Academic journal article Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences

Acquiring Domain Knowledge of Information Systems: The Information System upon Information Systems Approach

Academic journal article Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences

Acquiring Domain Knowledge of Information Systems: The Information System upon Information Systems Approach

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Nowadays, knowledge is viewed as a significant asset for organizations. Consequently, knowledge management has become an important factor to take into account within and between organizations. This paper proposes an approach for acquiring domain knowledge of information systems (IS) based on conceptual specifications. It is argued that the development process of information systems may include several development and maintenance projects, which could be carried out in parallel, and each project may use its own software process and development method. In order to support the different activities of the IS development process, it is suggested that the development process itself needs a knowledge architecture for managing its domain knowledge. To that end, we propose a knowledge architecture called Information System upon Information Systems (ISIS). An ISIS is considered as a new knowledge-based infrastructure which coexists with other IS infrastructures. It aims at managing the IS domain knowledge. Knowledge management involves activities such as acquiring, analyzing, preserving, and using knowledge. In the present paper, we suggest an approach for acquiring IS domain knowledge, including its identification and organization.

INTRODUCTION

Nowadays, knowledge is viewed as a significant asset for organizations. Consequently, knowledge management has become an important factor to take into account within and between organizations. Activities of knowledge management include acquisition, analysis, preservation, and application of knowledge. Knowledge management allows an organization to leverage its information resources and knowledge assets by remembering and applying experience (Jetter et al., 2006; Watson, 2003).

Domain knowledge is defined as the knowledge of the area to which a set of theoretical concepts is applied and is fundamental to all disciplines (Alexander, 1992). Concerning the information systems (IS) discipline, the term "IS domain knowledge" has dual significance (Khatri et al, 2006) : (a) providing representations, methods, techniques, and tools that form the basis for the development of information systems; (b) providing the solutions for real-world problems in a given business area using those information systems.

The development process of information systems is becoming more and more complex. It may include several development and maintenance projects that are at different stages of their life cycles. Projects may be carried out in parallel and in a distributed environment, and they may employ different software processes, methods, and tools. This tendency offers numerous potential advantages, but also leads to certain challenges regarding the capacity to manage and coordinate effectively such environments.

In our research, we address the challenge of managing the development process using IS domain knowledge. Our work aims at proposing a theoretical framework for a knowledge architecture that supports the management of IS domain knowledge. The knowledge architecture is performed by a typical information system. We called that information system: Information System upon Information Systems (ISIS) (Le Dinh, 2004).

An ISIS can be viewed as a new knowledge-based infrastructure that coexists with other IS infrastructures. The ISIS helps an organization to handle its IS domain knowledge, including acquiring, analyzing, preserving, and using domain knowledge.

Furthermore, conceptual specifications of the business domains are tied to play an important role in the construction of deliverables, which are consumed or produced in the IS development process (Moody, 1998; Witt & Simsion, 2004). Conceptual specifications can be found in requirement and design documents, in implemented systems, as well as in user manuals. In fact, we consider that conceptual specifications, which represent the semantic content of information at the conceptual level, are the key information resources used in the IS development process. …

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