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Business Strategy of Barclay's Bank Kenya

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Systems
Wordcount: 2446 words Published: 6th Sep 2017

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Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Rationale

The research will be looking at some of the core business processes within Barclays’ Bank Kenya and discussions on how automation has been achieved vis-à-vis the hardware and software tools used to drive automation within these processes. The research will also outline the criteria for the selection of automation tools used, how these tools work together to drive automation and how process automation could be made more efficient in the future.

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Singh et al. (2002) observed that, the need for banks to recurrently remain relevant in a very competitive industry and to satisfy ever growing customer demands, triggered the need for an e-banking solution whose transformaton goes as far back as the 1970s. The deployment of advanced Information Technology helped reduce cost by mostly eliminating the need to build new brick and mortar structures. It also helped to ensure that customers could perform transactions such as cash withdrawal and account balance checking without necessarily stepping into a banking hall. While (Arebeyen, 2011)stated that the high level of competition in the banking sector and a need to remain competitive and relevant together with customer demands for more efficient 24hour banking services led to a need for banks to re-engineer their business processes mostly with the introduction of electronic services. He also concludes by stating how the re-engineering process, through the application of Information Systems significantly improved the profitability performance of the banks.

Oluwatolani, Joshua and Philip (2011) reported on the impact Information Technology has had on the banking sector. How it has become a transformational tool in making the national economy for competitive and produced a new domain of economic and social partnerships.

Laudon and Laudon (1991) also argue that it is impossible for managers to ignore Information Technology as they play a fundamental role in modern day organizations. They pointed out how the world’s top 500 companies have now been linked with Information Technology and how Information Technology has increasingly changed the way banks organized their corporate structures to enhance the efficiency and speed of service delivery.

Banks opt for tools that are used to automate business process for various reasons. These tools enable banks to have smaller operational units that result to value-adding tasks that include complex processes like deal origination as well as activities requiring human interventions. Automating processes helps in reducing the use of paper, supporting decision making and digitizing work flow. By embracing fully the use of these tools, banks often create a substantial improvement in customer service and in productivity. In other words, these tools are cost effective and more efficient because they offer solutions that rescue back-office procedures from unnecessary errors and expenses. Therefore the objective of this research is an attempt to fill that gap in knowledge. To conduct a study and gain insight into the tools (hardware and software) that have tremendously improved the banking services within Barclays Bank Kenya, which will be used as a case study for this research.

1.2 Problem Statement

The problem this research aims to solve is the inadequate availability of studies on the hardware and software tools that drive process automation within the Kenyan banking sector.

This problem has led to a gap in knowledge between the need/analysis of Information Systems in the Kenyan banking sector and the impact Information Systems have had on the sector over the years.

This study therefore seeks to bridge that gap by conducting a research on the tools (hardware and software) used to drive automation within Barclays Bank Kenya, the criteria for the selection of tools used, how these tools combine to form a cohesive and effective workflow of processes and how process automation could be made more efficient in the future.

1.3 Justification

New generation of modern technology tools enable organizations to resolve the paradox of having to standardize their operations and business processes as a means of achieving operational excellence as well as cost leadership. They help the organizations to achieve significant goals as well as changing their operational models so that they achieve efficiency and innovations. The use of technological tools in running business processes is significant more so because the priorities of organizations are sifting and at the top of the list, most organizations are considering productivity and cost control as most crucial. The technology has helped many organizations to be more effective in their services and products delivery.

Business process management utilizes digital tools as a means of creating models that lead to optimization of key business processes. Within the banking system, there are four core business processes that include; production, ad-hoc, administrative and collaborative. The core business within the banking systems are implemented to meet various business requirements such as: acquisitions or mergers by a bank, the need for more flexibility within an ever increasing competitive market as well as the regulatory changes that are inadequately handled through legacy systems.

Administrative work flows entail processes that are repetitive and predictable and involves simple task coordination rules like travel request and routing an expense report via an authorization process. Ad-Hoc workflows deals with human coordination, co-decision, collaboration and mostly appear in office processes including sales proposal and product documentation. On the other hand, collaborative workflows involve several iterations of a similar step up to the time an agreement is reached and may also involve getting back to a previous stage. Lastly production workflows encompass predictable and repetitive business processes that are usually critical in nature and may include loan application. Production workflow refers to a process of information that involves access to several or one information system.

Production and administrative business processes are the bureaucratic procedures that comprises of well-defined steps that are controlled through defined rules. These two processes can be described with a lot of ease by conventional modelling tools. They are automated by the use of a Workflow Management Systems. Ad-hoc processes are quite similar to administrative processes but differ in that they deal with loosely defined or unique conditions. These conditions cannot be modelled easily nor can they be supported by current Workflow Management Systems effectively. On the other hand, collaborative processes are characterized by the number of those participating as well as by the synchronization required. Collaborative processes are adequately handled by the use of groupware technology. There are various tools used to automate various processes.

There’s no question about the impact Information Technology has had on banking operations and still continues to have. It is therefore important to not only study these impacts but also to look at some of the tools that have helped automate the operations of the banking sector. This research will help fill that gap in knowledge by exposing readers to how various hardware and software tools are being used to automate some of the business operations within the banking sector.

1.4 Aims and Objectives

1.4.1 Aims

The aim of this research is to provide insight into the hardware and software tools that are used to drive banking process automation within Barclays Bank Kenya.

1.4.2 Objectives

The specific objectives of this research are:

  1. To identify and analyze the various computing tools used to automate the operational processes of Barclays Bank Kenya.
  2. To determine the criteria used by Barclays Bank Kenya in selecting the tools used in automation.
  3. To identify the synergy between the various operational tools and interactivity.
  4. To identify possible upgrades to the automation system that could increase efficiency.
  5. To write a report on the research findings

1.4.3 Research Questions

  1. What is the operational workflow of the banking process?
  2. What are the hardware and software tools used to automate the banking process?
  3. What are the criteria for the selection of hardware and software tools used in the automation of the process?
  4. How does the process integrate with other processes?
  5. How can the process be made more efficient vis-à-vis the tools used?

1.5 Scope

This research is concerned with the hardware and software tools that have been used to achieve banking process automation within the Barclays Bank Kenya. The bank was selected due to its wide coverage branch network and its heavy reliance on Information Technology in carrying out its banking operations.

The research also looks into the criteria used in selecting the tools used for automation. It describes the synergy between the various tools and how they interact. And finally it identifies possible upgrades to the tools that could increase the overall efficiency of the automation process.

1.6 Ethical and Professional Issues

1.6.1 Ethical Issues

Informed Approval

The subject of the case study must fully understand the scope and depth of the research before the researcher can start the study.

Impropriety in Research

Forgery and distortion in conducting and analyzing research must be avoided and if present should be reported to the supervisor of the research as every academic community has the responsibility of tackling research misconduct.

1.6.2 Professional Issues

Citing Sources

It is important for the researcher to cite the works of other authors that have been included in his/her research in other to avoid plagiarism. The use of citations is professional as it gives credibility to the researcher’s own work.

Confidentiality

It is important that the confidentiality of the source(s) always be maintained by the researcher unless where the source(s) has given explicit permission for their name(s) to be mentioned in the research. This increases the level of rapport between the researcher and their source, making the source willing to provide vital information to the research without fear of their identity being disclosed.

1.7 Schedule

The project schedule is shown below with the aid of a Gantt chart.

Research

Define Research Questions

List the cases and choose analysis tools

Arrange to collect data

Collect data

analyze the data

Write a report

Jan. 2017

Feb. 2017

March. 2017

April. 2017

May. 2017

April 2016

Figure 1.0: A Gnatt Chart Showing the Research Schedule

1.8 Budget

TABLE 1.0: Breakdown of Proposed Estimate for Conducting this Research

S/NO

BUDGET ITEM

AMOUNT (KSH)

1

Phone Calls

2,000

2

Internet Data

2,000

3

Printing

1,500

4

Transportation

1,500

TOTAL

7,000

 

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