Using information and communications technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of a utility's network data collection business process

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dc.contributor.author Van Olst, Rex
dc.date.accessioned 2007-02-15T11:19:22Z
dc.date.available 2007-02-15T11:19:22Z
dc.date.issued 2007-02-15T11:19:22Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/2002
dc.description Student Number : 0063608J - MSc(Eng) dissertation - School of Electrical and Information Engineering - Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment en
dc.description.abstract “You can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics”. This offhand remark by Robert Solow, the Nobel prize-winning economist [1] has stimulated many other economists to conduct more rigorous analyses on the impact of information technology on productivity. The research presented in this dissertation has been conducted on a large telecommunications utility. An important business process of the utility, that of collecting information on its geographically dispersed network assets, was automated using mobile computing and wireless technologies. The research compared this newly developed automated process with the current, manual, process of sourcing the field network asset data using paper-based templates, and capturing the data manually from the templates. The results of the pilot for this automated business process were encouraging and demonstrated an improvement of over 50% in the productivity of the data collection process, and its integrity. An important aspect of the research outlined in this dissertation was to design and implement the mobile computer-based electronic data collection prototype to minimise user obstruction to the technology deployed. The prototype was tested for technology acceptance by the targeted field workers. This test also proved successful. The research demonstrated that an improvement in productivity of over 50% was achievable from a well-considered investment in information technology. The results from the research also pointed the way for the deployment of this data collection solution in other utilities, e.g. electricity distribution, water reticulation, and municipalities. Through user prototype tests and a cultural intervention process on the targeted users (field workers), the research also demonstrated how the automated business process can be geared for use by low-skilled field workers, so important to improve productivity in developing economies such as those in Africa. en
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dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject mobile computing en
dc.subject IT investments en
dc.subject productivity en
dc.subject usability en
dc.subject data collection process en
dc.subject geographical information systems en
dc.subject GIS en
dc.subject technology acceptance en
dc.title Using information and communications technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of a utility's network data collection business process en
dc.type Thesis en


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