New Service Development in Mobile Phones Industry

Abstract

Today’s business life has all been structured on the use of innovative services as an alternative that companies use to differentiate themselves from the intense and competitive market (Edvardsson, et al., 2000; Kelly & Storey, 2000). Though it has been ascertained that some of the companies have prospered in the present century without innovating or developing strategies, in this project, the researcher points out that a majority have also been negatively affected by the financial crisis that continue to be experienced across the globe. And even to make matters worse, there still exists strong indicators showing likelihood that the recession will be felt over a long-term period. Due to globalization, managements have been given the role of improvising new strategies to gain access to new markets and valuable resources. The application and use of technology in new business services innovations has therefore proved to be the paramount decision for them.

The researcher adopted from the above experience to carry out a study whose aim was to investigate how establishment of new services in the mobile phone manufacturing and service industries have been aided by information technology and recommendations made on the methods that can be utilized by companies to benefit from the derived opportunities.

Below is an outline of the research process I followed. In the initial step, I identified the topic as ‘the use of it in new service development’. This step was important since it acted as the base for building onto the subject of interest. The next step was to formulate the objectives and the problem statement in chapter. I then did a review of both online and printed literature. This helped me to analyse and come up with a clear idea. I then went to the formulated the questionnaire and emailed to a study population of 100 participants. These were all employees working in five Nigerian mobile phone service providers as well as phone manufacturers. I then came up with the findings from the questionnaires, analysed and presented the results.

The results of the study revealed that IT is used in a number of ways to ensure a successful process of developing improved services in companies. Likewise, the study found out that the management of key activities in the service development process has the potential of a ensuring a successful development of innovative services.

Introduction

The negative effects of globalization on businesses

Globalization of businesses has opened up the world to fierce competition, shortened the development cycles of new technologies, led to more demanding customers, and brought about price declines (Posselt & Forstl; Kimmo, 2012). The result of the above has led to companies needing new approaches to avoid falling behind and ensuring increased profitability. Edvardsson et al. (2000) argued that to address the above challenges, most companies have strived to develop successful and differentiated services.

The emergence and development of NSD

The increasing shift in the development of goods as opposed to services led to the establishment of new service development (NSD) as an important topic in the service management literature in the years of 2000s. New service development in the ‘new’ economy focuses on the introduction and development of new competitive services. It has also been defined as all those activities used in the realization of new service opportunities and offerings (Bowman & Haaker, 2008, p.24). Hesselbach (2011) claimed that the use of this approach has seen both service and manufacturing companies focus on value-creation through services as a means of winning and retaining their customers (p.93). The business logic of competing through services was summed up by Johnson and Gustaffson (2003) when they reasoned that it helped to solve client problems through use of cost-effective service solutions thus constituting the best approach of preventing clients from doing business with competitors.

Introduction of NSD in the mobile phone sector

Mobile phone manufacturing companies as well as service providers are good examples of service companies which have been forced to shift to new service development by innovating on their branding to deliver on the changing customer expectations. Many past studies have come to the conclusion that most service companies experienced difficulties to effectively compete in the fully liberal market where the rules of competition have been replaced by those of the jungle. For instance, statistics from a 2011 report that assessed the prevailing market conditions in Africa had established that almost 65 mobile service providers in Nigeria – Africa’s most populous nation – had to close part of the branches that they operated because of the severe conditions in business environment.

Adoption of IT for service innovation

The growth in information technology and its availability has been cited by many as a major driving force that can be used in the provision of important opportunities for new service development in the mobile phone manufacturing industry. The reason being thatit can allow the management to make decisions on acquiring, exploiting and managing various technologies hence staying competitive. A simple illustration of the above is a scenario where innovative technology has allowed mobile phone manufacturers and service providers to develop and embrace smart phones that allow users to transact services when and where they can.

For instance, borrowing from a study conducted by Johnson and Gustaffson (2003), the author found out that through the use of innovative technology, the smartened mobile phones can now be used to derive transformational benefits which include amongst others; paying for bills, shopping online and carrying our banking transactions (m-banking) from the comfort of your home. These have enabled people to cope with the growing complexities in today’s tough economies hence ensuring their retention to phones manufactured by specific manufacturers. Apple and Samsung have been named as some of the mobile phone manufacturers who have used technological innovation to manufacturer phones that offer a broad range of advanced services hence ensuring their competitive nature in the market. To justify the important role IT has played in mobile phone revolution, a study that that was conducted in 2007 to find out why mobile phones had dominated the world in a fraction of history that was previously dominated by fixed lines attributed the ‘explosive’ growth to rapid technological innovations.. It is from the above debate that this project builds on so as to identify and discuss a number of roles that IT has played in facilitating the introduction of innovative service approaches to the smartened mobile phones.

Statement of the problem

The problem statement originated from the reason that even though the mobile phone business was among the leading in offering a clear and vibrnt opportunities to a number of companies, many phone manufacturers and service providers still experienced difficulties in operating in this fully free market. This was supported by findings revealing that that an estimated 65 Nigerian service providers had closed business as a result of the harsh business environment in the country (Africa’s Technology News Leader, 2011)). On their section, a group of other scholars reasoned that only a few mobile phone service providers as well as phone manufacturers in developed nations had adopted information technology changes to positively get competitive advantages (Achimugu and et al., 2009, p.37). This therefore created an increasing digital divide (IT gap). Furthermore, the researcher established that the evolution of IT as well as its capabilities has assumed a dizzying pace hence becoming an obstacle for them to incorporate it in their operations. With the above statements, this dissertation therefore looked at the uses of information technology in the introduction of new services to mobile phones.

Purpose of the project

The researcher aimed to demonstrate/emphasize that information technology facilitates a number of activities in the new service development process thus enabling companies to maintain competitive advantages or simply profitability. This aim was demonstrated by reviewing the use of IT in aiding the introduction of smartened phones.

Objectives

  • To study the company issues or characteristics enhancing successful implementation of new service development
  • identify and discuss the ways in which IT has been used in the process of new service development to deliver competitive mobile phone services
  • To name and highlight the mobile phone branding and design approaches that are relevant from a service perspective
  • To investigate the benefits that mobile phone manufacturers can get from adopting and implementing IT in their processes
  • To highlight factors to consider before adopting and implementing technological invention in the mobile phone sector

Research Questions

The following questions were formulated from the objectives above;

  • Can you state the issues or company characteristics related to organizing successful nsd?
  • In what ways has IT been used in the process of new service development to deliver competitive mobile phone services
  • What are the mobile phone branding and design approaches that are relevant from a service perspective?
  • What are the opportuities that mobile phone manufacturers can get from the adoption of IT for service innovation?
  • What are the factors to consider before adopting and implementing technological invention in the mobile phone sector?

Justification of the project

This research is justified from a learning and organizational outlook. From a learning viewpoint, the author asserts that the study is very relevant in assisting future researchers to borrow its concepts. On the management side, the researcher identified that the findings of the project will assist decision makers to come up with methods that allow for creation of improved services. This can be well achieved with the use of information technology. The findings from this research as well as the recommendations, if followed, will enhance the profits made by the organizations. The end result will be companies innovating and improving their responsiveness under uncertain and extremely dynamic business conditions.

Outline of chapters

The following aspects were handled in each of the sections as follows:

Chapter One

The introductory part set the project’s context by highlighting the objectives, problem statement, research questions, as well as giving the relevance and justification for tackling this topic at a dissertation level. Specifically, five objectives were derived from the aim with five research questions developed matching the objectives of the project. The problem statement was developed to justify why the project was worth for both the management and future scholars.

Chapter Two

Chapter two saw the author review the literature related to the study. Here, the major ideas advanced by past and current scholars on the subject were stated although in brief.

Two theories named as the contingency and innovations theories were used by the researcher to guide the concepts discussed in this project. The conceptual framework was laden with major concepts that formed the framework for the study. The adoption of information technology inventions, its use in the process of new service development, and its impact in bringing about both the internal and external competitive advantages to companies were the major variables chosen for discussion in the subsequent sections of the literature review.

Chapter Three

In chapter three, the author stated details of the important issues that were used during the processes of collecting and analysing the data. To begin with, the researcher selected descriptive research as the research design since the approach was a moderately fast and less expensive way of collecting data from sampled respondents. This being an assessment kind of study, the author also found the approach suitable for carrying the investigation and analysis.

Questionnaires and documentary sources were the only two instruments chosen for data collection. The author described how a sample population of 100 participants was chosen to the postal and emailed questionnaires.

Chapter Four

Chapter four was laden with the presentation, analysis and interpretation of major findings. Content analysis was used in the interpretation of the data. In total, five major findings were written from the collected data. The author corroborated the findings from the primary data with justifications from the secondary sources. This increased the level of validity and reliable of the information in this dissertation.

Chapter Five

This chapter has all the main required parts. It has the summaries of major findings, conclusions and recommendations. In addition, the author highlighted the issues that might have limited the study.

Literature Review

This section discussed the theoretical and conceptual frameworks on which the project was developed upon and at likewise reviewed concepts linked to use of Information Technology in new service development.

Theories related to the project

Kotler and Gary (2005) described theoretical framework as a collection of interrelated concepts such as in a theory used to guide a research work by determining the items for measurement and the statistical relationships under study. Based on the definition above, this project was guided by two theories of new service innovation. The contingency theory was used to stress the fact that the process of new service development involves the recognition of chances and existing opportunities in the ever-changing technological environment. On the other hand, the author chose the theory of innovation to argue that innovation serves to create wealth or profits for companies (Bouwman & Haaker, 2008, p. 10). This is achieved by fulfilment of customer needs.

The Contingency Theory

This is a behavioural theory that holds that the structure and success of any company is entirely reliant on the environment and technology. The location of the information with regard to the environment and the technology will influence the organization structure and eventually the performance of the company. This theory was very important to this project since it stresses to the management the important role that IT and external factors (from the environment) play in increasing the performance of a firm.

illustrating the contingency theory.
Figure 1 illustrating the contingency theory. (Source: from Martin, J, R).

The Innovation Theory

The theory of innovation was an important element from the work of Schumpeter. In his work, Schumpeter debated that innovation helped in the creation of profits through fulfilment of client needs. He went ahead to state five forms of innovation which he said interacted to constitute the main innovation process. These were new methods of production, new products, and new ways to organization business, exploration of new markets and finally new sources of supply.

Recent literature has gone ahead to infer that innovation in most cases takes place in complex environments. These are defined by dynamic interactions between companies and all those stakeholders that in one way or another make use of the finished service. To apply to this project, the researcher established that this implied a shift in the vision of innovation say from a centralized, inward looking and closed approach to an open innovation approach. The choice of open innovation approach was for instance beneficial to this project since it enabled mobile phone manufacturers and phone users to share their knowledge and experiences thus allowing the creation of new mobile phone technologies, business models and services that meet customer expectations.

Conceptual Framework.
2.2. Conceptual Framework.

The following is a review of literature on the above variables;

Information Technology

Achimugu and his group of three scholars (2009) gave a definition of Information Technology as “forms of information exchange amongst computers using several methods of interconnection, and primarily the internet” (p.37). From another viewpoint, Tansey (2003) adopted the definition that had been adopted by Flowers to give the definition of the term as the application of telecommunications and computers to process, store and disseminate text, voice, numerical information and graphics (p.3). On the other hand, Betz (2011) provided the most recent and concise definition of Information Technology as he said that it was computing software and hardware applications that were applied to organizational objectives (p.2).

As Achimugu and his group of scholars were studying the importance of IT in thriving business platforms, they pointed out that IT provided a cheap, fast and effective means of communication (p.37). The four researchers explained their results by highlighting that the dissemination of Information Technology technologies gave out more direct and positive effects on the efficiency of companies in operations hence increasing the economy of the host countries. Tansey In contrast (2003, p.4) studied the impacts of IT and gave an opinion that when used, technology brought unavoidable, extensive and widespread impacts, some of which he said included the production of new products and services, new methods of production, and changes in communication and processing of information. Furthermore, Agboh (2000) wrote to admit the importance of Information Technology by stating that applications in IT had the chance of bringing substantial and competitive advantages to the development of businesses, and were thus taken as critical in determining the amount of success achieved by any organization. When analysing how management did increase how they applied Information Technology, the researcher found out that it has made it necessary for organizations to introduce strategic management. This has been through enabling the outsourcing and application of corporate governance to increase their profits (Orcullo 2007, p.25).

Adoption of IT in NSD

Chen and Tsou (2007) said that the adoption of information technology brings positive impacts on both the external and internal business processes. For instance, its impact on external processes has seen firms improve on their progress visibility in addition to the speed of delivering services. In addition to these, the adoption of information technology has seen companies maintain competitive advantage in modifying or designing new service processes. Examples of these have seen the mobile phones or the web being used to inquire on customer concerns.

Internally, its adoption by companies has been known to enhance shorter design time by reducing on the number of prototypes built before the launch of the main service. Also, information technology adoption has been known to help in cutting unnecessary costs, ensuring administration efficiency, enhancing service developmental capabilities and fostering better teamwork among project members. All the above assist in meeting the ever changing customer needs.

On the contrary, while studying the position of IT application in developing countries, Achimugu et al (2009, p.37) noted that initial investigation indicated that not many organizations had shown any determinations to adopt Information Technology. Agboh (2000) found out that despite IT changing at a fast rate and creating fundamental opportunities to different scope of life. It was difficult to manage it in less developed nations Africa. The inhibitors were identified by the scholar as lack of enough capital, out-dated telecom infrastructure and technicians not adequately trained and this were found I almost all African countries.

According to Munoz-Cornejo, the adoption of information technology by companies has been characterized by well-defined stages.

Issues to consider in IT Adoption

A scan through the existing literature on the issues to be considered by companies before adopting technology pointed to consider the IT infrstructure. For instance, Laan (2011, p.36) defined this as all of the components (such as hardware, software, networks, facilities among others) that are used by companies to deliver IT services to customers. Interestingly, the term was also defined as all those equipment, systems, software, and services used in common across a company (Chen & Tsou, 2007). Despite the varying definitions, most authors agree that adequate management and investment in IT infrastructure constitute a key framework for IT adoption in companies. This is the case because; it not only facilitates the sharing of information across departments but also provides the freedom in responding to changes in the delivery of new services.

In addition, it is important to consider the IT with business goals. This stage is characterized by the gathering of information, planning and conceptualization of the intended changes (innovation). This stage can be expounded to include additional activities such as agenda setting whose main focus rests on diagnosing the problems affecting the organization. In addition, there is also the assessment activity where the company management is required to look at how well the proposed technological innovations address the specific problems (alignment to business goals). Shwalbe (2010, p.136) pointed out that a company must develop a strategy for using information technology. This strategy is used to define how IT will support company objectives. However, the renowned scholar went ahead to warn that the aligning of IT projects and the business strategy has consistently emerged as a top concern for Chief Information Officers. This is so since it has been more difficult to educate IT managers on the possibilities and limitations of IT and hence the changing business requirements.

Moreover, it is significant to re-examination the organizational structure. Before information technology can be used to support plans and provide a competitive advantage, the researcher established that its successful implementation must incorporate all the actions, events and decisions taken in launching the technological innovation (Munoz-Cornejo, 2007, p.65). Three activities are handled during this stage. They include the medication of the technology to fit the company needs (restructuring/redefining activity). There is also the clarification stage which involves the communication of the technological innovation to staff members. In the most recent study carried out by Myers et al. (2012), it identified the importance of communicating about a change signal since it makes employees feel valued and get answers to all questions of what’s in for them in the new innovation (p.274).

Employee training and support is also another important factor to be considered. The adoptions of the rapid technological changes and the resultant changes in the organizational processes have compelled management to treat employee training as a continuous process of the organization (Pravin, 2010, p.210). This process has also been classified by researchers as the last activity in the implementation stage. It is summarized in some literature as the routinization activity which ensures that the adopted technology becomes part and parcel of company’s day-to-day operations.

Before it is done, a number of recommendations are put across to ensure its success. For instance, it is proposed that all training needs should be recognized. The training programme should then be designed to address those specific needs. Pravin (2010) stated its importance by referring to it as a value-addition activity carried out by an organization to enrich the value of its core assets, namely its people (p.210). It was argued that sustained training efforts lead to creation of a highly competent and motivated workforce. This workforce is able to take on all the challenges of performance and service delivery (productivity).

Figure 2 showing the two main stages and their corresponding activities in the adoption of IT in companies

the two main stages and their corresponding activities in the adoption of IT in companies.
(Source: Munoz-Cornejo, 2007, p.65).

New Service Development (NSD)

Frauendorf (2006) defined new service development as the design and systematic development of services by use of appropriate methods and tools (p.31). On their part, Edvardsson et al. (2000, p.63) defined the term as the modification of current services and the adaptation of services already offered in other geographical settings. According to this group of researchers, the process could be realized through making adds-on to present service processes, improving the quality of current products and services, reducing prices and repositioning. To Fraundorf, the understanding behind the process of NSD is the inclusion of the entire lifecycle of a service product that is from the initial idea to the implementation and the replacement or phasing out of a particular service. In other words, the process involves the modification of already existing services (Frauendorf, 2006, p.31). On their part, Posselt & Forstl (2013) defined NSD as a process model containing development stages. These stages begin with the initial idea and end with the final launch of the product.

Figure 3 showing the stages in the NSD Process.

The stages in the NSD Process.
(Source: Posselt & Forstl, 2012).

In another varying perspective on what the process of new service development entailed, Edvardsson et al. (2000) gave prerequisite stages or support methods that need to be taken into account to successfully implement a world class new service development and innovation process. Again, the authors’ proposed a model that begins with the stage of idea generation and ends with the implementation and service deployment stage. Below is a pictorial illustration of the stages as they were proposed by the four distinguished scholars.

Figure 4 showing the stages needed to ensure successful implementation of NSD.

The stages needed to ensure successful implementation of NSD.
(Source: Edvardsson et al. 2000, p.29).

The main aim of NSD was stated as the development of new businesses and the attraction of new customers by demonstration of progressiveness and excellence all intended to retain the existing clients (Posselt & Forstl, 2012). On its part, a project on the decision making perspective with regard to the use of NSD in the high tech sectors established that the aim of carrying out the process of new service development is to enable companies to meet the creation of customer value as well as meet financial performance (Van Riel, ACR & Lievens, 2000, p.3).

There are two types of service innovation/NSD namely process and product innovation.

Process innovation

This was defined as the implementation of a new delivery or significantly improved method. The adoption of information technology comes with significant changes in equipment or software hence leading to process innovation. Brocke (2010) said that process innovation has been widely accepted as an approach through which companies enhance their business values (p.482). On the other hand, Chen & Tseu (2007) reasoned that process innovation is used to support and expand company-customer interfacing processes or what we simply call the promotion of technological service innovation. Thus, the three authors above concluded that the adoption of information technology can bring positive impact on both the external and the internal operational processes. This will in return help a company to respond to customer demands with shorter times of delivery.

Service/Product Innovation

Product innovation is defined as the introduction of a new quality of an existing good. This involves the production and dissemination of first-hand capital and consumer services or goods. Various authors note that the adoption of information technology provides a way for marketing and production teams in companies to identify numerous opportunities for service innovation (de Jong & Vermeulen, 2003, p.7). For example, through use of business intelligence and information management applications, staffs of a competing firm can learn about methods that may have led to failures related projects. They can then brainstorm to develop strategies for new services. These services should be better suited to market demand and should reward customers with after-sales services.

NSD and Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage is the lead that a company has over its competitors (Investopedia, 2012). This lead helps it to generate more sales and retain more customers that its competition. Recent discussions on competitive advantage suggest that it is gained when companies engage in strong value creation capabilities. There are two categories of competitive advantage;

External competitive advantage is achieved by availing high-quality products and services on the markets and being constantly informed of the existing market changes. In addition, the company should be quick to react to trends in rival’s strategies. The services produced in such circumstances should be able to meet customers’ changing desires.

In a varying perspective, internal competitive advantage puts emphasis on the usefulness in establishing and promoting a corporate environment in which employees develop, plan and launch outstanding innovative services. In a nutshell, literature on the topic of study reveals that companies that continuously engage in the creation of innovative services (simply new service development) are often rewarded with the greater levels of external and competitive advantages.

Review of Related Titles

Other uses of IT in NSD

Customer Needs Identification

According to the findings by a recent by Schwalbe (2010), information technology is important in supporting business goals (p.134). Shwalbe’s study established that through establishment of product innovation and technology strategy, businesses are able to focus on customer needs when identifying potential projects, and assign project managers to lead the projects (Schwalbe, 2010, p.137). On its part, in a study conducted by The Times, 100 supported the above findings by alluding that information technology can be used to create specialized applications (in this it was Argos software) enhanced with modern communication channels. These are then used to share information between a company and its clients with regard to inquiring about the availability of stock and making online purchases.

An example of the above is the sensing technology developed by NEC Corporation (2012) which simultaneously identifies a large number of products based on their position, type, quantity, position, quality and other information with high level of accuracy. This technology enables supermarkets to manage the management of highly demanded goods (demand forecasts) hence the tailoring of services and products to specific stores or regions. This has also been possible through use of mobile phones. While supporting the above, Alexander (2006) advised that in order for information technology to support business processes, it is important that managers brainstorm and define and plan accordingly on what they hope to achieve through technology (p.184).

Figure 5 showing how information technology can be used to identify customer needs and hence resource allocation for different projects

Information Technology
(Source: Shwalbe, 2010).

IT has enabled companies to carry out research on emerging markets or customer needs. This has in return enabled companies to create advanced products and services leading to increased profits.

Fostering of Relations

Most researchers note that IT plays an important role in fostering the relationship that exists between the company and its clients. It was argued that this activity is strengthened in cases where a service company is operating in a fast moving business environment.

IT has been very beneficial in fostering relationships between companies and their customers. This has been made possible via the use of the internet and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Public relations teams have been able to respond to customer queries through the above media. On his part, Alexander (2006) acknowledged that technology has been used by small-scale consumers to compliment or enhance face to face relationship.

Advertising

Various researchers state that information technology plays a great impact in the advertising process. Through technological developments, businesses are no longer required to reach their intended customers via the traditional means of advertising such as the use of the radio, TV stations, and newspapers and arranged conference meetings as was the case in past days. Nowadays, the development of the internet has enabled marketing departments to target web-based and database marketing which is cheaper as compared to the traditional forms of marketing (Khosrowpour, 2001, p.765). The revolution of the internet has enabled the world to become a ‘global village’ thus connection people located far away from each other via the use of smart phones and computers. Gartner, WC & Lime (2000) supported the above paradigms by stating that information technology is used in simplifying both the purchase and on-site experience of customers (p.362). For instance, IT (via the use of the phone or the internet) is being used to support ‘one stop shopping’ where holiday makers make online purchases. Customers are also allowed the freedom to charge services and products from a variety of vendors to their room folios.

Securing of data

Modern technology has enabled firms to protect confidential business data. This data might be in form of financial or secretive decisions.

Business Mobility

The important roles of innovative information technology continue to be felt across the mobile phone sector. Technological innovations have enabled firms to improve on their advising as well as delivery of services. It has also shortened the time taken to receive and respond to customers’ requests for goods or services. The end result has seen companies widen their markets at minimized costs (de Jong & Vermeulen, 2003, pp.8-9).

Use IT to enhance the quality and scope of phone services

Strategic branding

By analysing the trends in digital branding, an analysis can be done on how perceptions into technology are valuable in designing and crafting business strategy. The first analysis of how insights into technology have been valuable to enable the managers’ strategizes business activities, Balakrishnan (2009) gave the definition of branding as “choosing a dependable brand element mix to establish and differentiate business brands via positive image building”. For many years, few stories that accomplished banding strategies had existed (Balakrishnan 2009). Morrison and Anderson gave the cause of the above by saying that they had a combination of varying components (marketing mix). Nevertheless, the trend has changed in current years due to the role played by technology wholly in enhancing and designing of appropriate and different business strategies. This has been successfully so because designers on project based corporations have managed the translation of different organizational goals into attitudes and feelings that touch specific targeted audiences. There has been an achievement due to the use of technological tools for example Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Marketing platforms. This has been linked to the advanced technology which has helped enhance the implementation of concepts and strategies.

Figure 6 showing how a designer used advancements in technology to design and show major factors used for branding business strategies.

a designer used advancements in technology to design and show major factors used for branding business strategies.
(Adopted from Balakrishnan 2009).
how Visafone, a Nigerian service provider used technology for branding.
Figure 7 illustrating how Visafone, a Nigerian service provider used technology for branding. (Source: Visafone Homepage 2011).

The finding contained here can be applied to inform the research that Information Technology plays a major role in significant roles in increasing the branding of mobile phone service providers and manufacturers hence helping in improving their image and repute.

Smartened phones

Karie (2011) carried out a research that established that the mobile design in the olden days used to be bulk, more expensive and weighty. This contrasts modern designs which are sleek, very light and powerful. The researcher borrowed from another study done by Goggin, it was noted that IBM was the first manufacturer which was able to introduce smartphones in 1992 which was designed to take the versions of the standard computer program by then. At present time, almost all manufacturers of phones have embraced the innovation of designing high-tech smart phones which day by day come in improved versions (McDaniel 2009, pp.453-456). The above scholar argued in making smart phones, the advancement in technology made it possible for manufacturers to work on varying sets of interaction and communication (p.453).

the latest iphone4s; an example of a smartened phone.
Figure 8 showing the latest iphone4s; an example of a smartened phone. Adapted from Apple Homepage 2011.

Summary of major findings and identifiable gaps

The following gaps were identified after the literature review:

The literature review has identified the critical role played by information technology in creation of new services. However, the reviewed articles failed to provide practical examples of how the technology can be adopted by companies to enhance the quality of products or services. For instance, the literature reviews postulate that the adoption of information technology can help companies to meet customer needs through shorter lead times. There is no clarification of how this can be achieved. The researcher will make an extra effort to give as many practicable solutions of how modern-day companies can achieve this advantage.

In addition, past scholars have stated that in order for information technology to support business processes, it is important that managers brainstorm, define and plan accordingly what they hope to achieve with the technological innovation. Here, the authors failed to mention the critical factors that must be considered for successful adoption of advanced technology (innovation). For instance, it is of great significance to consider the workers’ skill levels since it will be a determinant of how the technology will diffuse into the organization. Expounding, if a selected IT system will require complex or new skills, then its spread within the company will take longer time. In the end time, its slow adoption will be of great costs as compared to its benefits to the organization.

The literature review has also laden the stages to be followed in the adoption of information technology in companies. However, the researcher highlights that there was no highlights on the inhibitors of IT adoption in companies. For instance, there is no articulation on how some company policies can prevent the adoption of a proposed invention. For example, policies that express lack of confidence in shared infrastructures attributed to previous cases of insecurity and access to confidential data. The author highlighted some of the issues that can prevent the adoption of information technology for service innovation.

The authors have been precise in noting that the effects of globalization are to blame for the commoditization of goods and stiffening competition. They however fail to pinpoint other causes of variations in companies’ profit margins which can also be controlled by adoption of IT. For instance, poor inventory control and tracking of goods can lead to widespread loss of items. The author aimed to highlight more of these causes.

Research Methodology

Introduction

Having analysed the literature review this chapter presented the research methodology, approach and strategy that were used to complete the study. According Kumar (2005), a research methodology is a plan, structure and strategy of investigation so conceived as to obtain answers to problems or research questions (p.84). Based on the definition above, the researcher therefore established that it had two functions to play in this project. First, it helped in identifying the procedures and logical arrangements that were necessary in undertaking this study. Secondly, it emphasized the importance of ensuring quality in the adopted procedures to attain validity, objectivity and accuracy of the results.

As such, the study sites, participants, data collection methods and ethical considerations amongst others were explained in this chapter. With an explanation of the elements in the concept of Research Onion (Saunders et al., 2009) the author described the steps adopted to do this research.

Summary of research strategies and philosophies

A research philosophy is an idea or a belief regarding the collection, interpretation, and analysis of collected data. There are various philosophies which were in Saunder’s and the group in their research onion. The most significant among them are realism, subjectivism, positivism, interpretivism, objectivism amongst others (Saunders et al., 2009).

In positivism, replication of results and similar conclusions are possible due to law-like generalizations. In interpretivism, it is important that the researcher comprehends that humans interpret the social obligations of others according to the meanings they attach to them. Therefore, they adopt an empathetic approach. In other words, the researcher strives to understand the concepts from the point of view of the subjects. Realism, on the other hand, is a reflection of reality. This is to say, the researcher assumes the sense data as real (Saunders et al 2009).The philosophy adopted by the researcher in this study was realism.

The next important layer in the research onion is research strategy is the next significant layer I the research onion. Here, researchers have the freedom to adopt several strategies. For instance, in Saunders’ research onions are explained.

Experimental research is mainly used for the research in physical sciences. It is used to identify the cause effect relationships and verifying inferences. The main features of this technique are isolation of factors, replication of experiment, and quantitative measurement of results (Sharavanavel, 2006).

Survey research studies large and small populations by selecting and studying samples chosen from the populations to discover the relative incidence, distribution and interrelations of sociological and psychological variables. This research is mainly used to investigate social and psychological factors (Saunders et al., 2009).

Case study is a comprehensive study of a social unit. Here the subject of the study is a person, group, or a social institution. In this research the context is analyzed in detail. A real life situation in real life context is analyzed and studied (Sharavanavel, 2006).

Grounded theory is a qualitative research study. It is mainly used in the social sciences. When the traditional scientific method looks to start the research with a hypothesis this method is adopts the system of going directly into the data collection first. All the data collected are placed in different codes to identify common factors. From the group of these codes then a theory is formed (Charmaz, 2006).

Ethnography is a unique qualitative research method. In this study the researcher will stay in the research location. The researcher stays with the population and gets first-hand information from the particular culture or group (Murchison, 2009).

The final element in the Research strategy is archival research strategy. It means the entire study will be based on the materials of the study kept in some archives by some other researchers. In this strategy a huge quantity of data is available and so often the data remain uncontrollable. Therefore it is not possible to make casual conclusions on the basis of such types of data.

In this research the researcher adopted the survey research obtain data.

The research design

The dissertation used survey research approach. The justification for the chosen approach was that it was a valuable, moderately fast and less expensive way of collecting data from sampled respondents. The approach also allowed the author to generalize the findings from the two survey instruments that were used: namely the questionnaires and the documentary sources.

The suitability of the survey to the research objectives was as follows;

First, surveys provided the research with the opportunity to study the sample population and establish the commonness in organizational characteristics that enhance successful implementation of the process of new service development. Were it not for this approach, the researcher would have experienced difficulties studies a large of study population (read all workers of mobile phone service providers and phone manufacturers in Nigeria). These difficulties might have been represented in form of high costs involved in contacting the over 1000 participants in the study population. Costs of emailing the questionnaires and the time taken to review them would also have acted as inhibiting factors for other differing approaches.

In a summary therefore, this approach allowed the author to use both primary and secondary sources of data on how information technology adoption can help mobile phone manufacturers and service providers to create innovative services.

Survey Instruments

Survey instruments of data collection as named above and below were used.

Questionnaires

The researcher emailed or addressed the questionnaires to participants who in turn read the questions and wrote their responses. Questionnaires were preferred since they allowed the researcher to obtain responses on four of the objectives in a standardized format. The researcher was therefore sure that all the 100 respondents answered exactly the same questions that were under analysis. The instrument was therefore a reliable method of research. In addition, since the pilot study had established that it would take more than 20 minutes for each participant to fill in the questionnaire, the author deemed it necessary to use self-administered surveys as opposed to telephone surveys.

Questionnaires at times experience squat rate of response (Cohen et al., 2007, p.218). This knowledge led to the development of precise, on-the-point questionnaires that enhanced on the response. According to a recent study that was conducted by Mitchell & Jolley (2012), questionnaires were also chosen for this study since they are relatively easy to analyse (pp.286-287).

Documentary sources

Documents reviewed touched on how IT is used in developing new services and they include: thesis, journals, online material, dissertations, and published books. The findings from these sources revealed gaps in knowledge that warrant improvement. Secondary data was also obtained from libraries and the internet alike. The use of secondary data is beneficial t o the study in that such sources are always readily available for use (Benz & Newman, 1998: 34, 54).

Additionally, Kaar (2009: 126) points out that these kinds of sources are not limited by time and space. This gave the researcher the freedom of reviewing the sources at own convenience and timing. Housden (2008: 75) also postulates that secondary data collection methods are relatively inexpensive and quicker than their primary counterparts. The school of thought of the investigator was that secondary methods would enable him narrow down to the specifics of how innovation in technology supports service innovation. The leading search engine in the world, Google, was used because of its preciseness in searching well formulated questions.

Data collection method

In line with the Nigerian requirements, the investigator sourced for a permit from the Office of the Education Officer allowing him to conduct the study. He (the researcher) then piloted the questionnaire and developed a distribution schedule for the questionnaires. The pilot study came in handy in ensuring;

  1. Clarity of the questions chosen
  2. Preciseness of the questions for faster answering by the respondent and quicker analysis of the feedback by the researcher
  3. Ease of interpretation by the respondent

A letter highlighting the significance of the study was also sent in advance to the respondents. An explanation of the study’s benefits to the respondents was capitalized on. This way, they were more co-operative since they were able to identify at least one area if not two that the study would be of benefit to them.

Study Sample

The sample population consists of 100 managers from Nigeria’s 5 leading telecommunication firms.

The following table shows a summary of the 5 companies.

Table 1 showing the names of companies that contributed the study participants.

Rank Telecom firms No. of managers to be incorporated into the study population No. of managers to make it into the population sample Score out of 100
1 Airtel 20 5 38
2 Etisalat 20 5 64
3 Glo Mobile 20 5 60
4 MTN 20 5 78
5 Starcoms 20 5 29

Technique of Sampling

The researcher used purposive sampling whereby respondents with vast and relevant information were selected. These respondents were selected after the researcher made efforts of arranging for an appointment. Here, five department heads from IT or ICT, marketing, operations, editing and sports were briefed on the purpose of the study. Have agreed with the researcher’s intention, these managers went ahead to 25 respondents with requisite knowledge and experience to respond to study questions.

Exploration on issues of reliability and validity

Validity

Opinions from experts were sought as a measure of validity. This was purely on logic on the part of the researcher. He took five respondents through preliminary interviews whose feedback was used as a benchmark of the accuracy of the feedback from the actual questionnaires. The guiding principles to this approach were that the study had to be as descriptive as possible since descriptive approach to research had been settled on. All the aforementioned instruments ensured the collection of valid data.

Reliability

This is the degree to which data collected produces analogous results with the conditions and assessment kept constant. The re-categorization of data by the researcher ensured project’s reliability. While doing this, he maintained similar data in respective groups.

Generalizability

Generalization is very dependent on how a scholar classifies the concepts and how reliable the categories can be. It was imperative for the researcher to accurately name the main categories of ideas for which the project purposed to attain. These ideas were drawn from the objectives of the project.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

After data collection followed the analysis of data collected from the population sampled. Findings were presented and interpretation of the findings derived. A technique known as Content analysis was adopted. This technique draws conclusions from systematic and objective identification of characteristics specified. A conceptual analysis was thus settled on. Documents that quantified content into preset categories that are duplicable were used. Additionally, statistics that were descriptive in nature were used in describing the results from the sample population and findings induced to the general populace and ideas centralized for further analysis. It is at this stage that breakdown of information to useful bits was done. Presentation of the findings by the researcher was done on tables, frequency charts, and graphs.

Limitations

The chosen methodology was limited in scope and geographically. The limitation in its scope emerges from the fact that the study is concentrated on companies that manufacture mobile phones as well as mobile service providers. In addition, geographically, this approach is limited because participants during data and information collection were drawn from Nigeria alone. It will be fallacious to conclude that the participants represented the whole world. This is because the people from one nation might have the same or similar test and preference. Therefore, the data collected was biased and maybe failed to present a global perspective as far as mobile phones are concerned.

In conclusion, based on the above, the researcher asserts that the findings of the study might not fully representative. There is therefore need for future researchers to carry out alternative studies with the scope widened to increase the level of objectivity and objectiveness. However, this should not imply that this research paper is not useful. Note that the few available mobile phone manufacturers are producing a lot of phones which are serving the whole world today.

Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Major Findings

Introduction

This study purposed to analyse the uses that information technology contributes in the process of new service development. As such, the main question asked and answered by the study was, “in what ways does information technology become beneficial to companies in creating new services or improving the quality of their existing services?” This chapter summarized and presented the information that was collected from the filled in survey questionnaires. Analysis was done and interpretations reported on the meaningful findings as was supported by the data. These findings were extrapolated and illustrated by use of pictorial/graphical illustrations to aid the users of the project in having an easy understanding of the project themes. In relation to this, the author therefore used tables, graphs and charts to represent and highlight the important statistics as they were drawn from the study findings.

The research begun by tackling the findings from the survey research questionnaires and this was followed by the corresponding findings gotten from the documentary review. In both cases, the researcher had to state the main points and relate them to the previous chapters.

Factors behind increased adoption of technological innovations

Findings from the questionnaire

When a study was carried by the researcher to find the reasons behind the escalation in the adoption of information technology and use of mobile phones, the following table 2 presented the results.

Table 2 showing the results of the study participants on the factors behind increased adoption and use of technological innovations in companies

Factors behind the increase %-age out of 100
Willingness to increase business advantage 52
The lessening technology acquisition costs 15
Perceived ease of use 8
Favourable external factors e.g organizational policies that give strong force to IT integration 25

The results were also presented in a graphical format as shown below

Graph 1 representing the above results.

Factors

From the illustration, it was evident that a majority of the sampled participants (52%) acknowledged the fact that the need to increase their business advantage was the key behind the recent effort to incorporate information technologies in their processes. From the justifications that the researcher sought, the explanations given attributed the cause of the above to the process of their products or services assuming similarity in eyes of customers on the market. This movement towards undifferentiated competition had lowered the prices of goods hence reducing operating margins and eventually profits. Given the already existing knowledge on the topic, the researcher emphasizes that technological innovations provided a variety of benefits which are in turn maximised by companies in form of differentiated and superior products. This raises their level of business productivity.

Nevertheless, it is significant to highlight that a considerable number of participants (25%) expressed the opinion that external factors had played one of the leading roles behind the increased usage of information technology in the companies. This can also be attributed to the fact that with adoption of information technologies, companies can now effectively grasp entrepreneurial opportunity and manage cumulative knowledge. This can be achieved by synchronization of either supply chains to attain strategic swiftness. Nevertheless, the role played by decision makers of the company in evaluating the appropriate levels of technology to be adopted in supporting their business operations can be deduced as one the favourable external factors behind its rapid adoption.

However, only a small fraction (8%) of the study population was of the view that technology has revolved and gained ease in its usage thus facilitating its adoption. The small percentage can be credited to the fact that despite the ‘perceived ease of usage’ studies still show that a majority of the working class people still lacked necessary skills to use technological applications. To date, there are notable cases where organizations have devoted a significant amount of time and money resources in training staff only to end up being disappointed when some of the trained personnel end up fearing and avoiding its use altogether in accomplishing tasks.

Findings from the documentary sources

While also supporting the above view, the findings from an international conference on information resources management (Mehdi, 1999) observed that information technology for the businessperson played significant roles. The findings of his research established that companies were not attracted to IT not just a tool to automate business process, but to possess strategic and competitive advantages. This enabled small companies to engage in business leveraging. Again, while noting that instantaneous global access to the internet and websites had provided companies with unprecedented business opportunities, a study titled ‘Information technology and business process reengineering: New perspectives and strategies’ (Tsai, 2003) pointed out that companies had established the desire to take the advantage of this information. The reason behind this was linked to the expedient and expeditious efforts used in gaining competitive advantage and increasing their market dominance. By adopting information technology to be linked to interactive web sites with transactional capabilities, Tsai (2003) established that many companies have been able to instantly reach millions of customers anywhere, anytime without enormous capital investments.

Likewise, it was stated that the ability to get information through the internet from firms offering similar products has stiffened the competition among companies. This is so since the customers have been empowered to demand complete information on products or services of choice. By adopting technological innovations, companies are able to subscribe to online markets. Using this connection, companies substantially reduce the time they take to respond to customer queries or process orders (reduction of lead times). They can also display their products sides-by-sides with those of their rivals.

For many modern-day companies, it was cited by 88% of IT executives in the (2000) Information Week and Business Weekly Survey that e-business initiatives have become a competitive necessity in attaining a competitive edge, improving customer satisfaction and assisting managers to keep pace with the competition. In addition, it was averred that the adoption of e-business applications has played useful roles in enabling companies establish brand awareness in additional to reducing operational costs. In related support to the findings above, a study by Schwalbe (2010) on the management of information technology projects gave the reason why information technology has been used to provide competitive and support strategic plans. While summarizing the need behind its increased adoption as resting in directly supporting key business strategies, the study gave the example of information systems aiding a company to be a low cost producer. Walmart inventory control system in the United States for instance had helped the chain store become the largest retailer. Lastly, Schwalbe highlights that information systems can be used to support strategies occupying specific product niche or of selling to particular markets. For instance, Federal Express’s use of IT to create an online package tracking system provide it with a long lasting competitive advantage until rival companies developed similar systems.

IT Usage in delivering new service development

Findings from the research questionnaire

When the researcher carried out the study to determine how Information technology has been used to introduce new or improved services in phones, the following table 3 presented the results:

Table 3 representing the above results.

Usage No. of respondents (out of 100)
Offering cost benefits 22
Marketing of phones 18
Securing of confidential data 16
Cost-cutting measure through automation of routine work 24
Allows transfer of data (through wireless media) 20
Uses of IT in NSD.
Bar Graph 2 Showing Uses of IT in NSD.

Line graph 1 represented the above statistics;

the above statistics

From the three diagrams above, many participants (24) said that the use of information technology in providing the benefit of cost-cutting measures enabled mobile phone companies to create new services for their customers. This can be linked to the perspective that through automation, mobile phone companies increase output per worker and reduce labour costs. In other words, it is through the adoption of automated equipment that companies are able to reduce on direct labour and eventually product costs.

In addition, a significant number of the respondents (20) highlighted the usefulness of the technology in allowing the transfer of data (20), widening the market (18) and securing of company data (16) as other useful roles that enable phone companies to differentiate in the competitive market. On the transfer of data, the researcher established that the capability of information technology in creating or linking wireless networks enables mobile phone employees to meet their demands for efficiency and convenience at workplaces. They are therefore able to share project related data with ease and make decisions without place or distance constraints. This enables them to eventually come up with strong brands for their markets. In addition, the researcher infers another role of the wireless media as enabling the research units to communicate with subscribed customers and capturing their specific needs. These needs can then be taken care of in the succeeding mobile phone versions.

On the widening of markets, most participants gave the justification through technology; the world has become a global village. Those in support argued that companies facing competitions in their home areas can carry out market research and identify specific markets far away from their homeland country.

On the provision of security for company data, the researcher attributed the statement of this benefit to the ability of advanced innovations to provide anti-counterfeiting solutions and product authentication for the mobile phone companies. Such systems help reduce risks associated with inappropriate access or imitations.

Findings from the documentary sources

An article by ITL Education Solutions Limited (2005) that looked at the introduction to the topic of information technology highlighted the following as the findings on the uses of IT in helping mobile phone companies create quality services.

To start with, the article established that the extensive availability of the internet-based information has allowed procurement departments in mobile phone companies to access information on a wider network of suppliers. This has in turn led to competitive pricing of required production materials. In other terms, the use of information technology has led to the growth of the internet. The internet has on its part reduced the role played by the middleman in transacting business activities.

Furthermore and still on a related finding, the study highlighted that the use of information technology has led to the revolution of the internet which has in return made the world a global village. The readily availability of the media has led to the growth of e-commerce. Corporates engaged in e-business can suit their websites to increase the brand awareness of their products and hence new promotion of their goods. In addition, websites can be used to offer better after sales services to customers.

Contrastingly, this secondary source established interesting and contradicting findings on how played a role in securing and in securing data. First, the author determined that the growth of the information technology in companies had negatively impacted business operations. This was the case as it increased the threat of insecurity of important computer information. To address this same challenge, competing companies has been forced to adopt advanced technological innovations to avoid the illegal access of their sensitive information by unauthorised persons. Moreover, the study noted that the use of information in mobile computing has allowed the usage of wireless networking for transmission of data between networked devices. This has in turn enabled staff to access and sharing of data used in project assignment at anytime and anywhere.

Elsewhere, a book by Howard (2010) that investigated the digital origins of democracy and dictatorship among Muslim nations identified varying findings on the benefit that IT brought to the mobile phone sector. According to findings in the study, information technology has led to the creation of advanced digital media (namely the internet) in the mobile phones. The use of the internet has widened the market for mobile phones in the Muslim community. This was attributed to their usage in enhancing personal communication and cultural consumption. This consumption has had its major impact among the Muslim community which has witnessed the growth of democracy in recent years. The case above is justified based on the fact that before the advancement of the internet in phones, autocratic Muslim states used to manage the content to be shared amongst the masses thus denying them access to vital information. Innovative mobile companies have therefore found bigger market shares amongst the Muslim community.

Factors to consider before adopting and implementing IT

Findings from the research questionnaire

The researcher purposed to establish major factors to be considered in the successful implementation of information technology in companies. The following table 4 presented the responses as they were postulated by the study population. However, it is imperative to mention that these factors are independent of each other since more than one factor can be considered at a period.

Table 4 representing factors considered in adopting IT

Factor %-age of Respondents
Yes No
Availability of capital 65 35
Standardization/Integration 68 32
Skills of Workers 50 50
Organizational Structure 25 75
After Sales Support 45 65
factors considered in adopting IT.
Bar graph 3 showing factors considered in adopting IT.

From the graph and the table above, it has been proved that a lot of people (68%) consider standardization factors when they want to adopt and implement Information Technology. Note that the number of people who consider capital or economic factors is also high (65%). However, very few people (25%) consider organization structure when they want to implement information technology.

Mobile phone manufacturers have developed mobile phone with different features targeting to satisfy the wide variety of user test and preferences. From the questionnaire, many respondents were of the opinion that the different existing mobile phone models have changed from being mere communication gadgets to complex tools that can store information, entertain, and enable users to access the internet. Many respondents explain that this is the major reason as to why they prefer considering the integration factor of IT before implementing them. Some respondents argued that some IT systems are very complex and need high technical skills to use them and thus integrating them becomes a challenge.

On the other hand, some other respondents argued that the more IT advances and becomes more user friendly, the more it becomes costly. For instance, current mobile phones that can multi-task i.e. handle more than one task can be acquired at a relatively high cost. For example, the cost of an android mobile phone is triple the cost of the old fashion mobile phones that were used for communication alone. Therefore, many respondents explained that it is equally important to consider capital implication of the new system.

Findings from the documentary sources

During the literature review phase, the researcher came across different arguments about the factors that should be considered before adopting and implementing information technology. Despite the disparity in argument, all the studies indicated some common aspects that must be considered.

Howard (2010) argued that there are four important aspects that should be considered. These are technical factors, economic factors, social factors, and legal factors. Under economic factors, the financial implication of the new system should be considered. The cost of purchasing, implementation, and maintenance has to be weighed against the benefits (cost-benefit analysis). If the benefits exceed the cost then one should go ahead. In addition, one has to properly asses the legal implication of the new system. Factors such as registration to government bodies, legal documents needed, and copy write issues, and several others have to be settled before adopting and implementing.

Under social factors, one has to consider the social implication of the new system. In cases where companies, firms, or organizations are in need of implementing IT, the management should consider impacts of the IT to their human resource. In addition, a factor to consider under technical issue is the ability of the current workforce to handle the IT to be implemented. Can the current human resource handle the new system?

Mobile phone branding and design approaches

Findings from the research questionnaire

When the researcher carried out an investigation to identify how mobile phone companies used advances in IT to brand their products and remain competitive on markets, the following table 3 captured the four main classifications as they were inferred from the participants’’ responses;

Table 4 showing the classifications of the various mobile phone designs.

Mobile phone designs/brands %-age of respondents
Interactive designs 16
Sensory designs 18
Cognitive Service Designs 21
Advanced Product/Service Innovations 45
the classifications of the various mobile phone designs.
Pie Chart 1 showing the classifications of the various mobile phone designs.

From the table and pie chart above, it is evident that strong mobile phone brands (45%) have derived good advantage of the existing technological capabilities to engage in product innovations. Other methods of branding that were cited by respondents included the use of cognitive and sensory designs. Likewise, a few of the respondents (16%) expressed the opinion that the production of mobile phones with interactive capabilities had played a significant role in increasing the growth of certain mobile phone brands around the globe.

While indirectly acknowledging that service or product innovations played a role in differentiating brands of mobiles phones across the market, majority of the users argued that “the growth in information technology has opened the way for the development of newest handsets enhanced with abundant and high-tech features to feed the hungry customers”. Some of the participants stated that information technology had made it possible to produce advanced or high quality phones at low pricing. In addition, there were groups of respondents who cited the example of using brand slogans as one of the ways in which service innovations has been achieved by phone companies to increase their market shares. By incorporating IT in their operations, mobile phone companies have given the companies’ research departments’ wider access to research data. The researcher argues that these departments have been able to engage customers on their wants and hence create advertising tag lines that visually express the benefits of new products. The inference gotten from the assertions above reveal that in the current overcrowded markets, mobile phone manufacturers have maximised on the benefits associated with information technology to create innovative slogans.

On the other hand, when studied participants were asked to explain on how mobile phone companies achieved cognitive service designs, participants cited the ability of manufacturers to use technology to produce gadgets with the capabilities of guiding graphics. For instance, the ability of brands to control or read media applications such as video, photos, attractive power point presentations, publishing amongst others. In addition, some respondents cited the ability of phones to synch data from other media such as computers and cameras, and the incorporation of interactive voice response systems as some of the cognitive service designs that present day manufacturers have embraced to win on the needs of their clients.

Findings from the documentary sources

A review of the findings in the secondary literature revealed interesting themes to uphold or contradict those presented above. For instance, a study on ‘mobile phone branding: an overview of the race to the top’ found out that mobile phone companies that offered low price point for consumers and relentless quality enjoyed strong run-up in sales. The Google Nexus was named as an example of those phones which retailed at low prices but were still of high quality.

Elsewhere, a secondary study that looked at the fundamentals in branding found similar findings as to those expressed by study participants on sensory designs. Both instruments highlighted the production of LED powered screens that allowed users to operate their gadgets via the touchscreen modes as one of the innovative designs that has led to the growth of mobile phone industry. Nevertheless, an article by Christen which had predicted that the future of the phones had the potential to reach out and touch had given the following in its findings:

Mobile phone designers across the world were busy working on the development or improvement of multisensory designs which are still being used to achieve their primary function of dropping calls. These multi-sensory designs have doubled up as stand-up frame; with their screens for instance being advanced to show photos of family members and friends comforting at either home or work stations. In addition to the finding highlighted above, the same article established that users of mobile phones have been fascinated by the capability of present sensory design to engage sound, smell, touch and sight. The intent of service innovators in the mobile phone manufacturing industry has seen the sensory-designed gadgets both emit and detect odours, as well as radiate temperature, light and colours from the callers’ surrounding. The usefulness of sensory designs enabling the identification of callers by touch and smell can be interpreted as one of the amazing capabilities that has helped callers to literally stay in touch

Recommendations & Conclusions

Main findings of the study

The aim of this study was to demonstrate that information technology plays a number of roles in the process of new service development process. This has in return been reflected in the new opportunities that come with its adoption I companies. Thus, the aim was demonstrated by reviewing the use of IT in aiding the introduction of smartened phones. However, for this to be attained, a number of research objectives were formulated and extended into the questionnaire. The following is a re-statement of the research questionnaires and comments to the extent to which they were answered.

What are the opportunities that mobile phone manufacturers can get from the adoption of IT for service innovation?

This question wanted to seek participant opinions on how IT has been used in the process of new service development to generate new opportunities for companies. With regards to the results of the study presented in the previous chapter (chapter 4) the researcher established that a number of similar and varying themes were either expressed in support of the benefits that companies stood to gain by incorporating information technology in their operations. For instance, both the literature review and the research findings agree that information technology has helped to great extent business players by offering cost benefits to business processes. This is agreed on based on the viewpoint that organizations are able to prioritize communication systems in a competitive environment. However, the literature review and the research findings expressed varying opinions on how some of the benefits likely to accrue to companies adopting technologies to support their operations.

For instance, while the literature insisted on the benefit of companies being allowed to promote their relationships with customers through fastened communication, the research findings insisted on the benefit of enhancing the decision making processes in companies. The latter being gotten from the fact that through increase wireless media, company staffs working on various projects are able to link to each other using the existing internet ‘hotspots’. On the other hand, the authors in the literature review said that the usage of IT in delivering new service development help in services such as user needs analysis through online surveys. Interestingly, both the literature and the research findings were in agreement that the usage of technology in companies helped in saving heavy costs. Agreeably, the two gave matching reasons to support this. This were that the development of the internet has enabled marketing departments to target web-based and database marketing (or simply e-commerce) which is cheaper as compared to the traditional forms of marketing such as the print media. As such, the budget that was previously assigned has drastically reduced with the growth of the internet across the globe. Information technology has therefore helped in enhancing relationships between company stakeholders.

Moreover, as presented in chapter four, there has been a cost-cutting measure through automation of routine work. The literature review on its parts supported that the automation of routine assignments had helped companies cut on the wage or salary expenses associated with hiring human staffs. Notably, IT and especially mobile technology helps to adopt a flat structure in business management. Furthermore, external communication is highly boosted by these technologies. This is important since an organization’s market consists of several stakeholders who are the determinants to the organization’s operations and therefore communication should be regular, effective and efficient which these technologies address. Moreover, this becomes handy especially when there is a new product or service that has been developed. Therefore, it is imperative for the company to have sound external communication strategies while using modern mobile technologies to guarantee its business survival.

Furthermore, with the advent of technology and revolution in information communication technology, it has been ascertained that businesses have adopted the use of World Wide Web (WWW) to provide services to clients. As such, websites have been developed to run on the mobile phone technologies for external communication and service delivery. The websites can be accessed globally irrespective of the geographical hindrance. As such, it can be confirmed that by the finding of the study and the available reviewed literature that the technologies offer cost benefits, marketing platforms, cost cutting measure through automation of routine work and transfer of information or data across the globe.

In a nutshell therefore, both the literature review and research findings worked in unison in clearing the doubt that information technology and e-commerce support systems can be used to greatly enrich and sustain a companies’ long-term strategic competitive advantage.

What are the mobile phone branding and design approaches that are relevant from a service perspective?

The findings on this objective were in agreement that the current trends in digital branding had forced all mobile phone manufacturers to engage in marketing mix in developing differentiated handsets. Both the findings in the literature review and chapter four were in agreement that as a result of the above, current mobile phone handsets have been smartened with a wide range of features. These features enabled different communication and interaction modes. To extend, the researcher established that through the current advancements, latest handsets have been improved with the provision of features that allow the interaction, sensing as well as recognition of certain aspects between callers separated by time and distance. As such, the present models act as ‘expert or intelligent systems’ by offering more multimedia functionalities. Based on the findings from the literature review and the study participants, it is anticipated that the on-going technological advancements will continue to lead to creation of hi-tech cell phones at decreased costs.

What are the factors to consider before adopting and implementing technological invention in the mobile phone sector?

The findings from the literature review established there are several factors that an organization has to put into consideration before embarking on implementing information technology. These factors fall under two broad classes namely, external and internal factors (Tsai, 2003). External factors that should be considered include legal issues and social implication of the new system. Legal issues that affect the use of information technology differ from nation to nation. However, an organization should ensure that it meets all legal requirements before implementing the new system. For instance, an organization might be needed to register the new system, insure the new system, and other legal issues. In addition, it is very important that the copywriter implication be critically assessed before implementation. The organization should take measures to ensure that the ownership of the Information technology to be implemented is safeguarded. Besides this, the organization should consider the social implication of the IT to be adopted. What social implication does the new system have to the external community? It implies that the organization has to establish both negative and positive effects of the new system. In addition, the literature review established that met all external factors, it is significant that one should now narrow down and consider internal factors. These factors can be classified into economic factors, social factors, and technical factors.

However, the research findings differed on the classification of the factors to be considered. First and foremost, it was articulated that an organization has to ensure that it meets the financial requirements to adopt the proposed information technology. This was linked to the reason that some information technology applications were pretty very expensive and thus it is important that the required finances be sourced before anything else. In addition, the research findings highlighted the need for standardization; ascertaining if the company has all the needed hardware and software elements needed to adopt the Information Technology. Some IT applications need special hardware and software considerations. Lastly, chapter 4 identified that internal social implication of the information technology to be adopted should be assessed. What effects will the IT have on the workforce? Does the present workforce have enough knowledge to handle the IT to be adopted? What are some of the negative impacts of the intended new IT system to the available human resource? These were some of the major questions proposed for answering before the invention could be selected for adoption.

Recommendations

Based on the themes investigated and discussed in this study, the following suggestions were put forward by the researcher to assist companies successfully implement technological inventions for enhanced performance.

First, owing to the fact that all the reviewed sources failed to give practical examples of how information technology can be adopted by companies to enhance the quality of products or services, the researcher recommends that substantive research should be conducted to seal this research gap. It is very realistic that information technology has played several important roles in ensuring that firms offer better services, but there is need to have tangible practical examples. In addition, there is need to conduct a comprehensive research that will explain important and critical factors that should be put into consideration before adopting different types of information technology. Available literatures have discussed general considerations.

Note that information technology is a very wide field and thus discussing issues generally might not satisfy what users need in case they face complex challenges. Extending on the above therefore, the author revisits that prior to the selection of a certain innovation; a technical team should be formed drawn from all the respective departments likely to be affected by the adoption of the technology. This team should hold strategy meetings, document the needs from their departments and brainstorm on how a unified innovation will take care of these needs. The chosen system should clearly try as much as possible to address the needs of the various departments without showing bias. This is vital since statistics have shown that companies perform better when all of their departments work as a team to attain the set goals.

At the end strategy sessions, it is important that a detailed report showing the ‘preferred’ system should be forwarded to the top management for review with justifications incorporated. The report should outline both the short-term and long-term benefits, and financial implications associated with adopting anyone of the systems. The financial bit should outline major issues or factors and compare the costing per each proposed system. The table below illustrates a sample of the comparisons the costing can be achieved in the report.

Table 5 showing the comparison of costs associated with adopting alternative IT systems.

Issue/Factor consider System A System B
Customizing to fit company processes Major overhaul required, estimated at a total of U$4m Less overhaul needed, total estimates at $2.4m

At the end of the planning process, the topmost management should narrow down on a system that will be affordable and match the needs of their current processes.

Secondly, it is suggested that managements should consider the negative role that other factors apart from globalization play in reducing profit margins. Throughout the study, various authors came out strongly to argue that globalization constituted the single most important reason that drove companies into adopting technology. However, the researcher counteracts this by pointing out that a variety of factors combine to influence the performance of companies. For instance, it is a fact that poor inventory control or poor attention given to the process of tracking goods can lead to theft of goods or services by untrustworthy sellers. Such reasons need to also be factored among the key operational challenges whose solution can also be found in the automation of processes.

Thirdly, legal factors are some of the consideration that any company has to consider before adopting any form of IT. From the literature review, the researcher realised that besides law differing from nation to nation, there is too little that has been legislated in relation to IT. For instance, what legal steps should a company take in case its source code or original coding is copied by another firm before the system development life cycle is complete? In essence to this, the researcher recommends that substantive legislation should be done to cover such loop holes.

Fourthly, the researcher warns that the studied themes have christened the adoption of IT in companies as the ‘solve it all’ solution to company underperformance. This should not be the case since every technological opportunity comes with its own costs and challenges. It is therefore suggested that managements in the planning and defining stages should look at the negative aspects that are likely to affect the organization as a result of adopting new technology. For instance, why are issues of data confidentiality or security likely to be handled from your competitors?

Lastly, the author recommends that it is important for the management to seek the views of all the company stakeholders before a decision is reached on the type of innovative services to be adopted for production. This is the case since companies’ reputations have become critical to their successes, and as this is built on the fact that most companies give high priority to the suggestions made by customers while disregarding those emanating from internal workers. Therefore, the involvement of company staff, suppliers, partners, funders, customers, directors, policy makers can be linked to anything from the creation of new goods and services to the long-term strategic position of the specific company.

Need for further research

In conclusion, the researcher asserts that studies to enhance information technologies within companies have to continue. Future scholars should therefore aim to carry out research customized towards investigating the strategic benefits that information technology especially for service oriented companies. To aid them in doing these, the author revisits that the results of this dissertation provide suitable framework upon which both future scholars can use to advance their projects and interested companies can use to adopt IT and hence improve on their competitive advantage.

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Appendices

Sample Questionnaire

University Name,

School of…,

Research Project Questionnaire

Instruction(s): Study the following questions and provide your own responses (Any stated or listed points should be numbered e.g. 1.).

  1. Can you state the issues or company characteristics related to organizing successful new service development.
  1. Identify in statement form the ways in which IT has been used in the process of new service development to deliver competitive mobile phone services.
  1. Name and highlight in brief the mobile phone branding and design approaches that are relevant from a service perspective.
  1. Tick in the relevant corresponding box the factors to consider before adopting and implementing technological invention in the mobile phone sector

technological invention in the mobile phone sector

  1. According to your own analysis, list the opportunities that mobile phone manufacturers or service providers can get from adopting technological inventions for service delivery.

Introductory Letter

(Name of Researcher

Institution

Complete Address

(LOCATION).

05-03-2013

To (Name and Address of Respondent).

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a student in the above mentioned university undertaking a course that will lead to the award of graduate degree Business Administration. In the efforts of fulfilling one of the requirements for this award, I am carrying out a research on the title outlined on the attached questionnaire.

Kindly fill and hand it in.It will be strictly used for academic purposes and respondents’ anonymity is guaranteed.

Yours sincerely

(Signed)

(Name of Researcher)

Page