Knowledge Management Processes in Enterprise Systems: A Systematic Literature Review

Knowledge Management Processes in Enterprise Systems: A Systematic Literature Review

Razatulshima Ghazali (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia) and Nor Hidayati Zakaria (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1993-7.ch001
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Activities related to Enterprise Systems (ES) are knowledge-intensive tasks, and the management of ES-related knowledge has received much attention in the Knowledge Management (KM) field. A systematic literature review of empirical studies of KM processes in the ES lifecycle identifies the KM processes most widely explored and the ES-related knowledge most often addressed. From 350 relevant book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers, 49 papers discuss KM processes in the ES lifecycle. The KM process that appears most often in studies of KM in the ES context is knowledge transfer/sharing. The type of ES-related knowledge most often studied in the literature is knowledge of the client organization.
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The dynamic and competitive business environment today motivates many organizations to take action by investing in Enterprise Systems (ES). These complex integrated information systems promise to bring advantages by improving competitive positioning (Badii & Sharif, 2003; Alfirević & Račić, 2004; Andreu & Sieber, 2005; Dorobat & Nastase, 2010). Many researchers have postulated the benefits of ES (Grant, 1996; Aladwani, 2002; Badii & Sharif, 2003; Ko, Kirsch, & King, 2005; Vandaie, 2008; Dorobat & Nastase, 2010), and have identified that ES investment is linked to promised benefits such as operational improvements, enhanced technology infrastructure, cost-effective operations, integration of isolated systems, and seamless integration of information across financial management, human resources, customer relationships, logistics, and other areas.

Implementing such complex systems involves diverse streams of knowledge in software, business processes, and operational processes and requires the involvement of top management and experts. Managing the tacit and explicit knowledge in the ES, validating this knowledge and putting all of this together is also a big issue in organizations (Dittrich, Vaucouleur, & Giff, 2009; Dorobat & Nastase, 2010; Bani-Hani, Hinde, & Jackson, 2011). ES are “knowledge-intensive” as they involve configuring and testing, installing, training, maintenance and support, and due to this characteristic, the need to pay special attention to Knowledge Management (KM) is crucial in order to ensure the organization is not wasting the huge investment in ES. Due to this complexity, many researchers have suggested that KM is a key driver throughout the ES lifecycle of pre-implementation, implementation and post-implementation (Pan, Newell, Huang, & Cheung, 2001; O’Leary, 2002; McGinnis & Huang, 2004; Vandaie, 2008; Sedera, 2009; Sudzina, Kirchner, & Razmerita, 2009). One of the important aspects is to see KM from the “process” perspective such as knowledge sharing, integration, storage, capture and transfer (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). In process view studies, the process view of KM is examined to understand how KM can support the ES lifecycle activities.

KM process research has dominated the study of ES in recent years. With the volume of KM process research in the ES context expanding constantly, it is becoming more difficult to evaluate which KM process is most likely, which ES lifecycle activity the KM processes influence the most and what types of ES-related knowledge those KM processes address. We define the research questions to be answered as follows:

  • 1.

    Which KM processes appear most in the literature on the KM process for ES?

  • 2.

    What types of ES-related knowledge do those studies on KM processes address the most?

  • 3.

    Which ES lifecycle phase do those studies on KM processes concentrate on the most?

This chapter is structured as follows: Section 2 presents the background and general theories on KM, KM processes, ES and the ES lifecycle. Section 3 describes the research method that we used to select and review the data material for our research. Section 4 presents the chosen framework for analysis and the results of the systematic review according to our chosen framework. In Section 5, we discuss the findings and their implications. For future research, we identify the most important research gaps. For practitioners, we provide recommendations on how to use the results in practice. Section 6 concludes.

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