A case study of the implementing user empowerment in the financial services industry
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In an increasingly competitive and cost conscious business environment, the Chief information officer and business leaders are seeking to extract greater value from their technologies. At the same time, business employees are more technically proficient than they have ever been, largely on the back of emerging trends such as the consumerisation of Information and communications technology. The convergence of this need to extract greater value from technology, and an increasingly technology savvy employee is the trend known as user empowerment. User empowerment implies the transfer of responsibilities and activities traditionally performed within the Information and communications technology function of a business to the business operations function. In this report, the implementation of a user empowerment program is explored via a case study at Maitland Group South Africa, a financial services firm based in Cape Town, South Africa. Through this study, user empowerment is shown to have significant benefits to the business operations, improving the job satisfaction experienced by business employees who felt they were able to add additional value to the daily operations. In addition, user empowerment is shown to decrease risk, increase operational agility, increase efficiency and improve quality, thereby resulting in an improved customer experience. The experience at Maitland Group South Africa as explored through the case study survey is aligned to this, with the business having achieved all of these benefits. The business has also experienced some negative impacts, especially in the first few months following the implementation of the program, resulting from a weak understanding and appreciation of Information and communications technology governance amongst business users. The concept of user empowerment is challenging to the Information and communications technology function, especially those who have traditionally favoured a centrally run command and control type model. The aversion the traditional Information and communications technology leader might have to user empowerment is realised if sufficient understanding of the software development lifecycle and associated governance processes are not transferred to business operations. In those instances where end-users are empowered to perform activities traditionally performed within Information and communications technology, without the appropriate understanding of best practice and good governance procedures, the overall risk to the business can be increased by empowering users. This risk is driven by poorly designed process, usually on the back of poor testing and weak supporting documentation. Overall though, if properly and appropriately executed, the benefits to the business of user empowerment far exceeds the possible negative consequences.