-related assets: Courses and resources are also tagged by the keyword “BPM” when they are entitled differently. Apparently, BPM is also meaningful for colleagues who do not work primarily in the area of BPM, so they choose to position their courses accordingly. Examples include courses entitled “Analysis and Optimization of Business Processes,” “Business Application Systems,” “Business Process Innovation and Change,” “Digital Transformation,” “Engineering of Work, Processes and Organizations,” “IT and Business Process Sourcing,” “IT Innovation and Transfer,” and “Leadership in Digital Transformation,” to name a few.

Overall, BPM seems to be popular among information systems institutions and colleagues, and was, at the time the keywords were run for this note, the second most frequently used keyword, following “information systems.” Other keywords in the context of BPM used on EDUglopedia.org include Business Process Innovation, Business Process Reengineering, Business Process Integration, Process Analysis, Process Automation, Process Mapping, Process Mining, Process Modeling, and others, further demonstrating the overall high relevance BPM-related knowledge has to higher education.

Reflections on the platform

Pooling educational knowledge on a website allows all of us to present our work for others to use, and whoever is interested in BPM education can use this website to get a current picture of offerings and related profiles.

Some aspects of a platform like EDUglopedia.org are particularly useful:

  • Spanning regions: The repository is not limited to a region like the Americas, Europe, or Pacific Asia, and it does not favor particular hubs. An institution located anywhere in the world can offer BPM educational programs and resources on the site to achieve partners' and participants' full consideration. Practitioners around the world can also connect to global BPM knowledge, regardless of where they are based.
  • Integrating disciplines: The repository is not limited to specific disciplines. Given the interdisciplinary nature of BPM, this feature allows people to find BPM offerings who would not otherwise have looked for them specifically (and who might not even have known a discipline like BPM existed). People who look up offerings on business transformation, digital innovation, supply chain integration, big data analytics, and the internet of things might well find programs and resources from the BPM community–a feature that is highly beneficial for both sides.
  • Including types: The repository is inclusive of many types of educational offerings and resources. Programs can include all sorts, starting from small training courses up to full master's degree programs. People who are interested in BPM education get an overview of what is available, helping them to decide which of the options available might best suit their purposes. One who started out looking for training might well end up choosing a full program, and—vice versa—might look for a global executive MBA in the field of BPM and choose instead to start with a course or two at a university close by. The same goes for resources: Colleagues may share entire slide decks or just links to videos they find useful in demonstrating a certain idea in BPM education.
  • Empowering people:. The repository is not centrally managed but is built and used by the community. Anyone who wants to share something can do so, and it will be available to everyone else who has an interest in what has been shared. This feature provides opportunities for people who want to get involved in education in general and BPM education in particular. Not only universities but also a wide range of institutions, such as SAP and Springer, offer BPM education. Bringing these offerings together on one platform can create valuable synergies.

References

Bandara, W., Chand, D., Chircu, A., Hintringer, S., Karagiannis, D., Recker, J.,… Welke, R. (2010). Business Process Management Education in Academia: Status, Challenges, and Recommendations. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 27(1).

Dumas, M., La Rosa, M., Mendling, J., and Reijers, A. H. (2013). Fundamentals of Business Process Management: Springer.

EDUglopedia.org (2016), EDUglopedia.org – The Global Encyclopedia for Higher Education, http://www.eduglopedia.org.

Müller, O., Schmiedel, T., Gorbacheva, E., & vom Brocke, J. (2014). Toward a Typology of Business Process Management Professionals: Identifying Patterns of Competence through Latent Semantic Analysis. Enterprise Information Systems, 10(1), 50-80.

Recker, J. (2012). Class Notes: Bpm Research and Education – How Was School Today? BPTrends, 2012.

Rosemann, M. (2014). Proposals for Future Bpm Research Directions. In C. Ouyang and J.-Y. Jung (Eds.), (Vol. 181, pp. 1-15). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

vom Brocke, J., and Rosemann, M. (Eds.). (2015). Handbook on Business Process Management 1 – Introduction, Methods, and Information Systems. International: Springer.

vom Brocke, J., and Schmiedel, T. (Eds.). (2015). Bpm – Driving Innovation in a Digital World. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.

vom Brocke, J., Schmiedel, T., Recker, J., Trkman, P., Mertens, W., and Viaene, S. (2014). Ten Principles of Good Business Process Management. Business Process Management Journal, 20(4), 530-548.

vom Brocke, J., Seidel, S., Tumbas, S., (2015). Class Notes: The BPM curriculum revisited. BPTrends, 2015.

Jan vom Brocke

Jan vom Brocke

Jan vom Brocke is head of the BPM group in Liechtenstein. He is Professor of Information Systems, the Hilti Chair of Business Process Management, and Director of the Institute of Information Systems. He is Founder and Co-Director of the award-winning Master Program in Information Systems with Majors in Business Process Management and Data Science and Director of the PhD Program in Information and Process Management at the University of Liechtenstein(see: www.uni.li/mis). Since 2012 he has been appointed Vice-President of the University of Liechtenstein responsible for research and innovation, re-elected in 2015. Jan has over 15 years of experience in IT and BPM projects and he has published more than 300 papers in reknowned outlets, including MIS Quarterly (MISQ), the Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS), and the Business Process Management Journal (BPMJ). He has authored and edited 29 books, including Business Process Management—Driving Innovation in a Digital World and Green BPM—Towards the Sustainable Enterprise, and the International Handbook on Business Process Management. Jan is an invited speaker and trusted advisor on BPM serving many organizations around the world. You can contact and follow Jan via his website: janvombrocke.com.
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Comments

  1. Hello, Happy New Year.
    I see a poor impact in latin or south Europa countries, where BSC approach the first tool before BPM/EA, hadn’t been used like management principe.

  2. Martin Hrabal says:

    Hello,
    thanks for great article, BPM education was always my interest. For example, we provide BPM course at Tomas Bata University in Zlín in Industrial Engineering, Entreprise Economics, and Marketing and Management programs.

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