- A-Z Publications
- South African Journal of Information Management
- Previous Issues
- Volume 18, Issue 1, 2016
South African Journal of Information Management - Volume 18, Issue 1, 2016
Volumes & issues
Volume 18, Issue 1, 2016
Safeguarding information as an asset : do we need a redefinition in the knowledge economy and beyond? : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –12 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.706More Less
Background: With the evolution of data, via information into knowledge and beyond, intangible information assets (seen as an integral part of IT assets in this article) increasingly come to fore. A contemporary issue facing organisations in the knowledge economy and beyond is how best to safeguard and derive optimum value from their evolving information assets. A well-known fact is that risk exists because there is the possibility of threats to an asset. Likewise, no assets equals no risk. Although a large body of work is addressing threat models, the nature of the assets of the knowledge economy and beyond has not been well researched.
Objectives: To investigate the definition of information assets across a number of financial, risk and information technology standards, frameworks and regulations, in order to ascertain whether a coherent definition exists across the board. If there is none (or limited), then propose a workable definition that is apt for the knowledge economy and beyond.
Method: Qualitative thematic content analysis and a comparative study based on four main themes (Assets, Types of Asset, Information, and Information Assets). This then serves as a basis for argumentation schemes that lead to a proposed re-definition. The qualitative research approach assists us to address the concern of the incoherent definition of information and information assets across the board.
Results: Contrary to expectations, the research study found the current definition to be incoherent. When the asset to be controlled is not properly defined and understood, it stands the risk of not being identified properly. This implies that the effectiveness, efficiency, reliability of internal control, and compliance with the applicable legislation and regulations would not be appropriate. This article highlights the need for a fundamental shift in how information assets (valuable, but unvalued organisational intangible assets) are being viewed and treated, especially with regard to information risk and internal controls.
Conclusion: This article has identified a major defect in most standards, frameworks, and regulations dealing with regard to the safeguarding and management of information assets (and IT assets). It has established from the review carried out that information assets have not been properly defined across the board. Beyond this significant finding, it was further shown that the principle of risk (assessment) across the board requires the identification of the asset that needs to be controlled. A starting point, then, is a coherent definition (as proposed) for the information asset in itself. Therefore, proper definition across the board might assists in proper identification that could result in appropriate control and graceful handling of the end-of-life disposal.
Factors influencing access to agricultural knowledge : the case of smallholder rice farmers in the Kilombero district of Tanzania : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –8 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.679More Less
Background: Access to agricultural knowledge is important in transforming livelihoods of those relying on agriculture for a living and in enhancing food security. This access to agricultural knowledge is influenced by infrastructure needed for information dissemination.However, information infrastructure is not uniformly distributed within and between countries. It is because of this that some of the farming communities are information rich while others are information poor. In Tanzania, the agricultural sector is characterised by poor research-extension-farmers linkage and inaccessibility of agricultural knowledge at farm level.
Objective: The study investigated the factors influencing access to agricultural knowledge among smallholder rice farmers in the Kilombero district of Tanzania. Specifically, the study identified categories of agricultural knowledge needed by farmers, determined how farmers access agricultural knowledge, and assessed the factors limiting the accessibility of agricultural knowledge among rice farmers in the Kilombero district.
Method: Quantitative data were collected via semi-structured questionnaires administered face-to-face with rice farmers, community leaders, and agricultural agents in four villages at the Kilombero district of the Morogoro region in Tanzania.
Results: The key finding indicates that farmers accessed and used agricultural knowledge in undertaking agricultural activities. It was further revealed that the level of acquisition of agricultural knowledge increased with an increase in age. Farmers needed agricultural knowledge on land preparation, seed selection, and rice planting, while few acquired knowledge on agricultural markets. Among the agricultural knowledge sources used,demonstration plots and agricultural extension agents were found to be used by the majority of the farmers. It was also found that a limited number of demonstration plots, late delivery of information services, a limited number of agricultural extension agents, and poor information and communication technologies infrastructure hindered access to agricultural knowledge among rice farmers in the district.
Conclusion: A strong public-private partnership is needed to enhance access to agricultural knowledge in rural areas. In this regard, the government should set up policies and strategies that motivate private sector investment and involvement in provision of agricultural knowledge in rural areas. The private sector should extend their agricultural-related activities to most rural areas so that more people can have access to agricultural knowledge.
Use of Web 2.0 by students in the Faculty of Information Science and Communications at Mzuzu University, Malawi : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –12 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.694More Less
Background: Over the years, advancements in Internet technologies have led to the emergence of new technologies such as Web 2.0, which have taken various sectors including higher education by storm. Web 2.0 technologies are slowly but surely penetrating higher education in developing countries with much hype, according to the literature. This justifies the need for original research that aims at demystifying the application and exploiting the promises that come along with these so-called versatile technologies.
Objectives: The specific objectives of the study were to ascertain students' awareness of and familiarity with Web 2.0 technologies, to determine the purposes for which students use Web 2.0 technologies, and to identify the factors that affect students' use or non-use of Web 2.0 technologies.
Method: A mixed-methods approach was adopted. Firstly, a questionnaire was sent to 186 students; secondly, the curricula of the two departments in the Faculty of Information Science and Communication (ISC) were analysed; finally, follow-up interviews were conducted with seven lecturers in the Faculty of ISC.
Results: The study found that students use Web 2.0 technologies to search for information, to communicate with lecturers, to submit assignments and to communicate with friends on academic work. Wikipedia, WhatsApp, Google Apps and YouTube are the Web 2.0 technologies most used by students. Poor bandwidth (Internet connection) coupled with the absence of Wi-Fi (wireless Internet connection) prevents the successful adoption of Web 2.0 by students.
Conclusion: Web 2.0 can have a profound impact on undergraduate students and lecturers in teaching and learning. The research results indicated a high awareness of a wide range of Web 2.0 technologies, with social networks being the commonly used one. There is a need for more training to increase awareness of and familiarity with new Web 2.0 technologies. The problem of poor bandwidth needs to be addressed by the university management in order to gain significant benefits.
Successful IT governance in SMES : an application of the Technology-Organisation-Environment theory : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –8 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.696More Less
Background: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the bedrock of most economies of the world. Due to global competition, SMEs are making significant investments in information technology (IT) to improve their business processes. However, a study of extant literature on the subject of IT governance in SMEs has highlighted the fact that the implementation of structural controls to enable effective IT governance is often difficult, resulting in project failures and loss of income.
Objectives: This paper seeks to examine ways by which SMEs can successfully adapt a suitable IT governance framework to manage its IT investments.
Method: A content analysis of extant literature was done in this paper. The Technology- Organisation-Environment theory forms the theoretical basis of the proposed key pillars for an SME to evaluate its capability to embark on an IT governance initiative in order to obtain the desired results.
Results: From the content analysis of relevant literature, the paper proposed three key pillars which should be in place before an SME adapts any IT governance framework to manage its IT investments. The key pillars are considered an important link between strategic IT governance plans and measurable successful outcomes.
Conclusion: It was concluded that an SME would be better positioned for successful IT governance if it were to conduct a careful analysis of the components of these key pillars before embarking on the implementation of any IT governance framework.
Assessing the legislative and regulatory framework supporting the management of records in South Africa's public health sector : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –7 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.686More Less
Background: The process of improving the quality of health care delivery requires that health systems function efficiently and effectively. A key component of health care systems' efficiency is the administration of records that are often poorly managed. Any improvement in the management of records has to be done in full cognisance that records are generated in an organisational setting and based on a national legislative and regulatory framework.
Objectives: The purpose of this article is to assess the contextual legislative and regulatory framework of South Africa's health care system and its impact on the effectiveness of records management in public health care institutions.
Method: Data for the study were obtained from two sources. On the one hand, the study conducted a review of literature that not only provided background information but also informed the research process. On the other hand, a varied number of respondents were identified through purposive sampling, and their expert knowledge solicited through semi-structured interviews.
Results: The literature review, as well as the interviews, revealed that findings on the legislative and regulatory environment are multi-layered. For instance, respondents echoed observations made from the literature review that, whilst South Africa had a complex array of legal instruments, compliance levels at public health institutions were very rudimentary and contrary to the levels of sophistication expected by the legal instruments. A number of respondents noted the lack of specific guidelines for health records and that in most government departments there was 'a very low key focus on the regulatory issues'. Several respondents stated that even when there were general guidelines for managing records, very few public institutions were compliant. A majority of the respondents noted a lack of an integrated approach in the different legislative and regulatory instruments, for instance, on the issue of records retention.
Conclusion: The study revealed three related observations: firstly, that there is substantial legislative and regulatory dissonance in the management of health records in the country's public health sector; secondly, understanding the complex interplay of different legal and regulatory instruments in the country's public health sector is a critical first step, but it remains the beginning of the process; thirdly, there are lessons to be drawn from the extensive experiences of other countries such as the United Kingdom in addressing the legislative and regulatory challenges.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –9 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.690More Less
Background: The availability and efficient use of management information is one of the key strategic levers in driving growth and competitiveness for companies. Management information facilitates vital decision making that assists organisations in improving their competitiveness. For call centre operations, competitiveness entails improving productivity and customer service, and management information is essential in this endeavour.
Objectives: This research explored the use of management information and its impact on two fundamental functions namely, improving productivity without compromising the quality of service, in the call centre of a well-known South African fashion retailer, Edcon. Following the implementation of the call centre technology project the research set out to determine how Edcon can transform their call centre to improve productivity and customer service through effective utilisation of their management information.
Method: Internal documents and reports were analysed to provide the basis of evaluation between the measures of productivity prior to and post the implementation of a technology project at Edcon's call centre. Semi-structured in-depth and group interviews were conducted to establish the importance and use of management information in improving productivity and customer service.
Results: The results indicated that the availability of management information has indeed contributed to improved efficiency at the Edcon call centre. Although literature claims that there is a correlation between a call centre technology upgrade and improvement inperformance, evident in the return on investment being realised within a year or two of implementation, it fell beyond the scope of this study to investigate the return on investment for Edcon's call centre.
Conclusion: Although Edcon has begun realising benefits in improved productivity in their call centre from their available management information, information will continue to play a crucial role in supporting management with informed decisions that will improve the call centre operations.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –9 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.712More Less
Background: Electronic loyalty (e-loyalty) has become important in the context of electronic commerce (e-commerce) in recent years. Loyal customers bring long-term revenue to companies and are known to be a valuable asset to them. However, firms lose their customers in a competitive environment on the Internet because of a lack of trust, satisfaction and loyalty.
Objectives: This study explains how e-loyalty, e-trust and e-satisfaction form in e-commerce with a focus on customer purchase intention formation.
Method: A conceptual framework was formed based upon the literature review. Data were collected from e-customers of online firms in South Africa. After data clarification, confirmatory factor analysis was conducted. The structural equation modelling was applied to test the hypotheses. IBM SPSS AMOS 20 was used for this purpose.
Results: Firstly, convenience, customer benefit and enjoyment affect customer satisfaction in e-commerce. In other words, when customers do business activities easily with enjoyment and take benefit, they are satisfied and they will purchase again in future. Secondly, our study demonstrated that customer perception of security, clear shopping process and reliable payment system have a positive relationship with e-trust. Finally, e-satisfaction and e-trust have a positive and strong relationship with e-loyalty formation in e-commerce.
Conclusion: The results of the study shed light on important issues relating to e-loyalty formation from a new perspective. Online companies are interested in launching e-loyalty programmes because of the long-term benefits that come from loyal customers. To remain competitive, e-commerce companies should constantly work at enhancing customer trust, satisfaction and loyalty.
Information needs and barriers to information sources by open and distance learners : a case of Mzuzu University, Malawi : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 18, pp 1 –12 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.692More Less
Background: The Centre for Open and Distance Learning at Mzuzu University was established in 2006 with the aim to increase and broaden access to higher education to most Malawians who despite meeting entry requirements into higher education were not selected because of shortage of space on campus and other learning and teaching resources. Although Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is hyped as a practical option for making higher education available to many people as widely reported in the literature, universities need to address several issues for it to hold its ground.
Objectives: The study set out to investigate information needs and barriers to information sources by ODL students by addressing three objectives, namely information needs of ODL students, information sources of ODL students and challenges that ODL students face when seeking information for their courses of study.
Method: A survey questionnaire with a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions was distributed to 350 students to find out the information sources and challenges that the ODL students face when searching for information to accomplish their academic activities.
Results: According to the findings, all 258 (100%) students who answered the questionnaire need information to prepare for the end-of-semester examinations. Information sources that are used most by students include lecture notes, Internet and library books with scores of 238 (92.6%), 207 (80.5%) and 199 (77.4%), respectively.
Conclusion: ODL students have limited access to information materials for accomplishing their academic activities and Mzuzu University can resolve this challenge by introducing satellite information centres in the three geographical regions of Malawi.