Mobile business adoption and readiness in South African orgnisations

Kirsten, Etienne (2006-12)

Thesis (MBA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Mobile business, through the use of enabling technologies such as cellular phones, 3G data cards, and wireless technology. is set to provide businesses in South Africa not only with ways of improving their efficiency, but ultimately offer them ways of utilising the fast growing technologies in such a way that it enables them to outmanoeuvre their opposition. With such fast and continuous change comes a possible drawback, being the inability to implement specific technology before it is again outdated by newer, better, cheaper, and more expectant alternatives. South Africa is generally not seen as being at the forefront of the development of mobile and wireless technologies, and as such is not regarded as one of the early adopters such as the typical Asian, USA, and European markets are. This research study sets out to answer the question to what extent larger South African organisations are aware, ready, and willing to embrace and implement the various elements of mobile business into their business models and strategies. In doing so the reporl details the wide variety of enabling technologies available in South Africa. It further goes on to evaluate the South African mobile market and provide a crosssectional view of the current state of mobility in the country. A review is also provided on the most typical types of mobile applications and ways in which mobility is incorporated in the business value chain. The empirical research utilised a self-administered online questionnaire, which was sent to a random selection of companies from those listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE). In total 313 companies were selected and contacted through e-mail solicitation. Endeavours were made to identify the most suitable contact person responsible for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in each firm and, although this was not achieved in all cases, it was possible in by far the majority of the cases. Although the response rate was lower than hoped for, the analysis of the results provided a list of implications for managers that no company who wishes to maximise the potential benefits from the incorporation of mobile technologies, should ignore. Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za iv The research shows that cellular phones and laptops remain the most widely deployed existing technologies. These technologies can be regarded as the essential mobile technologies today. The adoption of 3G technology is further spreading fast and is set to overtake current leader GPRS. On the other side of the scale Bluetooth technology is appearing to become outdated as wireless LAN and Wi-Fi are starting to overtake it as the network standard of choice. Corporate SMS, push e-mail, mobile synchronisation, and VolP are the clear application leaders and are most widely implemented as companies attempt to achieve competitive advantages through their use. An element of possible concem is the fact that senior management enjoys access to the majority of mobile enabling technologies with the distribution significantly distorted in terms of its use by saleslfield staff. It was further evident that operations, as a primary business function in the value chain, enjoy the highest integration of mobile technologies. Opportunity exists to improve efficiency in logistics. Important emerging technologies that were identified are VoIP, converging communication, mobile VPN access, 3G(HSDPA}, Wi-Fi, remote security and monitoring, Instant Messaging, and communication enabled applications. Technology leaders should investigate these technologies set to play major roles in the industry in future. In the technologically advanced world today, and more specifically in South Africa, organisations can ill afford not to embrace the mobile phenomenon. Withhout searching for innovative ways of incorporating mobile technology across all business functions, companies could find themselves losing ground.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Mobiele besigheid, deur die gebruik van mobiele tegnologiee soos sellulere telefone, 3G data kaarte, en koordlose tegnologie, bied aan Suid-Afrikaanse firmas die vermoe om hul effektiwiteit te verbeter en verskaf ook maniere om die snel-groeiende tegnologiee op so 'n manier te benut om 'n mededingende voordeel oor hulle opposisie te verkry. Ongelukkig veroorsaak die snelle groei van die industrie sekere komplikasies. Die vemaamste hiervan is dikwels die onverrnoe om spesifieke tegnologiee te implementeer voordat dit verouderd raak as gevolg van nuwe, beter, en goedkoper tegnologiese alternatiewe in die wereldmark. Verder word Suid-Afrika oor die algemeen nie gesien as een van die leiers op die gebied van mabiele en koordlose tegnologie ontwikkeling nie en word as sodanig nie geklassifiseer as 'n vroee aannemer van tegnologie soos tipiese markte in Asia, Amerika, en Europa nie. Hierdie navorsingstuk ondersoek die vraag tot watter mate groter Suid-Afrikaanse maatskappye bewus, gereed, en bereid is om die verskeie elemente van mabie Ie besigheid aan te neem en in hul besigheidsmodelle en strategiee te implementeer. Die skryfstuk rapporteer sodoende ook detail aangaande die wye spektrum van mobiele tegnologiee wat in Suid Afrika beskikbaar is. Hierna word die huidige Suid-Afrikaanse mobiele mark ontleed en word 'n oorsig verskaf van die mees tipiese mabie!e toepassings en maniere waardeur mobiliteit in die besigheids waardeketting ge'inkorporeer word. Die empiriese navorsing het gebruik gemaak van 'n self geadministreerde aanlyn vraelys wat gestuur is aan 'n groep arbitrer geselekteerde maatskappye wat op die Johannesburgse Sekuriteite Beurs (JSB) genoteer is. Daar is in totaal 313 maatskappye deur middel van e-pos versoeke gekontak. Stappe is gevolg om die mees geskikte persona te identifiseer wat verantwoordelik is vir die lnformasie en Kommunikasie Tegnologie van elke maatskappy. Alhoewel dit nie prakties vennag is nie, is die persone in verreweg die meeste van die gevalle direk gekontak. Ten spyte van die responskoers wat laer was as wat verwag is, bied die analise van die resultate 'n Iys van implikasies wat geen maatskappy, wat poog om die potensiiile voordele as gevolg van die benutting van mobiele besigheid te maksimeer, behoort te ignoreer nie. Die navorsing toon dat sellulere telefone en skootrekenaars die bestaande te9nologie8 is wat steeds die wydste gebruik word, en 'n mens kan hulle daarom beskou as die essensiele mobiele tegnologiee van die dag. Verder word getoon dat die aanneming van 3G tegnologie besig is om vinnig uit te brei en sodoende GPRS begin verbysteek. Aan die ander kant van die skaal blyk dit dat Bluetooth tegnologie besig om uit te sak teenoor koordlose LAN en Wi-Fi, wat meer en meer as die netwerk standaard van voorkeur gesien word. Korporatiewe kort boodskappe, bediener gedrewe e-pos, mobiele sinkronisasie, en Intemet!elefonie (VoIP) is die duidelike toepassing voorlopers en geniet die wydste vlakke van implementering. 'n Element wat moontlik kommerwekkend is, is die feit dat topbestuur toegang tot die meeste mobiele tegnologie geniet met 'n skewe verdeling in terme van die gebruik daarvan deur veld en verkoopspersoneel. Dit is verder duidelik dat die operasionele afdelin9. as een van die primere besigheidsaktiwiteite, die hoogste integrasie van mobiele tegnologie geniet. Daar bestaan egter geleenthede om effektiwiteit in ander afdelings, soos byvoorbeeld logistiek, te verbeter. Belangrike ontluikende tegnologiee wat ge"identifiseer is, is Intemet!elefonie (VoIP), konvergerende kommunikasie, mobiele virtuele private netwerk (VPN) toegang, 3G(HSDPA), Wi-Fi, afstand sekuriteit en monitering, kits boodskappe, en toepassings programmatuur met kommunikasie vermoens. Tegnologie leiers behoort hierdie te9nol09ie8 te ondersoek aangesien dit gerat is am 'n daadwerklik invloed op die industrie uit te oefen. In die hedendaagse tegnologies ontwikkelde wereld, en ook spesifiek in Suid Afrika, word dit al hoe duideliker dat organisasies dit nie meer kan bekostig om die mobiele verskynsel te ignoreer nie. Maatskappye mag weliswaar vind dat hul groei belemmer word sander die gedurige soeke na innoverende maniere om mabiele te9nol09ie in aile fasette van die organisasie te inkorporeer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20754
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