Knowledge management is one of those terms that means different things to different people. In the 90s at Ernst & Young, I remember leading several efforts internally to create our knowledge management infrastructure. Our focus was on collecting lessons learned, key working papers, proposals, and deliverables. We would sanitize them (i.e., remove client specifics), review them with SMEs, and store them in Lotus Notes databases based on a taxonomy we had developed.
A few years ago, I led an effort at Express Scripts to select a document management tool to do much of the same. The idea was to get information off of people's desktops and from their file cabinets. We were going to load documents and scan documents. They would be approved by a central resource and categorized according to a metadata schema based on a taxonomy we developed. They then had role based security around the documents with a Google like search functionality.
But, knowledge management (at least in these forms) is difficult to embed into the daily processes. We ramp up efforts and get some initial push, but without continued focus, the databases become old and all you have done is spent money and effort to create a quickly outdated resource. That can be managed (of course). At E&Y, one of our performance metrics was what we had submitted for the shared repositories.
I haven't heard it explored much, but I see this institutionalization of knowledge management as a big value add for BPM. By capturing unstructured data (e.g., comments) along with documents in a process, you can create a shared repository for knowledge management. Additionally, you can begin to link outcomes data with those documents. Image at some point being able to analyze and say that project managers would used fishbone diagrams for analysis were 20% more successful than those that didn't. Imagine having the process prompt you based on previous experiences to say that if going down this exception path you should look at the following scenarios to understand what will be needed. Imagine that if you are working with a particular client that the technology could push information about that client to you at the right time of the process.
By simplifying and automating the knowledge, I think BPM could be a great enabler of knowledge management.