AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
In recent years, the topic of knowledge economy has attracted much research interest. As a result, a substantial number of researches have been conducted on knowledge management from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Studies show that effective knowledge management has a positive effect on enterprise performance and competitive advantage (Ahn and Chang, 2004; Chuang, 2004; Joshi and Sharma, 2004; Tzokas and Saren, 2004; Badii and Sharif, 2003; Cavusgil et al., 2003; Choi and Lee, 2002). For this reason, more and more enterprises have emphasized the importance of knowledge management. Most of them have acquired enterprise information systems (EIS) such as ERP as an integrated platform with intended applications in knowledge management.
Operations Support Systems (OSS) is a mainstream technology which supports large-scale network operation, maintenance and management. It was put forward by TeleManagement Forum (TMF), an international organization that has been contributing to the information and communications services industry for over 15 years. So far OSS has been increasingly adopted by telecom industry with NGOSS (New Generation Operations and Software Systems) as its next generation product. If ERP systems are the EIS mainly help manufacturing industry achieve competitive edge in the global market, OSS plays a similar role in the telecom industry.
Telecommunications industry is a very specific high-tech service industry. The main feature of the telecommunications industry is its tight integration of business process and IT applications; it is very important to use IT to promote its competitiveness. OSS is generally considered as a basic EIS which can also support knowledge management. OSS market and applications are growing. Taking the Asia Pacific market as an example, it generated $8.8 billion of revenues in 2002. Revenues show an increasing trend and the market for OSS is expected to grow at a steady pace. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the revenues for the period 2001-2007 is forecasted to be 6.27 per cent. Industry revenues are forecasted to rise to $11.87 billion by the year 2007.
Although OSS has been acquired by many telecom companies, the shortage of scholastic research on OSS is obvious (Li et al., 2003a). IEEE Xplore provides full text access to IEEE transactions, journals, magazines and conference proceedings since 1998, plus select contents back to 1950, and all the current IEEE standards. Most of the academic publications in telecommunications are included in IEEE Xplore. Using operations support systems as key word, our search matched 189 of 1043417 documents. In these 189 documents, there is only one paper related to the word knowledge. Searching other academic journals, such as Decision Support systems, Expert Systems with Application, Knowledge-Based Systems, Computers in Industry, Expert Systems, Data & Knowledge Engineering, Advanced Engineering Informatics, Logistic Information Management, Information & Management, Telecommunications Policy from 2003 to 2005, no papers on OSS are found. There are some white-papers about OSS at www.tmforum.org, but they are not typical research papers.
Knowledge may not show its significant value until it is embedded in software products or business processes. Only then can its value be fully utilized. OSS is the basic software platform to support value chain management for the telecom industry. OSS should be the enabling tools to fulfil effective knowledge management. How could this objective be achieved? The purpose of this paper is to explore a possible answer to the question.
The paper is organized as follows. 'Knowledge Management in Systems Perspectives' section presents the implication of knowledge management in systems perspectives. The relationship among data, information and knowledge, as well as the relationship between knowledge management and EIS is discussed. In 'Overview of OSS and Knowledge Management in OSS' sections, an overview of OSS and the knowledge management in OSS is discussed. 'Discussion and Conclusion' section provides a summary of the paper and future research.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVES
A system is made up of a set of interacting elements sharing a particular purpose within a boundary. The interaction among elements forms the structure of a system. Depending on its boundary, a system can be an economic entity, an inventory system, or a business organization. Knowledge management is an element of the organizational management system (Warfield, 1989). From the point of view of the concept of whole, a knowledge management system promotes the effective use of knowledge assets of an enterprise as a whole over time, and is an impetus to the performance of the enterprise.
Data, Information and Knowledge
Prior to discussing knowledge management, the terms such as data, information and knowledge must be defined. The following is a summary of the distinction between data, information and knowledge:
Data are known facts that can be recorded and that have implicit meaning (Elmasri and Navathe, 2004). Information is data placed in a meaningful and useful context after that has been processed (O'Brien, 2005). Information is user-aimed, providing values and existing in the eyes of the beholder (Spiegler, 2003). Knowledge is information synthesized and contextualized to provide further value for human activities (Pearlson and Saunders, 2004).
The relationship among data, information and knowledge can be depicted as shown in Figure 1. Data is the abstract description of objects and is the raw material that is used to generate useful information and knowledge. Information is a flow of processed data after being processed. Knowledge involves the capacity of gathering and using information. Knowledge becomes information when it is articulated or communicated to others in the form of text, computer outputs, speech or written words (Alavi and Leindner, 2001; Spiegler, 2003).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Data warehouse is a large-scale storage facility for data. Knowledge warehousing is an extension of data warehousing to facilitate the capturing and coding of knowledge and to enhance the retrieval and sharing of knowledge across the organization (Nemati et al., 2002). Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) is a software application used to explore the data in ways that are decision oriented (Shi et al., 2005). Data mining (DM) tools allow for the creation of well-defined transferable information (Li and Xu, 2001; Li et al., 2003b). Knowledge discovery (KD) process agglomerates information found by such techniques as DM in generating domain knowledge (Bendoly, 2003).
Implication of Knowledge Management in Systems Perspective
The implication of knowledge management has been studied by many …