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This paper is a feasibility study of Edinburgh Library adopting e-learning as well as Social Computing. Both external and internal environment of the Library is analyzed, based on the objectives of articulating the present situation of Edinburgh Napier Library to the business problem or opportunity and to investigate the business environment by use of formal analysis techniques (Vassileva, 99). The business problem is the need by the organization to provide the relevant stakeholders with information services that are easy, fast, cost effective, reliable, cheap, efficient and effective to replace the old way of service delivery.
The paper identifies the potential and viable alternatives to the problem, critically evaluate these alternatives and comes up with a strategy on how to execute the entire plan. Finally, a recommendation is provided to the management.
According to Vasanthi (p, 132) development in computers, microelectronics and communication technologies have radically changed the way libraries operate. Traditionally, libraries were dominated by print materials and the access mechanisms were also by and large manual. Changing demands, increase in students populations, need for efficiency and speed has led to paradigm shift towards library and information networks. The development of technology makes direct access to information easier.
Libraries have various roles which include; it’s a publication center, training center, a gate way for information and a learning center. Materials can be obtained through open access or institutional repository (Krishnamurthy, 356). Since to access information via new technologies require skills, there is need to assess capability of end users to adopt the various means of accessing information. For this reason, end-user education is essential as it will equip them with skills necessary to acquire the desired information as well as publicize services offered by the library
It has been argued that change is inevitable, even libraries are not left out, and those who do not embrace technological development are perceived to be doomed and fail in their endeavors while those who will properly adopt the new technology in providing services will be successful.
It is important to note that in the quest of trying to adopt e-learning and social computing, management need to be fully informed about all the benefits and cost of doing so. This is usually done by critically analyzing a myriad of factors such as the internal and external library environment, establishing the business problem, coming up with alternative, evaluating them then finally execute the alternatives that best suit the situation. This is feasibility study. The library of choice is Edinburgh Napier Library.
The two main objectives of the study is to articulate the present situation of Edinburgh Library to the business problem or opportunity and to investigate the business environment by use of a formal analysis techniques.
Although the study is concentrated in Edinburgh Library, the results and all findings herein can be applicable to those organizations that need to adopt advanced technology in running there day to day activities.
Definitions and Acronyms
Vassileva (p, 89) defined social computing is systems that support collecting, representation, processing, utilization as well as sharing of information among and between teams, organizations, marketers, communities among others. On the other hand, e-learning has been thought to be a teaching and training scenario in which the two are supported by various kinds of electronic systems. The systems include internet, intranet, video/audio tapes, satellite television etc. It is also known as computer based training (CBT), internet based training (IBT) or Web-Based Training (WBT)
WBT Web-Based Training
IBT Internet Based Training
CBT Computer Based Training
LMS Learning Management System
LCMS Learning Content Management System
EPSS electronic performance support systems
IT Information Technology
SWOT Strength Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
CAA Computer-Aided Assessment
NGOs Non Governmental Organization
CIO Chief Information Officer
Advancement in technology coupled with increased student population in EdinburghUniversity has necessitated the need to have services that are easy, fast, cost effective, reliable, cheap, efficient and effective to students together with those who require teaching materials. For this reason, there is need to come up software that will enable such institution to handle multidimensional library facilities (Christina, (p, 132), understand students’ knowledge on the same and appropriately advice the institution accordingly.
Edinburgh internal and external environment (SWOT)
Internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors influence the ability of any organization or business in meeting their customers’ needs and aspirations. This in turn dictates the future survival and success of such businesses in this competitive business world (Keays, 271).
Over the years EdinburghUniversity has been admitting an increased number of students. Although it has tried to adopt technology to ease service delivery, the customers or rather the student and those who need library material for teaching purposes still see there is need for more improvement. Having varied needs, calling for cheap, faster, reliable, effective and efficient service delivery has been common among these customers. For these reasons then, the CIO thought it wise to initiate a [plan on how to go about adopting e-learning and social computation.
Edinburgh library strong and customer-centered mission
Having in place very good library facilities
Highly skilled workforce
A larger proportion of these employees have enrolled for masters to further their education
The desire of student to use these new technologies
The university has an excellent record in teaching
Good ethics and responsibilities
Understanding of users needs
Very large number of student and limited time allocation
The computers and library are located separately and one needs to cover some distance
Since the two initiatives have been adopted in the neighboring university library, the innovation may not be seen as a surprise
Poor financial base as it only depends on government allocation and library fee
There are a number of library staffs that are not IT compliant
Inadequate security for the existing system
Ever increasing number of student
Availability of various forms of carrying out e-learning e.g. internet, video/audio tapes
On going IT training being undertaken by some librarian support staffs
Collaboration with IT firms
There is room for the university to source more funds from other stakeholders such as NGOs
Global momentum in adopting technology
Growth in open-access publishing
Uncertainty of technology especially in security matters and loss of vital information
Lack of adequate resources
Library support staff high rates of turnover
Strict government legislation
Emergence of new technologies
Business needs and requirements
The business requirements of Edinburgh library include; non-functional requirement which entails that the system shall be accessible, controlled, deployed documented, comply, have a backup, available, audited, efficient and effective.
The look and feel requirement, the systems must be configurable in such a way that the logo, mission and vision statements of the institution are embedded to help reserve brand image. For performance requirement, the two systems must be able to ensure that services are provided as quickly as possible.
Requirements for robustness or fault-tolerance are that the systems must ensure that customers retrieve information very fast as well as allowing very high degree of accuracy. This means that the system will perform as anticipated and provide customers with the desired outcomes.
Maintenance and support requirement demands that e-learning and social computing be easy to maintain and be flexible in that numerous operating systems can be deployed (Allen, 184). For operational and support requirements, the systems must easily integrate with the existing systems in the organization for instance those used in the human resource sector.
The requirements for security are that there is need for using password to enhance security of information, it is only the authorized customers that will have access to the systems and finally, support staffs’ information need to be private.
For the functional requirement; to update their account, end users have no other option but to do it through the internet/online. In terms of account payment, end users must do this online and can be done when the system allows the current credit cards.
To successfully implement e-learning and social computing, there is need to slightly add to the well established library equipment already in existence, train those few support staffs that are not yet IT compliant, provide adequate training to the end users on how to use these systems, solicit for more funds to offset the initiative overload.
Edinburgh business model
Three things are integrated in the model, membership, support staff and e-learning as well as social computation systems. The end users will be in a position to access information they require within the library of Edinburgh. By login in and backed with a password, customers can gain access to academic information. Through the system, payment can be made to access protected material.
The objective of the model is to provide library services in a manner that it is cheap, fast, secure, accessible, reliable, effective and efficient.
IT industry possible solutions
According to Bates (p, 211)information technology has the potential of providing us with possible solution to a myriad of problems. For instance adopting learning management system (LMS) and learning content management system (LCMS) are systems that manage and track training, distributing course. Additionally, computer-aided assessment (CAA) is vital to establish what the students have captured and what they not, this will provide teachers with the opportunity to concentrate on weaker areas of the student hence continual bringing up of excellent graduates. Lastly, the electronic performance support systems (EPSS) are a system that is geared at improving employees’ productivity.
Edinburgh Napier Library Enterprise Architecture
This library is located in 140 locations which encompasses; art and design, built environment, information management, digital and lens media, engineering and computing, social sciences, and life sciences. Majority of the libraries are within the city of Edinburgh, there are unprecedented degree of local cooperation with other library. The main aim of the library is to open up access to information resources for the seekers of life long learning and edification on the essence of the broadest sense. This organization also operates under the auspice of Information Service Agency to provide up to date information to all the pursuant of edification in the location that it situated (Flyvbjerg & Bruzelius, 217). The city council of Edinburgh is also a partner in this juncture and the objective of this auspice is to develop partnership with the local libraries to benefit the community. Operating on all these locations on face to face basis also entails lot of resources and revenues thus embracing E-commerce would serve this organization for good in longer term.
Future Measurement and Control System
Measurement and control system is aimed at ensuring that the services that are being offered to the customers are in the correct standards, which will ensure that the customer will have the same value for his money from the purchase of the product. In this case the Edinburgh Library will have to implement some measures and control on some of the services, this will be in attempts aimed at improving the quality of its services being offered to the relevant clientele (Brevik, 135). The cooperation and partnership with other libraries will also add value to learning and sharing of ideas.
This library control has made it easy for the organization to sustain in the information and edification provision business as it adheres to the customer’s demands. The library is therefore sourcing for information which is customers based and tailored to satisfy the needs and demands of the customers. Currently this library is attempting to implement on E-Commerce to mitigate the excess spending of revenue to the administration as exemplified by Brealey and Myers (p, 158). The future measurement and control thus will be implementation of E-Commerce in all the fiscal transaction being operated within the library to minimize this spending.
E-Commerce also known as electronic trade entails selling and buying of good and services through the internet, this is mostly through the World Wide Web. This has become a global phenomenon where millions of people use social media on daily basis for business and leisure purposes.
Currently Edinburgh Library uses the face to face method for fiscal transaction with their customers. However, under the new implementation strategy which details making all payment to be digital would reduce the cist which is usually accosted when using the traditional face to face method. The solution which the executives of this organization saw best suited to mitigate low income due to administration consumption of revenue, and due also to factors like advancement of Information Technology (IT). This implementation is gravitated toward Edinburgh Library opportunity growth, flexibility response and new quick adaptation of opportunities and profitably (Whaley, 56). The main aim of this integration is to transform this library into a digital enterprise. Improve customer demands and needs, improve market reach and target.
The alternative solution which will abolish the old traditional face to face commerce will see implementation of E-Commerce as the alternative solution of trading by Edinburgh libraries. Generally this will enhance good fiscal relationship with locals and as well as the international market. The market reach of the services which are offered by the library is bound to increase at an estimates alarming rate. This is based on the fact that using the traditional method the libraries have been competitive even with others which had already installed this initiative.
Another major alternative that the library has been trying to achieve would be creation of digital cards for the locals. This also falls on the E-commerce only that the persons have to be within the location of the library. This is so that they can be able to use it instead of physical payment anytime they have to use some of the facilities and services being merchandised by the library.
E-Commerce will help the organization reduce misappropriation of funds and long queues at the cashier desks. This will also allow smooth operation and also help this having the keen interest on the services provided by this organization to be able to purchase them online.
Analysis and impact of Alternative Solutions
E-commerce will enable this organization to smoothly operate with a radius which will cover the whole world. The traditional fiscal technology which this organization was initiating is bias considering the amount of revenue which was maybe misappropriated and also the amount which went to the administration payment for the services rendered. This will impact on low cost of commerce, as the person trading will be trading through the internet. This is effective and efficient to the customer as they will have the comfort of trading within the comfort of their living rooms. This alternative solution also will lessen the time that the customer would usually go through in order to get the services provided by this library. This implementation would enable the organization to embark on high performance and render easy transaction and service provision to their esteem customers (Tevfik, 151).
When evaluating risk assessment in the new alternative solution accosted by Edinburgh library. The probabilities are that this integration involves two phrases high risk and high performance value. The high risk value is a very tricky aspect and involves high and aggressive effort to mitigate risk (Flyvbjerg & Bruzelius, 121). When implementing E-Commerce then it is good to perform a risk analysis based on the fact that there are probabilities of high risk value in the whole process. This is mostly due to advancement and rapid development of the commercial banks thus there is confronted with this challenges. Through this factors risk management has become a very critical aspects for E-Commerce.
Some of the remediation and counter measures of this initiation of risk management are as follows; the risk management evaluation of the time that the new implementation would take to get to the market was analyzed to be very low. Also the number of key legacy evaluated on the E-Commerce system which requires integration proved to be very low.
The analysis also revealed that the number of the already established networks which are in need for integration also computed to be very low. The result of Edinburgh library projected cash flow based on the direct influence accounted to be very low. There were low values of computation on both the impact that would result from the share market in the case that this implementation was to fail as noted by Whaley (p, 342). There were low chances that the implementation would be affected by statures and legislation. The analysis reveals that the new implementation would have little impact on the customers, structure and process.
Cost Benefit Analysis
There are million cost benefits which would be accosted from this implementation in the case that Edinburgh library fully embrace it with proper structure and provision. The cost benefit would arise from the fact that millions of scholars are computer literate. Majority of the scholars use social media as the medium of even getting advance edification as echoed by Tevfik (p, 133).
The cost benefits which are generated from e-journals and e-books which are readily assessable in the library collection vaults, usually the great benefiters of this initiative are the customers. The learning opportunity offered through this initiative is essential for the customer’s world wide to fully enjoy the online services offered by this library. This initiative will encourage high performance value and this detail revenue accumulative which can be accounted for and have little cases of misappropriation (Brealey & Myers, 199).
According to Abijit & Kuilboer (p, 231) the amount of fiscal revenue which is allocated to the administration for ding the transaction by hands would ensue that they are reduced by half. This would mean that the cost which was consumed by the administration is reduced to half and the extra staffs lay off. The efficiency would also increase as there would be no queues when transactions are being executed. The comfort and customer engagement would also rate up as they would be getting the services from the comfort of their living room. The information transfer would be faster and effective as one can save the time they would have used to visit the library. The library to save immensely should they outsource for the best provider of this implementation as this will save them money.
Edinburgh Library Project Alternatives
Some other projects alternatives include combination of both the E-shops (B2C) and the common E-Payment models. Both of these models are alternatives which may be applied to facilitate the payment method of the library apart from the E-commerce that is proposed to be implemented (Abijit & J Kuilboer, 209). These models of payments would enable the customers to pay and receive the services which they usually get from face to face transaction executed by this organization.
The Library Execution Factors
The Edinburgh library would have less staff if the implementations are emplaced and effective. The customers would be able to directly gain access to the information that they desire at the comfort of their living room. The library will emplace regulation that only their customers will be able to access and use their services. The security measures would also enhance privacy measure which does not allow the privacy of the user to be intruded (Brevik, 157).
This is basically the best idea that this library can enact and save them money, add value to services rendered and increase services efficiency and effectiveness. If this initiative is implemented then this organization will gravitate from a low earning environment and achieve a high earning sphere. This will also increase productivity as the esteem customers would be able to contact the library even when they are miles away from Edinburgh.
E-Commerce is the cutting edge ideal for all transactions in modern organization. Due to advancement of technology traditional methods of commerce are nowadays being aborted by many organizations, this is because of effectiveness and efficiency in time and revenue. Because this initiative would be operational 24/7 the customer’s world wide would able to easily access it anytime they wish due to the time difference. This method of trading would encompass a large population based on the fact that social media are world wide. Technology advancement and development are among the major factors which encourages these elements. For this system to be fully operational without hitches the organization should induce training programs to fully combat new advancement as they develop.
The new E-commerce implementation should allows this renown library to be rank among others in the sector of providing literary articles essential for edification growth. When E-Commerce is fully embarked on this organization would save immensely and reduce the amount of time the traditional method of trading consumed. Proper training of the staff or outsourcing would mean less staff and high returns in profitability.
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