The rapidly changing business environments in which organizations operate have brought challenges that organizations must meet up with in other to remain competitive. According to Adewoye (2007), these environments in which banks and other organizations operate are competitive, complex and consist of changing operational conditions. The revolution in information and communication technology is the drive of present day economy and corporate strategies of organizations; it is responsible for the speedy changes in the mode of operations that organizations adopt.
Considering Nigeria‟s banking sector, the use of information and communication technology is relatively new. As at 1998 one bank in Nigeria had an automated teller machine (Agboola, 2006). On realizing the benefits of using ICTs in rendering of banking services, Nigeria commercial banks now deploy and use different ICT facilities in their various banking services.
In this study an attempt is made to find out from the various customers of Nigeria‟s banks included in this study what their most used and prefered ICT facility of their banks is. An attempt is also made to find out if bank customers most used and prefered ICT facility differs based on gender consideration and lastly, this study also tries to find out what the worst factors are that tend to limit customer usage of their banks‟ICTs.To be able to answer these questions, a theoretical framework of CFS and contingency theory are used. The data received from the survey are analyzed by using SPSS.
The objective of this study is to identify, describe, explain and explore the different CFS of ICT application in banks to rendering quality services to customers in the studied commercial banks in Nigeria.
The findings are that: The individual customers of the studied banks prefer to make use of their banks‟ automated teller machine most of the time compare to other ICT facility been used in the banks. But, the banks‟ corporate customers prefer to make use of branch networking facility of their banks. According to the theoretical frame work of CFS being used in this study, the CSFs based on data gotten from individual customers and corporate customers are automated teller machines and branch networking. In determining what the CFS are based on gender, the results show that female customers of the studied banks prefer to use internet banking and the male customers prefer to use automated teller machines. From the responses received from corporate customers, it shows that the critical success factor for the females is mobile banking and for the males is branch networking. The survey revealed that low internet connectivity, security and epileptic power supply are the worst factors limiting customers‟ usage of their banks ICT facilities.
The 21st century business environment is characterized by highly changing technological innovations, especially in information and communication technology (ICT) (Agboola, 2006). ICT has become an integral part of corporate organizations‟ life as it plays important roles in its management and organization (Laudon and Laudon, 1991).
The pace of the evolutionary trend of ICT in our society is phenomenal as its impacts are felt in every facet of the society including the outmost corners of the world; consequently the numbers of personal computers and internet subscribers are on the increase and are expected to keep growing especially in less developed countries (Mark, 2007).
In the assertion of Nijkamp and Cohen-Blankshtain (2005), digital revolution has not only impacted significantly on contemporary business life, our style of living and our occupation, but it has also affected the public services significantly.
1.1 Information and Communication Development in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the first computer ever came into the country in the year 1963. However, the revolution of ICT in the country started with the return of democratic rule (Www, Siteresources). In addition, Agboola (2006) said that ICT first made its way into Nigerian banks in the early 90s. In 1998, one bank had an ATM, but by 2004, fourteen commercial banks had acquired one.
In giving high priority attention to ICT, the Federal government came up with different policies to ensure a successful development of the sub sector and other major sectors that will serve as a market for the ICT. Such policies were National Information Technology (NIT) Policy, National Space policy, National Bio-technology Policy, National Telecommunication policy, etc (Www, Siteresources).
As the government intensifies its effort to aid rapid development of ICT in the country, records shown that the efforts are geared towards acquiring, programming tools, software, applications and internal software development, operating systems, computer and network systems integration, voice and data communications services, web hosting, data processing services, wired and wireless communications and IT consulting. These ICT related acquisitions and spendings by the government of Nigeria is reported by the World Bank to have doubled within the last 5 years. Below is the graphical representation of the World Bank report (Www, Siteresources).
Figure One: Nigeria’s ICT Expenditure (US$)
1.1.1 ICT Institutions in Nigeria
The efforts of the government in making Nigeria an ICT driven country is not only limited to ICT related acquisitions but it also includes the establishment of supporting institutions in various parts of the country. Such institutions include National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Others are National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDF), establishment of IT Parks with functioning infrastructures for training, service rendering and management which are necessary for harnessing the power of information and communication (Www, Siteresources).
The effort of the government to make Nigeria an ICT empowered nation has also spread to the education sector, this effort is seen in the establishment of Federal University of technology and Polytechnics in different regions of the country. Through the initiative of making Nigeria an ICT driven nation, the Ministry of education has significantly made progress in its development and implementation of the following ICT driven projects:
The Nigerian Universities Network and National Teachers Institutes, Teachers Training program through Distance Learning.
National Virtual Library project.
National Open University of Nigeria and Distance Learning program.
Computers in Schools Initiative.
Educational Management information System (EMIS). (ibid)
Besides the Universities and Polytechnics, there are other ICT training institutes in Nigeria, these include Microsoft Training Academy, CISCO Academy, Digital Bridge institute (DBI), National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) etc.These training institutes run certification programs leading to the award of different ICT qualification, such as IT Security Certifications, Microsoft Windows Network Certifications, Database Certifications, CISCO Network Certifications and others. At the industrial level, different industrial associations have been formed to fast track rapid ICT development in Nigeria. Examples of industrial association formed in this regard are Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Association of Telecommunications Companies (ATC), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPN), Outsourcing Development Initiative of Nigeria (ODIN), Computer Association of Nigeria (CAN) etc (Www, Siteresources).
1.1.2 Nigerian Communications Satellite 1 (NigComSat-1)
The desire of Nigeria to rapidly develop its ICT capability did not end with the establishment of Universities, polytechnics and other training institutions, but in 2006, Nigeria NigComSat-1 was incorporated. NigComSat-1 is an acronym that means Nigerian Communications Satellite 1; it was incorporated as a limited liability company to be in charge of management and operations of the Communications Satellites that was launched in 2007 (Www, Nigcomsat).
In the research of Oketola, (2010), the author said that the Nigerian government is making efforts to overcome the challenges that brought about poor e-readiness of the nation. E-readiness is defined as “the degree to which a society is prepared to participate in the digital economy with the underlying concept that the digital economy can help to build a better society” (GeoSINC International, 2002.Pp 5). In this regard Oketola, (2010), said that concerted efforts are been made to make the Nigeria NigComSat-1 satellite functional with rich ICT package related services to ensure that ICT development in the nation ranks high among the first 20 nations by the year 2020. The author also revealed that NigComSat-1 when fully operational promises to deliver to Nigerians the following benefits:
This is the exchange of information over reasonable distances through electronic devices such as telegraphs, radio, telephones, fiber optics, orbiting satellites, internet etc, in addition the NigComSat-1 is to enhance ,Urban Rural Telephony, Mobile & Paging Services ,corporate networks(VPN), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), networks,inter-carrier Services, Satellite to Satellite Services are all the awaiting benefits from the Nigerian Communications Satellites (Www,Searchtelecom and Www,Nigcomsat).
A tele-centre is a common place for every person in the society where Internet, computers, and other digital technologies can be assessed to enable people in the society to, learn, get information, communicate with others, and learn important digital skills. One main reason for the incorporation of NigComSat-1 is to empower Nigerians digitally (Www, Nigcomsat).
Broadcasting, Internet and Multimedia
Broadcasting is dispersing of messages or signals to a wider area or to connected electrical devices. The installation of NigComSat-1is also expected to greatly improve on the Nigeria broadcasting subsector of the economy, especially in the areas of video streaming, multimedia and audio. It is also to enhance the availability of internet to all Nigeria citizens and corporate organizations so that Nigeria can realize her dream of been an ICT driven nation, (Www, Nigcomsat).
“Telepresence is defined as the experience of being fully present at a live real world location remote from one’s own physical location.”(Www, Transparenttelepresenceresearchgroup, 2004, Pp1)
The Nigeria NigComSat-1is designed to support Telepresence, which will make distance learning, telemedicine, e-government and e-commerce possible in the country (Www, Nigcomsat).
1.2 Background to the problem
Banking operations in Nigeria started in1892; the operation has been through different faces of modifications to enhance successful performance of the industry (Brownbridge, 1996).
Banking operation without the application of ICT facilities is slow and it limits the capability of the banks to attend to the need of their teaming customers and to effectively market their products (Kasum, et al., 2006).
Nigeria‟s economy is cash based, regarding the payment system. This assertion reveals the problems faced by customers in having to go with bulk of physical cash in the process of business transaction; this way of paying for transactions predisposes business men and women to attacks of robbers who may dispossess them of their hard earned resources (Kasum, et al., 2006).
Non availability of ICT facilities in banks make embarking on banking transactions difficult for customers. For example, checking account balance, the customers will have to go to his bank regardless of the distance. Customers are also unable to undertake internet transaction; this means that in time of financial need customers cannot transfer or receive money via internet but will have to wait until the physical cash is made available by any other means outside the use of ICT facilities. On the side of the banks, there is limitation of the number of customers or intending customers that can become aware of banks products. Non usage of ICT facilities restricts a bank to a particular geographical region (Kasum, et al., 2006).
Therefore, not utilization of ICT in banking operations, especially in Nigeria, definitely poses problems for the nation‟s emerging economy, its population and other sectors of the economy that depend on the services of the various banks.
1.3 Statement of Problem
The economy of Nigeria is an emerging economy that needs the instrumentality of a viable banking sector to keep the economic engine running. The Nigerian banking sector cannot afford to lag behind in this present day dynamic business environment, it is therefore important for the sector to fully embrace and integrate the modern information and communication technology into all facet of its operations.
This study will analyze the conditions of some commercial banks in Nigeria in terms of deployment and utilization of ICT in their operations and also the effects of ICT facilities on their operations.
The specific questions that shall guide the research in this project are:
-What are the various ICTs that customers (both internal and external) regard as critical success factors (CFS) for enhancing banking service quality in Nigeria?
-To determine if there are any differences in the perceptions of customers regarding their choice of usage of their banks‟ ICT facilities based on their gender.
-To identify the worst factors limiting the usage of commercial banks‟ ICT facilities in Nigeria.
1.4 Objectives of the Research
The aims of the paper are to identify, describe, explain and explore the various CFS of ICT usage in the studied commercial banks in Nigeria as perceived by internal and external customers. In addition, this study is also aimed at determining what the CFS of Nigerian Banks‟ ICT facilities are, based on customers‟ gender as well as to find out what the factors are that tend to limit customers usage of their banks‟ ICT facilities in Nigeria. The stated research questions will be answered with the help of the theoretical framework of Critical Success Factor and contingency theory.
Present day business environment is characterized by dynamic technological innovations that places premium on business organization to upgrade their facilities if they are to stand out as being competitive and dominant in their market. As a result of this, Nigeria‟s commercial banks have begun to embrace the use of ICT facilities in their operations so as to be competitive (Agboola, 2006).
The concept of effects of ICT application in Nigeria commercial banks is met to unravel the ways that ICT has changed the banking procedures to procedures that are customer focused and highly valued by customers. In the findings of Stella (2010), the author noted that one of the effects of ICT application in banking services is its ability to enable banks to grapple with the challenges of the current day‟s rapid technological revolution in the banking industry. According to her, utilization of ICT in banking operations can greatly improve on banks‟ efficiency, profitability and productivity.
In supporting Stella‟s (2010) view, Accad (2000), posited that clarity of prices and empowerments of consumers brought about by information technology has led to products and price competitions among banks. While continuing, the author said that banks will have to take advantage of the effectiveness of ICT to differentiate their products and services in other to meet the demand of their customers, additionally, Accad also said that ICT enables banks to provide financial information to their customers in a customized user friendly fashion that allows them to easily trail data in the structure that is best suitable to their purpose. Similarly, Abdulazeez 2010 revealed that the use of ICT in Nigerian banks has brought about an effective means of extending banking services to cover more areas in the business environment. According to the author, through the instrumentality of ICT in the various commercial banks it is now possible to make room for more “functions and processes in other sectors” pp.40 , for example, the government can now receive payments for vehicle licensing and registrations as well as payment of school fees through internet banking.
In addition, the Government nowadays pays staff salaries through the e-payment means provided by bank‟s information and communication technology. In continuation, the author said that with the use of ICT in banks, customers can access their account balance to know their financial transactions, top up their cell phones and pay their bills using their mobile cell phones without the stress of having to go to the bank. Furthermore the author also revealed in his findings that access to different branches of commercial banks without difficulty is an encouraging management tool for commercial banks to effectively utilize their bank‟s resources. He also said that with the assistance of information and communication technology, commercial banks are now closer to their customers; and they are able to find out what the needs of their customers are and plan the best way possible to meet such needs as well as other variety of services in a personalized manner at the lowest cost possible (Abdulazeez, 2010).
In the findings of Nam (2006), the author said that the offering of an appropriate level of quality services that meet customers‟ expectations is important for the success of an organization as it is capable of attracting new customers and retaining the old ones. In the light of the opinion of Nam, quality of service is service rendered by an organization that is aimed at meeting the needs of its esteemed customers.
Similarly, Hanna (1994), contributed that flexibility of information and quick response to customer‟s requests are key factors to rendering quality services to customers on a timely fashion; while continuing she said that flexibility of information and quick responses rate are greatly influenced by ICT.
In the conclusion of Abdulazeez (2010), the authors accepted that international money transfer organizations such as Western Union Money Transfer and Money Gram are entirely reliant on ICT to provide convenient services to their customers in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Therefore, the use of ICT in Nigerian commercial banks will ease the difficulties that were associated with the banking sector such as long queue in the banking halls and delays in rendering of services.
In a similar assertion, Ovia (2000), submitted that the introduction of plastic money in the informs of ATM debit card or credit card are additional steps to improving on the quality of services rendered by banks to their customers. He also said that ICT will lead to a much desired cashless economy in Nigeria and will, in the long run, help in the decline of loss of cash to robbers and other vices.
To be able to fulfill the objectives of this study, the description of banking services rendered to customers with the aid of ICTs as a convenient , more efficient, cost effective, safer, and timely tool, (Ovia, 2005), will be taken for the definition of success.
The theoretical frame work of CFS has been commonly used in businesses as well as in the context of technology, but in the context of this research work, the theory of CSFs will be employed to identify some ICT facilitates that are critical to the success of Nigeria commercial banks and with contingency theory the researcher will be able to identify the contingent circumstances leading to the usage of ICT in the banks under study.
There are numerous ICT facilities being used in banks, but in this study attention will be given to those ones that are been deployed by Nigeria banks.
These shall include:
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
Electronic fund transfer (EFT)
1.5 Significance/ Justification of Study
In trying to validate why this study is important, it is necessary to state that researchers have found this area of study very important to the advancement of the socio-economic activities in Nigeria. Many researchers have been carried out to x-ray the importance and benefits of ICT usage in banks, this research will therefore focus on the CFS of ICT usage in Nigeria commercial banks and the ways it has impacted on the quality of services rendered to costumers. A study of this kind is likewise very significant because it is going to enlighten the general public on the importance and benefits of information and communication technology usage in banking operation.
In present day business environment where technological invention is rapidly turning the world into a global village, Nigeria commercial banks cannot afford to be left behind and over taken by events in the dynamic world, to be able to do this Nigeria commercial banks should rise up to take advantage of the robust ICT to improve on the quality of their services.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of Study
Commercial banks are spread out in the entire geographical landscape of Nigeria, with the main purpose of providing financial services to the general public and corporate firms. The aim of such services is to contribute to the social economic development of Nigeria. To cover all the regions in the whole country will be impracticable because of the limited time frame. Due to this reason, the research will be restricted to some selected commercial banks in the southern part of Nigeria, Edo State and Benin City in particular. The CFS of ICT usage in the selected banks will be analyzed, looking at its contributions, and in what form.
This research work has six chapters, with first chapter providing an introduction ICT revolution, importance and benefit in the corporate society, ICT development in Nigeria, background to the problem, Statement of problem, objectives of the research, significance/ justification of study, scope and delimitation of study and finally, the outline. The Second chapter gives the theoretical perspectives. The third chapter is about the scientific methods used. The fourth chapter gives the background information about Nigeria. The fifth chapter presents the data presentation and analysis. And lastly, the sixth chapter presents the discussion and conclusions.