# Knowledge Management in OSS—an Enterprise Information System for the Telecommunications Industry

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## Knowledge Management in OSS—an Enterprise Information System for the Telecommunications Industry

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Operations Support Systems (OSS) is a mainstream technology which supports large-scale network operation, maintenance and management.

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## Nội dung Text: Knowledge Management in OSS—an Enterprise Information System for the Telecommunications Industry

1. Systems Research and Behavioral Science Syst. Res. 23,177^190 (2006) Published online inWiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI:10.1002/sres.752 & Research Paper Knowledge Management in OSS—an Enterprise Information System for the Telecommunications Industry Jiayin Qi1*, Li Da Xu2, Huaying Shu1 and Huaizu Li3 1 School of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing, China 2 Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA 3 School of Management, Xian Jiaotong University, Xian, China Knowledge management in Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) has become one of the hottest research topics in the last few years. Operations Support Systems (OSS) is one kind of EIS, which is becoming increasingly popular in the telecommunications industry. However, the academic research on knowledge management in OSS is sparse. In this paper, a knowledge management system for OSS is proposed in the framework of systems theory. Knowledge, knowledge management, organization and information technology are the four main interactive elements in the knowledge management system. The paper proposes that each subsystem of the OSS is to be equipped with knowledge management capacity, and the knowledge management of the OSS is to be realized through its subsystems. Copyright # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Keywords enterprise information systems; ERP; operations support systems; knowledge management; management information systems INTRODUCTION mance and competitive advantage (Ahn and Chang, 2004; Chuang, 2004; Joshi and Sharma, In recent years, the topic of knowledge economy 2004; Tzokas and Saren, 2004; Badii and Sharif, has attracted much research interest. As a result, 2003; Cavusgil et al., 2003; Choi and Lee, 2002). a substantial number of researches have been For this reason, more and more enterprises have conducted on knowledge management from emphasized the importance of knowledge man- both theoretical and empirical perspectives. agement. Most of them have acquired enterprise Studies show that effective knowledge manage- information systems (EIS) such as ERP as an ment has a positive effect on enterprise perfor- integrated platform with intended applications in knowledge management. Operations Support Systems (OSS) is a main- * Correspondence to: Jiayin Qi, School of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876, stream technology which supports large-scale China. E-mail: ssqjy@263.net network operation, maintenance and management. Copyright # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
2. RESEARCH PAPER Syst. Res. It was put forward by TeleManagement Forum about OSS at www.tmforum.org, but they are not (TMF), an international organization that has typical research papers. been contributing to the information and com- Knowledge may not show its signiﬁcant value munications services industry for over 15 years. until it is embedded in software products or So far OSS has been increasingly adopted by business processes. Only then can its value be telecom industry with NGOSS (New Generation fully utilized. OSS is the basic software platform Operations and Software Systems) as its next to support value chain management for the generation product. If ERP systems are the EIS telecom industry. OSS should be the enabling mainly help manufacturing industry achieve tools to fulﬁl effective knowledge management. competitive edge in the global market, OSS plays How could this objective be achieved? The a similar role in the telecom industry. purpose of this paper is to explore a possible Telecommunications industry is a very speciﬁc answer to the question. high-tech service industry. The main feature of The paper is organized as follows. ‘Knowledge the telecommunications industry is its tight Management in Systems Perspectives’ section integration of business process and IT applica- presents the implication of knowledge manage- tions; it is very important to use IT to promote its ment in systems perspectives. The relationship competitiveness. OSS is generally considered as among data, information and knowledge, as well a basic EIS which can also support knowledge as the relationship between knowledge manage- management. OSS market and applications are ment and EIS is discussed. In ‘Overview of OSS growing. Taking the Asia Paciﬁc market as an and Knowledge Management in OSS’ sections, example, it generated $8.8 billion of revenues in an overview of OSS and the knowledge manage- 2002. Revenues show an increasing trend and ment in OSS is discussed. ‘Discussion and the market for OSS is expected to grow at a Conclusion’ section provides a summary of the steady pace. The compound annual growth rate paper and future research. (CAGR) of the revenues for the period 2001–2007 is forecasted to be 6.27 per cent. Industry reven- ues are forecasted to rise to$11.87 billion by the KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN year 2007. SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVES Although OSS has been acquired by many telecom companies, the shortage of scholastic A system is made up of a set of interacting research on OSS is obvious (Li et al., 2003a). elements sharing a particular purpose within a IEEE Xplore provides full text access to IEEE boundary. The interaction among elements forms transactions, journals, magazines and conference the structure of a system. Depending on its proceedings since 1998, plus select contents back boundary, a system can be an economic entity, to 1950, and all the current IEEE standards. Most an inventory system, or a business organization. of the academic publications in telecommuni- Knowledge management is an element of the cations are included in IEEE Xplore. Using organizational management system (Warﬁeld, operations support systems as key word, our 1989). From the point of view of the concept of search matched 189 of 1043417 documents. In whole, a knowledge management system pro- these 189 documents, there is only one paper motes the effective use of knowledge assets of an related to the word knowledge. Searching other enterprise as a whole over time, and is an impetus academic journals, such as Decision Support to the performance of the enterprise. systems, Expert Systems with Application, Knowl- edge-Based Systems, Computers in Industry, Expert Systems, Data & Knowledge Engineering, Advanced Data, Information and Knowledge Engineering Informatics, Logistic Information Man- agement, Information & Management, Telecommu- Prior to discussing knowledge management, the nications Policy from 2003 to 2005, no papers on terms such as data, information and knowledge OSS are found. There are some whitepapers must be deﬁned. The following is a summary of Copyright ß 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Syst. Res. 23,177^190 (2006) 178 Jiayin Qi et al.
3. Syst. Res. RESEARCH PAPER Data Processing: Organizing, storing, Data calculating, Retrieving, Reporting Information Information Processing: Reforming, Quantification, Qualification, Clustering, To be communicated learning, Disseminating to others in the form Knowledge of text, computer output, speech and writing words etc. Figure 1. Data, information and knowledge the distinction between data, information and allow for the creation of well-deﬁned transfer- knowledge: able information (Li and Xu, 2001; Li et al., Data are known facts that can be recorded and 2003b). Knowledge discovery (KD) process that have implicit meaning (Elmasri and agglomerates information found by such techni- Navathe, 2004). Information is data placed in a ques as DM in generating domain knowledge meaningful and useful context after that has been (Bendoly, 2003). processed (O’Brien, 2005). Information is user- aimed, providing values and existing in the eyes of the beholder (Spiegler, 2003). Knowledge is Implication of Knowledge Management information synthesized and contextualized to in Systems Perspective provide further value for human activities (Pearlson and Saunders, 2004). The implication of knowledge management has The relationship among data, information and been studied by many authors (Warﬁeld, 1989). knowledge can be depicted as shown in Figure 1. Table 1 summarized the selected ﬁndings. Data is the abstract description of objects and is In this paper, knowledge management is the raw material that is used to generate useful studied in terms of systems theory and the information and knowledge. Information is a perspectives listed in Table 1 will be synthe- ﬂow of processed data after being processed. sized. It is emphasized in this paper that Knowledge involves the capacity of gathering knowledge management can be used to effec- and using information. Knowledge becomes tively manage corporate knowledge assets information when it is articulated or commu- especially those knowledge in business pro- nicated to others in the form of text, computer cesses. Therefore, the objective of knowledge outputs, speech or written words (Alavi and management is considered to promote an Leindner, 2001; Spiegler, 2003). enterprise’s core competency. Such an objective Data warehouse is a large-scale storage facility can be achieved with a systematic process of for data. Knowledge warehousing is an exten- creating, maintaining, employing, sharing and sion of data warehousing to facilitate the captur- renewing knowledge. ing and coding of knowledge and to enhance the retrieval and sharing of knowledge across the Knowledge Management Framework organization (Nemati et al., 2002). Online Analy- in Systems Point of View tical Processing (OLAP) is a software application used to explore the data in ways that are decision Viewing knowledge management as a man- oriented (Shi et al., 2005). Data mining (DM) tools made system, the boundary of the system and Copyright ß 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Syst. Res. 23,177^190 (2006) Knowledge Management in OSS 179
4. RESEARCH PAPER Syst. Res. Table 1. Existing research on the implication of knowledge management Author Perspective Implication Siemieniuch and Sinclair (2004) Process Systematic process of applying expertise Kwan and Balasubramanian (2003) Wang and Ariguzo (2004) Mesaric (2004) Fowler and Pryke (2003) Capability Building core competencies through know-how Badii and Sharif (2003) Tzokas and Saren (2004) Nemati et al. (2002) Relationship Converting information to knowledge the elements of the system needs to be deter- 2000). Human knowledge refers to the knowl- mined. Obviously, the boundary of the knowl- edge acquired by a person that can increase edge management system is the corporate productivity and the contribution to the organi- business environment, while the elements in zation. It also includes other individual qualities the system include knowledge architecture, such as experience, judgement and intelligence. knowledge management process architecture, A ﬁrm’s organizational knowledge includes organization architecture and IT architecture its norms and business guidelines, corporate cul- (Kim et al., 2003). The other questions of interest ture, organizational procedures, as well as strate- include the interaction among these elements, gic alliance. Technological knowledge includes the structure of the system, and the function of knowledge related to the access, use and innova- the system. tion of production techniques and technology (Xu et al., 2005a,b). The relational knowledge Main Factors Inﬂuence Knowledge Management consists of the potential derived from the Knowledge management system is a system to intangible resources related to marketplace, effectively manage knowledge within an enter- such as brands, customer loyalty, long-term prise. Two main factors are considered inﬂuencing customer relationship, distribution channels, etc the needs of practicing knowledge management. (Kanjanasanpetch and Igel, 2003). The ﬁrst factor is competition. If there is a tough The knowledge management process architec- competition in a certain industry sector, managing ture deﬁnes a variety of processes involved in the knowledge is generally in high demand. The other life cycle of knowledge, from its creation to factor is the volume of data. If there is a huge termination. Knowledge creation process, know- volume of data that exist within an enterprise, the ledge maintenance process, knowledge distribu- data resource is available which can help convert tion process and knowledge review and revision data into information as well as knowledge. process are the four steps in the entire knowledge management process (Bhatt et al., 2005). Creativ- Elements of Knowledge Management System ity refers to the ability to originate novel Knowledge architecture, knowledge manage- and useful ideas and solution (Marakas, 2003). ment process architecture, organization architec- An organization creates knowledge through ture and IT architecture are the four elements of its employees who are equipped with knowledge knowledge management system. and generate new ideas by breaking down The so-called knowledge architecture is the business thinking that is no longer viable result of classifying organizational knowledge by (Argyris and Schon, 1996; Lynn et al., 1996). one or more dimensions. Fernandez et al. distin- Knowledge maintenance refers to making use of guished knowledge into human knowledge, existing ‘discovered’ knowledge (Bhatt et al., organizational knowledge, technological knowl- 2005). Knowledge distribution means the sharing edge and relational knowledge (Fernandez et al., of knowledge across the organization. Knowledge Copyright ß 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Syst. Res. 23,177^190 (2006) 180 Jiayin Qi et al.
5. Syst. Res. RESEARCH PAPER review and revision is the modiﬁcation and Both theoretical and empirical researches version management of knowledge. have shown that knowledge management can The organization architecture designs organi- play a key role in creating sustainable competi- zational structure. Organizational structure deﬁ- tive advantages for corporations. In which, the nes the role of each knowledge management team organization architecture is the guarantee of that is responsible for performing or supporting knowledge architecture, knowledge manage- knowledge management process. ment process architecture and IT architecture. The IT architecture is a technical infrastructure Right organization architecture has positive for knowledge management. It deﬁnes compo- effects on the other three elements. On the other nents of knowledge management system and hand, knowledge architecture, knowledge man- their relationships. agement process, and IT architecture all have impacts on organization architecture. Organiza- Interactions Among the Elements in tion architecture has to be adapted to meet the Knowledge Management System needs from the three elements too. Knowledge The four elements in knowledge management architecture is the base of knowledge manage- system are interrelated to each other. Knowledge ment process. The fundamental function of the management system can not attain its purpose knowledge management system is to improve without any one of the elements. the business process and to achieve superior The knowledge architecture is the base of the business performance through effective knowl- knowledge management process. The knowl- edge management process. edge management process consists of the main activities in knowledge management. The orga- nization architecture is responsible for perform- Enterprise Information Systems and ing or supporting knowledge management Knowledge Management process. IT architecture is a facilitator for enhan- cing dynamic capabilities through knowledge Enterprise information system (EIS) is an inte- management (Sher and Lee, 2004). grated information system seeking to integrate every single business process and function in Structure of Knowledge Management System the enterprise to present a holistic view of the According to the interaction among the elements business with a single IT architecture. It is a in knowledge management system, the structure powerful and integrated enterprise-level IT archi- of knowledge management system is shown in tecture that is also designed to facilitate knowl- Figure 2. edge management within an enterprise. The Knowledge Management system Organization Architecture Output Input Corporation Corporation’s with superior business Knowledge Knowledge IT Architecture performance operation Architecture Management Process Figure 2. The framework of knowledge management system Copyright ß 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Syst. Res. 23,177^190 (2006) Knowledge Management in OSS 181