THE IMPACT OF MOBILE COMMUNICATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL SCALE BUSINESS
1.1 BACKGROUND OFTHE STUDY
In recent years, there has been a rapid growth of mobile phone networks in developing countries. Most of the countries in the developing world have skipped fixed-line infrastructure and leapfrogged directly into mobile technology. Currently mobile telephony is the predominant mode of communication in the developing world. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the average number of mobile phones per 100 inhabitants in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has risen by 100-400% in a span of just five years (Orbicom, 2007).
There are several reasons why mobile phones are considered as particularly important for development. First, beyond basic connectivity, mobile phones offer benefits such as mobility and security to owners (Donner, 2006). Second, due to their unique characteristics, the mobile phone is an especially good leapfrogger: it works using the radio spectrum, as such there is no need to rely on physical infrastructure such as roads and phone wires, and base-stations can be powered using their own generators in places where there is no electrical grid (Economist, 2008). Third, mobile phones only require basic literacy, and therefore are accessible to a large segment of the population. Fourth, mobiles enjoy some technical advantages that make them particularly attractive for development. In addition to voice communication, mobile phones allow for the transfer of data, which can be used in the context of applications for the purposes of health, education, commerce or governance .
Mobile phones and the poor: The introduction of pre-paid technology has significantly increased affordability of mobiles. Currently, mobile phones are used by a broader segment of the population than computers. Despite this trend, studies that explore mobile phone use of the economically constrained are few and far between.
Today organizations of all types are utilizing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) around the globe, not only for cutting costs and improving efficiency, but also for providing better customer service. Governments too, around the world, are adopting ICT to provide better services to their citizens. The adoption of ICT by organizations requires a business environment encouraging open competition, trust and security, interoperability and standardization and the availability of finance for ICT (UNCTAD 2004).
There has been a rapid growth in the spread of mobile telephony world- wide, including a particular growth in recent years in developing countries. To take one comparative example, the average growth rate in mobile subscribers in Africa from 2002–2007 was 49% per annum while the figure for Europe was 17% (ITU, 2008). Castells and others warn that we should not take a “year zero”-type approach to understanding mobile telephony, but we can build on pre-existing telecommunications research. In this case, within the literature with a special focus on telecommunications and developing countries, one can identify two particular clusters of work. One set has taken an “upstream” perspective, focusing on diffusion of telecommunications and attendant policies or strategies (e.g., Mureithi, 2003; Courtright, 2004; Rouvinen, 2006).
Information and communication technology (ICT) is a force that has changed many aspects of people’s ways of life. Considering such fields as medicine, tourism, travel, business, law, banking, engineering and architecture, the impact of ICT in the past two or three decades has been enormous. The way the fields operate today is vastly different from the way they operated in the past. But if one looks at education sector, there seems to have a little impact of ICT utilization and far less change, than other fields have experienced. However, a lot of people have attempted to explore this lack of activity and influence (Soloway and Pryor, 1996; Collis, 2002). Internet as a marketing tool rather than a technological issue (Dearne, 2001).
The global market for ICT-enabled business process management (BPM) which incorporate all sorts of communications, software, web applications and services, ERP-systems, etc. was estimated in 2008 at 1.8 billion dollars and is expected to grow up to 6.2 billion dollars in 2015
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As Nigeria is striving hard to play a leadership role in Africa, particularly in the period of pragmatic and computer science and technology, there is an urgent need to pay more prominent attention to the improvement of mobile communication in the development of small and medium scale enterprise. This entails the adoption of information, communication technology (ICT)in the small and medium scale enterprise. The ICT is an invaluable intervention of this modern time. Its inherent attributes such as accuracy, high speed performance, reliability and capability to store very large amount of data have made it possible for its applicability to all human endeavors including small and medium scale enterprises.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In specific term, this study provides answers to the following research questions:
1. How efficient is the Information, Communication Technology in performing its lofty role as a change agent for small and medium scale enterprise?
2. What are the constraints to effective utilization of Information and Communication Technology as a change agent for small and medium scale enterprise?
3. What is the level of usage of ICT in terms of ICT infrastructure, internet connection, IT staff and types of website used in SMEs?
4. What enterprise software are SMEs using?
5. What are the drivers for ICT Investment?
6. What percentage of budget is allocated to ICT?
7. What are long term business goals for investment in ICT?
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho: There is no significant relationship between the type of small and medium enterprise and their level of awareness of the role of ICT in the business.
Hi: There is a significant relationship between the type of small and medium enterprise and their level of awareness of the role of ICT in the business.
1.5OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study is specifically set out to achieve the following
1. To appraise the role of information, communication technology as a change agent for SMEs.
2. It also examines the implication and challenges of ICT on the development of SMEs.
3. To increase offering to other state and political subdivisions.
4. To expand the use of existing enterprise services.
5. To develop customer services using state resources.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The Importance of this research work is to improve the small and medium scale enterprise case of Biotech Business Center usage of information and communication technology in the operations of their enterprise.
It also tends to develop a strategy for improving the workforce productivity that well drive higher value for the organization to a drive business goals but most important is for a long term survival and sustain ability.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work attempted to determine the new trends in the information and communication technology that can improve the productivity and profitability of Biotech Business Center. It also narrows down the essence of information and communication technology [ICT] towards organizational productivity and profit maximize due to the cost reduction benefits of ICT.
LIMITATIONS AND FURTHER RESEARCH
Despite attempts to instill the utmost rigor into research designs, all studies will inevitably have limitations, and this one is no different. The two major limitations of this research are concerned with the data collection methods employed and the lack of knowledge by respondents about this very new technology.
1.8 HISTORICAL PROFILE OF CASE STUDY AVE DENTAL CLINIES.
Name – AVE Dental Clines
Address – 30 Ago Palace Way Okota
The owner – Azuara Ifeanyi David
Data of Establishment – April 1 2000
History of the Business – Ave Dental was established to provide quality and first class dental service to the teaming population of lagos.To help create massive awareness of the need to unbid the culture of oral health from early childhood. It also was set up to meet the need of the patient in correcting notion about pain relating to dental treatment having had an early bad exposure to dental health. I had to promise myself and upcoming patients that dentally in all about comfort class and relaxed service to keep us smiling and oral friendly.
Expansion plan – The clines currently runs a 3 out unit, fully equipped facility in different segment of Lagos aimed at catering the need of different and diverse culture and economic outlay. However the cline is looking forward towards establishing more of Mobile Dental service called ‘Dentist on the wheels to undertake school visitation and meeting other organized groups at their doors step.
Location – No 30 Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos
105 Mushin Road Isolo Lagos
73 Asafriogun St, Ajao Estate Lagos
Achievement – The clinic has all department of dentistry offering Oral surgery, Orthodontics, Prosthetics and cosmetic dentistry. It now has a well established clinic to school dental service.
Clients – The clients maintain a rich brand of cliental from different works of life from school children to personal clients to corporate clients all in one roof.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERM
ICT- [Information and Communication Technology] is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application encompassing: radio, television, phones, computer and network hardware and software systems and so on.
SME- [Small to Medium Enterprise] is a convenient term for segmenting business and other organization that are somewhere between the small office andhome office.
ERP- [Enterprise Resource Planning] is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated application to manage the business and automate many back office function related to technology, services and human resources.
CRM- [Customer Relationship Management] is a term that refers to practices strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer life cycle with the goal of improving business relationship with customers assisting in customer retention and driving.
OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE- It refers to soft ware that is developed tested or improved through public collaboration and distributed with the idea that they must be shared with others ensuring an open future collaboration.
INTERNET- Is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the internet protocol suit (TCP/IP) to link billions of device worldwide.
E-COMMERCE – [Electronic Commerce] is the buying and sell of goods and services or the transmitting of funds or data over an electronic network primarily the internet.
EMAIL- [Electronic Mail] is a system of worldwide electronic communication in which a computer user can compose a message at one terminal that can be regenerated at the recipient’s terminal when the recipient logs in you cannot send packages by electronic mail.