B.A.Sc. Thesis Abstracts - Year 2005

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An Examination of Providing Video Over Wireless Networks

Adriane Lau and Dennis Woo (MIE)

Wireless communication is a service that is taken for granted in today’s fast-paced, information-rich environment. With the invention of wireless cellular networks and technology, the mobile telecommunications sector has grown into a $200+ billion industry. With a population of over 33 million, Canada offers a sizeable telecommunications market. Wireless communications is quickly becoming a competitive medium for consumers to communicate with one another, send pictures and even record video clips. The mobile phone is rapidly evolving into a device that can be used as a phone, camera or television. The purpose of this thesis is to present an in-depth examination of providing video services over wireless networks, particularly streaming video for a major Canadian telecommunications service provider which will be referred to as CCC (Canadian Communications Company) throughout the study. While the current cellular network infrastructure in Canada can support services in which bandwidth and delays are not critical, future streaming video services will depend heavily on network capabilities. This study highlights the existing knowledge on the current and near-future state of wireless video technology, examines the potential forecasted adoption rate of new cellular video services, estimates the potential cellular video market size and compares developing video and telecommunications standards. Key strategic recommendations and lines of study for future consideration are also presented.

Assessing the Reporting and Problem Management Process and creating a New Production Outage Report Proposal at Bank A

Sukrit Ganguly (CHE)

 

The Bank A's T&S (Technology and Services) center has the mammoth task of developing and maintaining the IT infrastructure for all its banking systems within Canada. The computer software running and in development is vigorously monitored for errors. The DTS department (Design Technology Services) produces quarterly and yearly production outage reports that analyze all the application errors and their root causes. DTS feels that a new report containing different quantitative measures indicative of production performance would help development groups (in this case, the report proposal is for AMP - Application Management Partners) to isolate problem areas. This report discusses the possible measures that could be included in the report while also outlining the current reporting and problem management process within AMP. Other departments within Bank A have a structured reporting and problem management process that has been studied and outlined and recommendations have been made to improve AMP's own reporting method. Furthermore, specific errors that need attention have been isolated and discussed.

Improvements for Online and Branch Baking Integration

Gina Lee and Erhan Soyer-Osman (MIE)

In recent years, online banking has shown significant growth. However, this service has not been as readily adopted as expected. Although online banking is more efficient and convenient, other banking channels do exist, and a large segment of customers still use the more expensive channels, specifically the branch. In order for financial institutions to reduce operational costs, they must focus on shifting customers away from using live Customer Service Representatives at the branch to completing their transactions online.

This thesis provides a strategy for integrating online banking into the branch channel for a large Canadian bank, referred to as LCB from hereon in for reasons of confidentiality. A marketing strategy for LCB was developed through a collection of internal data provided by LCB, a comprehensive literature review, and branch visits to LCB, 4 LCB competitors and one large American Bank, LAB. From the data collected, best practices in industry and specific targeted user groups were identified. A list of strategic solution alternatives were generated these best practices, and they were measured against weighted criteria. Furthermore, each strategy was evaluated based on the benefits and expected costs to the financial institution, which lead to four integrated, strategic solution recommendations.

Finally, the recommendations suggested are alternatives for LCB to consider when integrating online banking into the framework in the branch channel. In addition, several issues must be further investigated in order to provide a seamless integration of these two channels.

Electronic Cheque Market Examination

Talyn Kazazian and Diana Shen (MIE)

The Bank has proposed to implement a new service called Electronic Cheque (eCheque) that will allow inter-bank, online transfers between different customers. This report offers an analysis of small businesses and personal accounts along with an examination of similar services offered in the United States. The analysis of small businesses involves looking at the current status of and Internet usage among small businesses in Canada, as well as the Bank's role in their development. Similarly, the analysis of personal accounts looks at Internet use among Canadians, as well as people's attitudes towards the Email Money Transfer service that is currently available to online bankers. Following these two market segment analyses, three groups of potential clients are determined: mompreneurs (women entrepreneurs working from home while raising children), the youth segment of the population, and debit card users. Older entrepreneurs were considered to be generally unreceptive and unenthusiastic towards eCheque.

Following an analysis of four large American banks, fraud was highlighted to be the underlying reason for the absence of an eCheque service in the United States. This conclusion was drawn based upon an examination of security and privacy concerns.

Feasibility Analysis of Agent Card Issuing Models

Justin Shin (CHE)

In order to meet the owners' needs of small to medium sized businesses the NBC is launching a new debit product called the "agent card". There are two ways to design this product, the card may have either 16 digits or 18 digits in total. The purpose of this paper was to determine which model would be the best design to implement. In order to see if this was a feasible project, examinations were done on purchasing cards, which provided a real world working case of an agent card model that works on the credit side. Studies were conducted on the transaction schemes of debit and credit systems; it was found that they were comparable. This indicated that the agent card model on the credit side and the purchasing card could be implemented in a debit card environment, making the agent card a feasible product. In order to implement this product, a spoke and hub architecture should be used. There are two approaches to the design of this architecture and this is dependent on technical considerations. In the 16 digit case a top down approach is used, while the 18 digit case is chosen a bottom up approach is recommended. An analysis derived from both approaches, suggests that the 16 digit case will allow the bank to launch the agent card in the quickest, simplest and most acceptable manner.

VoIP Cost Savings Due to Moves, Adds, and Changes for Bell Canada

David Small (CHE)

The telephone system as we know it has evolved very little since its inception in the early 20th century, except for digital switching and time division multiplexing, which have allowed for cleaner signals and more efficient use of lines, respectively. However, now the largest change ever is taking place, and most people won't even know it. The switch to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is revolutionizing the telephony industry. Instead of transmitting a continuous signal, voice calls are broken into packets and transmitted over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Before voice, data, and video were transmitted differently, but with VoIP, everything is packetized and transmitted over the world's IP network. VoIP telephony solutions for businesses bring large cost savings and increases in employee productivity, as Vole uses less bandwidth, allows enterprises to have a single network for both voice and data, reduces long distance tolls, and allows employees to save time and be more accessible via mobile offices and unified messaging. VoIP telephony solutions also have significantly lower operating costs than the current Centrex systems installed by most enterprises and specifically lower moves, adds and changes (MACs) costs. This thesis investigated the method that Bell currently performs MACS and compared them to the methods used at its VoIP install base. Currently when performing MACs, four departments in two companies, Bell and Connexim (Bell's Network Management Contractor) need to be coordinated, and multiple unionized technicians are required. It was found that most Voice MACs take around two weeks to perform and cost an average of $186.69 to Bell. Voice MACS on a VoIP telephony solution however were found to take in the order of 15 minutes and cost the company $17.85. This represents a cost saving $168.84 per MAC. In a large corporation like Bell, 0.89 MACs are performed internally per year per employee, so Bell stands to save on the average of $150.27 per employee per year. These savings will affect the bottom line of moving to a VoIP solution and help Bell convince its customers of another cost saving due to a VoIP telephony solution.

Document Management: an Outlook

René Mahalanobis (CHE)

In any large financial institution, the volume of paper and files handled becomes a significant cost. The Canadian Big Bank (CBB) is seeking a way to reduce their document management making the entire process more efficient. User needs were examined to pinpoint where most changes were needed to gain the maximum advantage. A successful design and implementation of the process optimization would result in minimizing cost and maximizing efficiency gains.

The CBB is looking to review and evaluate the existing document management processes and by conducting an investigative analysis. The answers to the questions raised should provide a useful point of origin for implementation of a better system.

The objective of this project is to examine what a document management strategy entails and what strategic benefits can be realized by implementing one.

A document management strategy has several key functionalities to consider:

  • Architectural plan - to effect smooth integration within existing enterprise framework
  • File management - to create and maintain proper retention and disposal schedules with automatic setting of disposal dates
  • Security related - to assign authority following a hierarchy
  • Search mechanism - to ensure easy retrieval

    The documentation strategies of the peer group of companies were examined to benefit from the best practices in the area of cost reduction, workflow optimization and electronic collaboration. Specialised software packages and the associated vendors were examined to help consider alternatives.

    Upon performing comparative analyses of these studies and profiles, it is recommended that CBB should focus on the offerings of HP. CBB is not only seeking a reliable solution but also one that will streamline workflows. HP has a full gamut of service options with a price that is flexible and reflective of the service chosen. HPs reputation as a favoured document manager along with their professional reputation makes them the obvious choice. The overall solution they can provide is consistent with CBBs goal of reducing costs without seriously compromising customer service.

Examining the Feasibility of Earned Value Management Application as a Resource for Successful Project Management Practice

Anand Radia (CHE)

In today's Business Management circles, Earned Value has a reputation for providing, "accurate forecasting" and "excellent status reports", however, what is not well recognized is how these benefits are actually achieved. A common misconception is that Earned Value is just a tool, which can be applied to any firm having a project management structure for managing their projects. However, the true attribute of Earned Value lies is an acronym of its name, Earned Value Management, which provides a guideline to the successful managing of projects. Consistency in project planning and execution, access to real-time information, objective decision-making capabilities, and manager confidence are only some of the features to which proper practices of EVM can provide.

The following paper examines the application of Earned Value Management (EVM) practice as a solution to the continuing problem of project failures due to a lack of management awareness by the project managers responsible. Specifically, this paper examines the feasibility of EVM application within the divisions (IT, Software Development, Business and Securities) of a renowned Canadian Financial Bank (Bank 1) discovering EVM for the first time. Due to Bank 1's large size and stratified project management practices, several challenges to EVM practice are apparent. However, this paper shows that if Bank 1 is willing to address these areas of improvement, application of EVM will be possible. Conversely, if challenges are not addressed, EVM wall become `just another tool", and therefore become more of a management burden rather than a management competency. This study also provides the reader with useful insight into the feasibility of EVM within companies, which depend on the success of their project deliverables for company success and increase in stakeholder value.

 

A One-Year Post Implementation Review of an Information Technology Network Services Outsourcing Agreement

Terri Chu (Eng. Sci.)

In an attempt to reduce operating costs and upgrade networks, equipment, and operating systems, the Leverage Service Company (LSC) decided to outsource the networking services of its IT department to an external company (the Contractor). This thesis is a one-year post implementation review of the outsourcing agreement. Improvements have been found in the tracking and reporting of performance data in the new operating model. However, no significant improvements in actual service levels have been found. Within the scope of this review, the only observed benefits of the outsourcing agreement are cost reduction and an increase in financial accountability. It is recommended that the LSC carry out a comprehensive client satisfaction survey and study behavioural changes in client resource usage.