Effect of information and communications technology supported operations on service quality at the department of immigration, Kenya
The usage of Information and Communications Technology in operations management is seen as an engine to improve on operations performance through increases in process efficiency and effectiveness that can be translated to better product and / or service offering by an organization to its customers. Where an organization has embraced Information and Communications Technology, customers expect some value addition to the ultimate quality of the products / services. The application of ICT in immigration operations in Kenya is expected to improve not only the way services are delivered but also the quality. The purpose of this study was to establish the effect of Information and Communications Technology on service quality. The first objective was to establish the status or evidence of ICT supported operations in the Department of Immigration Services in Kenya. Secondly, the study sought to find out how the availability and utilization of ICT to support immigration operations had produced any short term effects like increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of employees as well as equity. The last objective was to establish the overall effect of ICT supported operations on Service quality with reference to Immigration services in Kenya. Data was obtained using case study with two sets of respondents targeted. That is front line employees and customers. Generally, the study found out that the adoption and utilization of ICT to support operations at the Department of Immigration Services had positively affected the service quality levels. It was also established that both customers and front line employees had a shared vision of what the quality of services were to be especially, in terms of service quality dimensions of tangibles and empathy but it was thumbs up for communication and responsiveness. The positive ratings on service quality were by majority opinion of both groups of respondents and were largely attributable to the application of ICT in service operations. The study recommends that for the full range of service quality gains to be realized at the Department of Immigration Services, more investment in ICT innovation, especially the tangibles and on personnel was necessary. This is in the area of training and development; operations research and operations policy redesign so as to enable more interactive customer involvement through technology enabled platforms like websites, self service border control kiosks and automated query and response systems. There was also the need to connect all border stations and administrative control points to a common platform that would provide a 24 hour seamless link for border operations and immigration activities. Prior to deployment and implementation of ICT programs to support operations, employees and customers alike should be involved in the appraisal of the system. This was observed on grounds of sustainability and optimal yield.