1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The 19th century saw astonishing developments in communication technology originating in Europe. In 20th century information technology developed rapidly due to the scientific gains directly tied to military research and development, as they did in part due to World War II (Musiime and Biyaki, 2010).
Today’s business environment is very dynamic and undergoes rapid changes as a result of technological innovation, increased awareness and demand from customers. Organisations are confronted with rapidly changing market conditions, indicated by high merger rates and strong competitors. Under these conditions, traditional management approaches that focus on financial figures and on centralised, analytical planning methods are considered to be insufficient for effectively steering the organisation in a dynamical environment (Hoffmann, 2002). Recent management support approaches like intellectual capital or particularly the balanced scorecard aim at providing a broader view of organisational performance. They combine both financial and non-financial aspects and comprise activities not only to monitor but also to plan and influence organisational performance (Hoffmann, 2002). Their success demonstrates the strong demand for this so-called comprehensive performance management.
The role of technology in the “Information Age” is well recognized by business, industry, and government and is completely woven into their organisational structures and strategic planning processes. Glover (1993) emphasized technology’s role when he said “that the quality of strategic planning is limited by the quality of information available to decision makers…” and that executive information systems were critical in furnishing the necessary data which produced information. Business organisations, especially the banking industry of the 21st century operate in a complex and competitive environment characterized by these changing conditions and highly unpredictable economic climate. ICT directly affects how managers decide, how they plan and what products and services are offered in the banking industry. It has continued to change the way banks and their corporate relationships are organized worldwide and the variety of innovative devices available to enhance the speed and quality of service delivery. Laudon and Laudon (1991) contend that managers of both public and private sector organisations cannot ignore Information Systems because they play a critical role in contemporary organisation. They point out that the entire cash flow of most fortune 500 companies in the world is linked to Information System.
At the corporate level, ICT represents an important venue for spending (Weill et al, 2002) as a vehicle for growth. Increasingly, many of the IT-related expenses are directed to developing nations (Roztocki, Pick et al, 2004). For example, during the period 2002-2004, 500 global ICT companies including Microsoft, IBM, Siemens, Alcatel, Motorola, Nokia, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle implemented over 1000 projects in developing nations dominating the largest share of ICT investments (O’Connell, 2004).
The ICT infrastructure evolved to become a critical factor driving productivity and growth in global economies with varying implications among developed and developing nations (Steinmueller, 2001). It is important for developing nations not to isolate themselves from the changes occurring due to the developments in the ICT globally (Gholami et al, 2004). This is partially because ICT is transforming the global economy and creating new networks that cross cultures as well as minimize distances. However, it is important to note that increased investments in ICT without the involvement of other socioeconomic factors may not improve growth in developing nations (Mbarika et al, 2003).
Information Technology (IT), also known as information and communication(s) technology (ICT), is a term that describes the combination of computer technology which is hardware and software with telecommunications technology such as data, image and voice networks. According to Lucas (1997), Information Technology refers to all forms of technology applied to processing, storing and transmitting information in electronic form. The physical equipment used for this purpose includes computers, communications equipment and networks.
Performance is defined as valued contribution to reach the goals of an organization. Contributions can be made by individuals or groups of employees as well as by external groups. In the past, the measurement of performance was usually restricted to a financial perspective, resulting in various limitations like a focus on the internal aspects of the company, a limited transparency of the roots and causes of corporate performance, as well as late availability of performance-related information. In order to overcome these limitations, performance has to be considered as a multidimensional phenomenon (Steven, 2002).
Performance requirements are derived from the company’s strategy or vision as well as from its stakeholders, e.g. customers, suppliers or shareholders. However, it is not sufficient to focus only on the management perspective of the performance management concept. Like other management approaches, performance management can only be implemented successfully, if strategic planning is tightly linked to operational execution. Therefore, the integration of strategies, organisational structures and business processes by the use of specialised information technology is considered a vital part of performance management concept. It has to be ensured that strategy changes trigger modifications on the business process level and the supporting information technology, and that innovations on the information system or the process level initiate the adjustment of the company’s strategy. Due to different life cycles and varying actor groups, the alignment of strategy, business processes and information technology support often turns out to be difficult and expensive (Steven, 2002).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Many constraints and hardships were experienced by bank branches in the pre-ICT era. The total number of accounts handled manually by branches with the allocated staff members was limited. Hence the opening of new accounts was restricted in most of the high level branches. Before the implementation of e-banking, customers had to visit their own branch to withdraw cash. Branches were opened only during the specified time durations. Banking hours were restricted. Branch staff could not leave the branch until they balance their day’s accounting. In some instances, balancing was extended to late nights. Daily balancing, month-end balancing and year-end balancing were tedious tasks to operational staff of the branch. Branches had to offer more restricted banking hours during such periods.
There were long waiting queues at branches on special days when the branch staff could not handle the workload. Fund transfer between two accounts belonging to separate branches or banks was a complicated task and it took several days to effect the transaction. Reconciliation of main accounts took many days and they were usually two to three days behind. Extraction of past records was a task of searching through huge paper files and documents. Customer advice and statements were type written. Even the balance inquiry was a complex task. Customers were given lengthy account numbers as the branch codes and ledger numbers were incorporated in the account numbers for easy identification. There was no easy way to extract instant ad-hoc MIS reports for decision-making. There were no cashless shopping, marketing or holidaying. People had to carry cash with them. Credit cards and debit cards were not available. Thus; the study focuses on the Effects of ICT on the Performance of Nigerian Commercial Banks.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The specific objectives of the study are:
- To ascertain the relationship between ICT and organisational performance.
- To identify the effects of ICT on employees’ performance.
- To identify the challenges encountered in the application of ICT.
- To determine the impact of ICT on Nigerian commercial banks.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study will focus on answering the following research questions;
- What is the relationship between ICT and organisational performance?
- What are the effects of ICT on employees’ performance?
- What are the challenges encountered in the application of ICT?
- What impact has ICT on Nigerian commercial banks?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses were formulated for this study;
- H0: There is no significant relationship between ICT and organisational performance.
H1: There is significant relationship between ICT and organisational performance.
- H0: Error rate reduction and speed in operations are not effects of ICT on employees’ performance.
H1: Error rate reduction and speed in operations are the effects of ICT on employees’ performance.
- H0: Nigeria’s poor infrastructure and inadequate government support on ICT are not some of the challenges encountered in the application of ICT in the banking sector.
H1: Nigeria’s poor infrastructure and inadequate government support on ICT are some of the challenges encountered in the application of ICT in the banking sector.
- H0: Quality and effective service delivery, reduction of cost of operation and increase of output are not some of the positive impacts of ICT in Nigerian commercial banks.
H1: Quality and effective service delivery, reduction of cost of operation and increase of output are some of the positive impacts of ICT in Nigerian commercial banks.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A study of this nature is expedient as well as timely, coming at a time when ICT has taken over in the banking sector. The banking industry contributes to the development of the Nigerian economy, a study on assessing Effects of ICT on the Performance of Nigerian Commercial Banks is significant.
This study will also help the management and the employees of banks to focus more of the implications of ICT on their performance. Finally, the study will help future researchers to embark on related studies.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on the following areas: Information and Communication Technology defined; ICT: a perspective of Nigerian Banks; ICT and Nigerian Banking Sector, Banking services; Products of ICT in the Banking Sector; Benefits of ICT in the Nigerian Banking sector; Challenges of ICT in the Nigerian Banking sector; and ICT and Organisational Performance.
However, this study was carried out in the following commercial banks within Enugu Metropolis; Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.