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Structuring and modeling knowledge in the context of enterprise systems

Chan, Tack Wai (2003) Structuring and modeling knowledge in the context of enterprise systems. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

In recent years, the Information Technology (IT) industry has been overwhelmed by a new class of packaged application software collectively known as Enterprise Systems (ES). Enterprise Systems are comprehensive business operating systems that weave together all the data within an organisation's business processes and associated functional areas. In particular, ES provide organisations with the ability to manage data and information in a real-time environment and to integrate operations between various departments; capacities that had been previously unrealized in traditional information systems. ES have since been established as an integral development in the Information Systems (IS) field and extensively studied by academics. The implementation and operation of ES are known to be complex and costly installations that require knowledge and expertise from various areas and sources. The knowledge necessary for managing ES is diverse and varied; it extends from the application of knowledge in different phases of the ES life cycle to the exchange of knowledge between ES vendors, clients and consultants. The communication of knowledge between the various agents adds another dimension to the complex nature of ES. Thus, ES clients have been motivated to reduce costs and retain ES knowledge within the organisation. Research has been conducted on the critical success factors and issues involved in implementing ES. These studies often address the lack of appropriate in-house ES knowledge and the need to actively manage ES-related knowledge. With motivation from another area of research known as Knowledge Management, academia and industry have strived to provide solutions and strategies for managing ES-related knowledge. However, it is often not clear what this 'knowledge' is, what type(s) of knowledge is relevant, who possesses the type(s) of knowledge and how knowledge can be instituted to facilitate the execution of processes. This research aims to identify the relevant knowledge in the context of Enterprise Systems. The types of knowledge required for ES are derived by studying the knowledge (techne)1 for different ES roles, managers and implementation consultants. This provides a perspective for understanding how ES knowledge can be structured. By applying a process modeling approach, the understanding of the relation of ES knowledge to roles and business processes thus gained will demonstrate how knowledge can be modeled. The understanding of ES knowledge and how it can be managed is first formalized by the development of a conceptual framework based on the existing literature. An exploratory study found that the identification of ES knowledge was necessary before the other activities in the knowledge management dimension could be effected. As an appropriate concept of knowledge could not be derived from the IS literature, the concept of techne emerged from a more comprehensive literature review. Techne ('art' or 'applied science' or 'skill') is defined as the trained ability of rationally producing, i.e. the ability to produce something reliably, under a variety of conditions, on the basis of reasoning. This involves having knowledge, or having what seems to be knowledge (awareness) of whatever principles and patterns one relies on. With this foundation, the main focus of the research is on the content analysis of the most popular implementation tool for Enterprise Systems management, ValueSAP. This tool is studied with respect to the types of knowledge (techne), roles and activities in ES implementation. The analysis of ValueSAP thus contributes to the understanding of the structure and distribution of knowledge in ES projects. Consequently, case studies were conducted to understand how the derived ES knowledge can be instituted in business processes using process modeling techniques. This part of the study demonstrates the modeling perspective of the research. 1. The terms 'knowledge' and 'skills' will be used interchangeably for the context of this thesis; where the term 'knowledge' is mentioned, the author refers to the skills required in the ES context. This section is further elaborated in Chapter 2 on techne and skills.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 15897
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Rosemann, Michael& Bruce, Christine
Keywords: Knowledge Management, Enterprise Systems, Process Modeling, Software Implementation
Department: Faculty of Information Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Tack Wai Chan
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 13:52
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:40

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