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You will receive a clean copy of the case study and no other material is allowed into the exam Answer all questions in section A relating to the CASE STUDY

Answer Two questions from a choice of questions in section B TIME ALLOWED:



It takes a satellite: back-office jobs that benefit Africa Thomas Friedman New York Times, May 8, 2001 A27 ACCRA, Ghana If you're wondering why I came to Ghana, I can now reveal the truth: I came to check my health insurance. No, really. You see, I'm enrolled with Aetna health insurance. And Aetna, as well as Keystone Mercy Health Care, has moved a large chunk of its data processing to a modern high-rise in downtown Accra. There, 400 young Ghanaian techies - working in three eight-hour shifts and connected to the U.S. by satellite - punch the raw claims data sent to them by U.S. health-care giants onto computerized forms and then zip it back by satellite to the U.S. for final processing. Since I had recently filed a claim with Aetna, I kept looking over the shoulder of the Ghanaian techies to see if, by chance, they were processing my forms! The Ghana office of the U.S.-based ACS Inc, where this data processing is going on, is a good answer to a question one hears often these days: Is Africa hopeless? To be sure, one tele-computing office does not make an economy, or a future. The evening before I visited the ACS operation, I was at a dinner where a debate broke out between a leader of Ghana's Trades Union Congress and the Country's deputy minister of finance over how much to raise the minimum wage. They were arguing over an increase of 10 cents a day. It was sad. Ghana's minimum wage is about 80 cents a daya rich country made poor by decades of misrule. But hopeless? Well, a country or continent can be hopeless only if the best and the brightest, particularly the young, have given up all hope. And I did not find that in Ghana, and certainly not at the ACS office. You have to imagine this scene: You step off the steamy streets of Accra, go up three floors, and all you see in every direction is a sea of young Ghanaians doing data processing on computers, in air-conditioned rooms with a radio playing "Don't Worry, Be Happy." "Ghana is the first country in Africa to get into this sort of tele-computing," said Bossman Dowuona-Hammond, the Ghana manager for ACS. "We now have 400 people on this floor, but we plan to expand to 1,000 later this year. We're expecting UPS and American Express to move some of their data processing here too. [The way it works is] claim forms are sent from the U.S. by photo image, through a satellite, they come up on the screen of each data processor, and they key in the data on computerized forms and then send it back to the States. "It helps to have computer skills," he added, "but basically you just have to know English and be able to type 60 words per minute at 95 percent accuracy. We train you for the rest. These young people have to adapt to U.S. standards, so imagine the skills and work ethic they take when they go to other jobs [in Ghana]."

In a country where the average income is about $300 a year, the best ACS data processors make $300 a month. They also get free transport to work (there are no public buses here), plus meals and free health care. In February, 14 other data processing firms came over to scout Ghana for their back-office computing work. India, the Philippines, Hong Kong all started with this sort of simple data processing and then moved up to more complex code-writing and software design. "In Africa, government is the biggest employer," says Mr. Dowuona-Hammond. "If all these people were to be employed by government their incomes would be so low it would have no impact on their lives. In Africa, if you give decent employment to one person, you are feeding 15 in the urban areas and 30 to 35 in rural areas. Also, 90 percent of my employees are female, and this sort of job makes them self-dependent." One reason AIDS has spread so quickly in Africa is that young girls without work have to sell their bodies for food. "I studied computers at the polytechnic," said Ruth AnaneDarko, 24, a top processor. "If this weren't here I would have been a secretary for a lot less pay. Most of my friends are trying to get a job here." Calling Africa hopeless today is morally offensive, because it condemns millions of people to no future, and analytically wrong. There are multiple trends here, and not all bad. Yes, Ghana has fallen way behind. But the information revolution offers young Ghanaians a real chance to leap forward in ways they never could have dreamt of just a decade ago. As long as they have hope and they do - we should too.


Answers in section A should be short and factual but with academic referenced support cited and related to the Case Study Each Question in Section A is worth 10 marks
1 Developments of the kind identified in the Ghanaian venture are a recent occurrence. Identify new technological developments that have made this possible and explain why. Suggest any likely future technological enhancements to the process. (10 marks)

PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legislative and Environmental) factor analysis helps identify external drivers of change in an organisation. For any THREE PESTLE elements, analyse the position in relation to this operation for the US companies involved. (10 marks)

The operation described in the study appears to be successful. Identify and evaluate supply chain factors that are essential to the success of such a venture. (10 marks)

"The information revolution offers young Ghanaians a real chance to leap forward in ways they never could have dreamt of just a decade ago." Critique this statement with reference to the online revolution (10 marks)

Section B: Answer TWO questions from this section each is worth 30 marks

5 Illustrate the significance of information and knowledge in the growth of the knowledge economy, given the shift in the nature of the following: organisational factors, predominant consumer goods, technology, and physical/intellectual resources. Offer examples and references to support points made (30 marks) 6. How should computerised information systems be specified in order to recognise differing needs of different users and stakeholders? What effect does the specification approach have on information systems failure? Illustrate your answer with examples and relevant references. (30 marks)

7. Justify the choice and application of EITHER a Continuous Improvement (CI) OR a Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) approach to faciliating organisational change. Provide a contrast between these two approaches. Include references and illustrations as appropriate. (30 marks)

8 Offer a persuasive argument for how supply chain management can offer a significant contribution to the bottom line. Your answer should include both business case examples and relevant references from the field. (30 marks)