Towards a reference architecture for integrated knowledge networks

Gous, Johannes Hendrik (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD) -- Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis has as its focus the engineering of integrated knowledge networks (IKNs) through the use of a reference architecture. The purpose of the study is to gain a deeper understanding of the constructional principles underlying this class of collaborative networks. Although IKNs and enterprise engineering are both seen as promising approaches to the challenges of the Information Age, significant challenges still exist in the engineering of IKNs. Our globalised and commercialised society may currently be characterised by both extreme complexity and extreme rates of change. Enterprise engineering is seen as a promising approach to equip enterprises with the characteristics that are desirable in the modern economy, including flexibility and agility. Enterprise architecture contributes to this endeavour by providing a high-level design of the enterprise that allows for integrated engineering of the enterprise. From a commercial point of view, it has been widely recognised that the ability to innovate and generate new knowledge through the development of new products, services and processes is a key factor in the survival of enterprises. The latest trends in innovation management, however, show that the innovation process is no longer one that is executed inside a single enterprise, giving rise to the development of inter-organisational innovation networks. Furthermore, the importance of knowledge as a dynamic enabler of this networked innovation approach is highlighted. This has lead to the emergence of IKNs in which knowledge is created and shared between network stakeholders in order to foster sustainable innovation. The increasing rate of change means that enterprises, including IKNs, have progressively less time to react to market changes and opportunities. The emphasis is therefore on the potential of the EE and EA disciplines as tools to adapt to the dynamic landscape of the Information Age. At present, the ability to apply comprehensive enterprise engineering to IKNs is hampered by the lack of resources that describes sound constructional principles for these networks. The focus of this study is therefore on the application of the enterprise engineering discipline to IKNs through the development of a reference architecture. The reference architecture for IKNs is developed through design science research within a pragmatic and qualitative research strategy. The research problem is first identified and motivated. Various solution objectives are subsequently defined. This is followed by the design and development of the reference architecture through four iterative design cycles. A qualitative systematic review is conducted and serves as the foundation for the development of various reference models. The reference architecture for IKNs is demonstrated and evaluated through a series of illustrative scenarios, after which the utility, novelty and design rigour of the artefact is communicated. It was found that the reference architecture provides constructional principles in the engineering of IKNs, thus enabling the design, operation and research of this class of collaborative networks. The study therefore takes a first step toward extending the concept of EE to IKNs, and collaborative networks in general. This enables the greater adaptability of these networks to the dynamic environment of the Information Age.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die ontwikkeling van geïntegreerde kennisnetwerke (GK’s) aan die hand van ‘n verwysingsargitektuur. Die doel van die studie is om ’n beter begrip van die onderliggende ontwerpbeginsels van hierdie klas kollaborasie netwerke te kry. Alhoewel beide GK’s en ondernemingsingenieurswese beskou word as belowende benaderings tot die uitdagings van die Inligtingsera, bestaan beduidende uitdagings steeds in die ontwikkeling van GK’s. Ons geglobaliseerde, gekommersialiseerde samelewing word tans gekenmerk deur beide buitengewone kompleksiteit en buitengewone tempo-verandering. Ondernemingsingenieurswese word beskou as ’n belowende benadering om ondernemings toe te rus met die eienskappe wat in aanvraag is in die moderne ekonomie, insluitend aanpasbaarheid en vlugheid. Ondernemingsargitektuur dra by tot hierdie poging deur ’n hoëvlak ontwerp van die onderneming te voorsien wat geïntegreerde ontwikkeling van die onderneming toelaat. Vanuit ’n kommersiële oogpunt word dit ruim aanvaar dat die vermoë om te innoveer en nuwe kennis te ontwikkel deur die ontwikkeling van nuwe produkte, dienste en prosesse ’n kernfaktor in die oorlewing van ondernemings is. Die jongste benadering in innovasiebestuur toon aan dat die innovasieproses nie meer slegs in een onderneming uitgevoer word nie. Dit lei dan tot interorganisasie-innovasienetwerke. Die belangrikheid van kennis as ’n dinamiese instaatsteller van hierdie netwerk-innovasiebenadering word verder beklemtoon. Dit het gelei tot die ontstaan van GK’s waarin kennis tot stand gebring en gedeel word tussen netwerk belanghebbendes om sodoende volhoubare innovasie te bevorder. Die toenemende tempo in verandering beteken dat ondernemings, insluitende GK’s, toenemend minder tyd het om op markveranderings en -geleenthede te reageer. Die klem val daarom op die ondernemingsingenieursweseen ondernemingsargitektuur-dissiplines as hulpmiddels om by die dinamiese landskap van die Inligtingsera aan te pas. Tans word die vermoë om omvattende ondernemingsingenieurswese in GK’s te beoefen, gekniehalter deur die tekort aan hulpbronne wat grondige konstruksie-beginsels vir hierdie netwerke beskryf. Die fokus van hierdie studie is daarom die toepassing van die ondernemingsingenieurswese-dissipline op GK’s deur die ontwikkeling van ’n verwysingsargitektuur. Die verwysingsargitektuur vir GK’s word ontwikkel deur ontwerpwetenskapnavorsing binne ’n pragmatiese en kwalitatiewe navorsingstrategie. Die navorsingsprobleem word eers geïdentifiseer en gemotiveer. Verskeie oplossingsdoelwitte word vervolgens bepaal. Hierna geskied die ontwerp en ontwikkeling van die verwysingsargitektuur deur middel van die vier herhalende ontwerpsiklusse. Die verwysingsargitektuur vir GK’s word gedemonstreer en geëvalueer deur ’n reeks beeldende scenario’s, waarna die bruikbaarheid, nuutheid en ontwerpstrengheid van die artefak gekommunikeer word. Dit is bevind dat die verwysingsargitektuur konstruksiebeginsels in die ontwikkeling van GK’s voorsien en sodoende die ontwerp, werk en navorsing in hierdie klas kollaborasie netwerke moontlik maak. Dié studie neem ‘n eerste tree in die rigting om die konsep van ondernemingsingenieurswese tot GK’s uit te brei. Dit maak die groter aanpasbaarheid van hierdie netwerke by die dinamiese omgewing van die Inligtingsera moontlik.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95799
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