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PROJECT TOPIC  : USING INFORMATION SYSTEMS TO ACHIEVE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE USE OF IS BY Equity Bank Nigeria Plc.

PROJECT PROPOSAL/CHAPTER ONE

1.1 INTRODUCTION

Over the last decade, the rise in the importance of information and knowledge for business activity has become phenomenal (Marji and Philip, 2005). Information is now critical for the management and growth of business value. Knowledge about competitors and customers is essential to understand the future direction of business development.

Information systems can be defined as a set of interrelated components that collect, process , store and distribute information to support decision making , coordination and control in an organisation.(Laudon, 2004)

Authors like (Bocij, 2003) have argued that information systems can also be used as a source of competitive advantage to increase turnover, and reduce operating cost of a business and keep customers locked to a firm.

The banking sector in Nigeria today is highly competitive and competition is expected to intensify as new players enter the market. As the competitive environment becomes more challenging to operate, banks will need to maintain their competitive edge through adoption of new technology (Bocij 2003).

Over the past decades, banks in Nigeria have evolved from being institutions that only engage in delivering services manually with disconnected branches that have congested banking halls to banks that can now compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world. Equatorial Trust Bank epitomises this advancement. The advent of value cards, Automated teller machines and mobile banking attest to this assertion.

In the light of the above, it is would be beneficial to analyse how Equity bank made use of information systems to achieve competitive edge in the face of stiff competition.

This study is aimed at analysing the use of IS in the banking sector in Nigeria. This is of particular importance to the finance sector and also to the country as a whole.

1.2 RESEARCH QUESTION
The research questions addressed in this study is: What are the benefits that organisations stand to gain from using information systems as a tool in a competitive environment – in a developing country context like Nigeria?

I hope that a study like this one will contribute to the discourse on the importance of IS in the banking sector of Nigeria.

1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this research will be:
To develop a framework for the use of IS in the finance sector. In doing so, the study will address a host of other relevant issues including;
1. Investigating how the use of IS has affected the business processes and activities in EBN plc.
2. Investigating the impact of IS on the profitability of EBN plc
3. Analysing IS in relation to customer patronage and loyalty
4. To identify the barriers faced in the use of IS in EBN Plc

1.4 METHODOLOGY
To achieve the purpose of this dissertation, the case study approach will be used. It is the critical analysis of an event which gives the opportunity of testing a theoretical proposition with the available data. (Rose 1993). It is also defined as an empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporary issue or event within its real –life context (Walshman 1995).

In using the case study methodology, both qualitative and quantitative approach will be used to proof the theoretical argument that information systems can be used to achieve competitive advantage, this will be done by analysing the bank performances over the years otherwise known as the “pattern matching technique”.

Secondary information will be used in the form of published reports by the company, and from professional bodies like Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), internet, articles and books to seek information on how information systems have benefited the bank. Also questionnaires will be administered to get the views of senior managers and the employees who are at the operational level of the bank on how they think the use of IS has helped them in achieving competitive advantage.

The strength of the case study approach is that it enables the capture of reality in considerable greater detail than is possible with any of the other methodologies; however its weaknesses include the fact that its application is usually restricted to a single event/organisation. (Galliers 1992).

The information extracted from annual reports and others supplied by the bank will be used cautiously to draw inference when considering their performance.
Information in this research will be mainly extracted from the bank’s annual reports which were certified by an independent auditing firm.

1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
The scope of this study will be limited to the confines of the case study company,EBN Plc.
Information System is a new phenomenon in Nigeria as a whole and in the banking sector in particular, the author feel that in order to achieve the purpose of this dissertation it will be right to research into the use of IS in a bank that is blazing the trail in using IS to discharge services to its customers. It is therefore worth researching how EBN Plc has been able to use IS to gain a large market in the banking sector.

The scope of this research is defined into 3 areas
• Technology – information system
• Business environment- Equity Bank Nigeria Plc
• Geographical Area- Nigeria

1.6 BRIEF HISTORY OF EQUITY BANK PLC

EBN PLC now a member of the intercontinental group was incorporated in Nigeria as a private Limited Liability Company in December of 1988 and commenced operation in January 1989 as Meridian Equity bank of Nigeria limited and later became EBN Plc in May 25 , 1995.
The mission of the EBN plc is “to add value to our customer through innovative product and services by deploying a highly professional work force and cutting edge technology while being socially responsible”.

The paid up capital was increased from 200,000,000(£800,000) in 1999 to 800,000,000 (£320,000) in 2004 (EBN Annual report 2004).
The new management that came on board re-organised and restructured the whole activities of the bank and employed new staff with technology orientation. As at this time the total number of customer is about 2000. This performance is appalling considering the capacity of economy that is estimated at £25billion and with population of about 120 million prospective customers.

The aim of the management was to map out a strategy of increasing their customer base, the figure on their balance sheet and to also increase their profit.
They emphasised the need to create technology driven product and services to attract and retain their customer as well as work towards cost reduction and increase revenue generation for their share holder in the face of intense competition in the banking industry. In order to achieve this aim, they sought the share holders’ approval to use part of the paid up capital to fund this technology initiative and was approved at the annual general of 1999.

The aim of the management of EBN plc was to use technology as competitive tool to win customer by introducing innovative ways of doing banking business which has never been used in the industry thereby becoming the trail blazers.
In order to explore the benefit of technology the management of the bank, set up a committee of five senior management staff to consult banks in the developed economies on the best information systems to be deployed in the bank, they visited financial institutions in South Africa, United kingdom U.S.A and India. They finally agreed to use 2 packages known as FINACLE (financial oracle) developed by infosys, inc. India and “EQUINOX” with V-SAT communication link to the entire branches nation wide.

The explanation given by the team that went abroad to choose the package was that they chose the package because of its ability to reach customers through additional channel of internet and mobile communication. After three years of the launch of the technological solution the Managing Director of EBN plc Mr Akin Ajayi was quoted as saying “it was clear to us that in order to put banking services at your fingertips, our technology has to be cutting edge, at inception it was not possible to justify the huge capital outlay on the basis of short term return.

However, we took a long term view of our investment in the acquisition of appropriate technology consistent with our mission. This has paid off; today Equity bank is one of the few banks in Nigeria that offers real-time online transaction”.
The technology packages that other banks in the country were using at that time did not have the capabilities for internet and mobile communication to reach their customers.
The whole package was launched by the vice president of Nigeria Alh. Atiku Abubakar

1.7 Synopsis of the Dissertation

This dissertation study is organized into five chapters and each chapter handles different area of discussion


Chapter One

This is the introductory chapter, it introduces the dissertation topic, and also it throws more light on the history of the case study company, the research objectives, the research questions, and the methodology that will be used in achieving the objective of the dissertation

Chapter Two.

This chapter is a review of relevant literatures. It takes an in-depth look at the theoretical framework of competitive advantage and the contributions of various authors on how organisations can create one to edge their competitors .The literature review also treats the commonly mixed terms of information systems and information technology. It then concludes by looking at the IS driven products and services of EBN plc.

Chapter Three.

This chapter explores the theory of methodology, methodology adopted for this dissertation and the reason for using the method.

Chapter Four.

This chapter addressed the analysis of data collected from the bank’s annual report and the questionnaires administered. Indicators like profitability, balance sheet and customer size were analysed to ascertain the level of improvement recorded in these areas over the years under consideration pointing out variations and similarities with the understanding of the subject in general. The chapter also contains self-constructed diagrams, tables and figures.

Chapter Five

This is the chapter that summarises all the findings from the dissertation, it then concludes by considering the theoretical argument of IS as a competitive advantage with systematic confirmation of increase in EBN plc performances as an evidence and the noticed reduction in the operating cost of the transactions initiated through internet and mobile communication. Recommendations were also made for better implementation of IS.

PROJECT PROPERTIES
Project Status
Available
Number of Chapters
5
Number of Pages
69
Number of Words
14,633
Number of References
31
Project Level
B.Sc.
Price
N10,000 - Ten Thousand Naira (Non-Negotiable)
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