Rapid advancement in technology in general has proved to be key driving force not only for the technology field, but for almost all related fields. The Information Technology in particular has proved to be the prime mover for rapid advancements taking place in almost all spheres of human life. For example, Internet and web services are playing a leading role in this process of transformation. While web services provide a foundation to the networking and internet applications and allow a number of applications from different sources to communicate with each other, the internet as such has proved to be a landmine of information gathering and communication.
Now the use of internet covers real-time computer conferencing, audio broadcasting, video broadcasting, real time telephony and of course real-time business. E-business, m-commerce or e-marketing are of course some of the most advanced and effective business applications of the internet. As internet is gradually maturing and presenting a paradigm shift in its very ideation, the infrastructure has acquired a business character, a transcontinental personality and a vending framework of wide-ranging, business, educational, scientific and personal data.
Business establishments and financial institutions have already explored the use of mobile commerce through mobile banking to broaden their reach by letting their customers access their account information and make transactions through their mobile phones. Similarly online trading in debt and equity instruments, mobile brokerage have empowered the common investor and made the share market more transparent and investor friendly. All these revolutionary concepts of Information Technology have the potential of substantially enhancing the work performances, but these gains prove elusive if the user cannot use the technological gadget to its fullest advantage.
Therefore the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) helps in assessing the user friendliness of technological advancements and makes ‘usability’ and ‘functionality’ the key application quality requirements. Factors like security, reliability, privacy, connectivity, user-friendliness, flexibility, extendibility etc. are some of the factors which the TAM approach tries to identify.
No doubt, technology advancement is all around us. We can see it, feel it, use it and appreciate it. But the moot question is how do we know that which aspects of technology have shown real advancements; or how a particular company can make best use of advancements in technology. This requires the organization or the company to assess the market position, the need and acceptance for such advancement and the consequential benefits once these advancements are implemented by the organization or the company.
As with any research project, determining the best methodology to gather data when conducting research is of paramount importance. Inevitably, any discussion of methodology involves a debate over the pros and cons of quantitative analysis versus qualitative analysis. Both types of analysis require data and facts and figures, which can be gathered either through primary sources or secondary sources.
Since the nature of this study involves a broader analysis, therefore we’ll have to take the help of secondary sources in good measure, for gathering most of the information. Some of the primary sources could be interviews and opinions from the users or customers of the company. Similarly interviews and opinions can be sought from some company workers, managers etc. who have a key role in implementing the technological advancements.
Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
The technology acceptance model is now being used widely to study the acceptance levels of newly introduced technologies. The model was proposed in 1986 to address the question why a particular technology is accepted or rejected by users (Elwood et. al, 2006). TAM traces the impact of external variables on internal beliefs, attitudes, emotions, perceptions and intentions.
Since TAM was originally developed to predict an individual’s likelihood of adopting a technology, therefore Reinicke and Marakas (2005) state that it seems reasonable to assume that individual differences may impact the model’s effectiveness for predicting intentions to adopt by an individual. Perceptions as such are determined by various factors controlling the human behavior; therefore, the success of TAM depends on these pre-dispositions.
Different people exhibit varying degrees of ease of use and usefulness perceptions regarding the same system. The reasons for such variations could be because of differing job needs, differing levels of experience and ability levels or even differing individual styles in responding to questionnaires and rating scales. Therefore, TAM takes into account such differences. According to TAM, there are two main factors that explain the system use. The two factors are;
- Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU): It indicates how easy it is to handle the technology. In this case user of IT and IT services in general would be the target of our research. Davis et al. (1989) define the PEOU as, “the degree to which the user expects the target system to be free of effort”.
- Perceived Usefulness (PU): If the gadget and technology is found easy to handle by the user then he’ll decide to go for it i.e. only if he perceives the gadget as useful for himself. This is where the marketing people are supposed to work overtime, to broaden the perception of the prospective user, so that the new gadget fits well within the usefulness limit of the buyer. Davis et al. (1989) state that PU is the user’s “subjective probability that using a specific application system will increase his or her job performance within an organizational context”.
The aim of this project is to research, examine, report and assess the impact of a transition towards an IT era i.e., an era dotted with a networked community. Therefore, an effort will be made to study the path taken by the technology to arrive at this position and how it has impacted the effectiveness of providing services to the consumer. Using reliable secondary data sources would yield the required information to make comparisons and further investigate the trend.
Moreover, use of secondary research allows for the analysis of a broad range of topics that can be thoroughly investigated and has proven to be credible. Secondary research in general can be carried out with the help of sources like books, government documents, reputed websites and scholarly journals. The research also relies upon documentary evidence. This type of research involves “systematic and objective location, evaluation, and synthesis of the evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions concerning different sets of events.
Some of the main steps involved for this project are:
- Studying the development of IT since the beginning of computers and related peripherals has today led us towards enabling or ‘m-enable community.’
- How the company ‘ABC Ltd’ has progressed from being a one-office company to a position where it has offices in almost all major countries, with all offices networked for faster communication channels.
- Analyze the functioning of and implementation of some of the latest initiatives by the company ABC Ltd’ and how this has helped the customers of the company.
- Carry out a comprehensive look at the customers of the company and how their expectations have changed over the years, as they observe the world around them.
- Gather data related to some other competitive companies in the field, so that a comparative statement can be prepared about the prepared of the company for the times to come.
- Put together all the elements and analyze the relevant data. In the process, we’ll also refer to the analysis done by some of the leading world bodies, institutions, and organizations.
- The general population of this study will comprise customers using the products or services of the company, workers, and managers of the company. We can also decide about the size of the sample i.e. the number of people who will be interviewed for the study or questionnaires would be handed over to them. For example, we can say that there could be 100 respondents in all, who will be selected randomly.
The sample interview questionnaire should be in two parts:
- Part A of the questionnaire will contain the demographic characteristics of the respondents and this will serve as the profile of the respondents. This will include their gender, age, employment, and affiliations profile.
- Part B will determine the behavior and attitudes of the respondents as to how they perceive the use of technology in transacting business, communicating or in daily life. Its advantages and disadvantages will also be solicited from the respondents.
This way we are able to gather the requisite data, which can further be analyzed by the researcher to arrive at the conclusion.