B.A.Sc. Thesis Abstracts - Year 2011

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Social Media and Mobile Technologies in Payment

Jane Ip, Joey Zeng


Since the increase in user adoption and rapid development of social media and mobile technologies, many businesses have begun using these technologies to market and deliver customer service. In this study, the authors collaborated with a major Canadian bank (the Bank) to investigate current applications of social media and mobile technologies in the retail banking industry. Specifically, the authors studied what functions these applications serve, what value they provide and how they may be applied to the Bank’s payment strategies. The objectives of this study are to identify technology trends, to highlight potential killer applications of payments in the social media and mobile technology space, to develop evaluation models to assess potential killer applications, and to create a preliminary business plan for selected applications. Three recommendations developed for the Bank include: 1) using the decision making tool provided in this study to evaluate potential killer applications in the social media and mobile payment space; 2) considering implementing the potential KA, MoneyConnect (a temporary name), whose idea was incubated during this study; and 3) further reviewing MoneyConnect using the preliminary business plan provided in this study. The authors estimate a 250% growth in the Bank’s social media presence during the first year of implementing MoneyConnect.

Improving Customer Loyalty through Effective Service Delivery

Jane Li , I-Chun Chiu


Customer satisfaction is one of the key determinants of customer loyalty. This study reveals the importance of effective service delivery in customers’ overall experiences and satisfaction with a financial institution. Also, it shows how one can improve service delivery by taking customer complaints, comments, and feedback into consideration. By investigating associated processes, improvement opportunities in service delivery are identified and recommendations are made to reduce customer dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the advantages and disadvantages of different business practices are learned through a comparison between the Client and other successful service organizations.

Proposal for Innovative Approaches in Canadian Small Business Banking

Hao Yu Ji, Jenna Su


Banks are aware that there are many problems and issues among their small business banking customers, and their current products and services are not completely and in some cases effectively addressing those issues. Furthermore, banks have new concerns that competitors with great innovations are attracting more potential customers and gaining more market share. Existing opportunities and realistic threats are motivating the banks to seek innovations for their small business banking practices. This study identifies the opportunities for improvement for a large Canadian retail bank, and recommends a new suite of products and services together with relevant promotional strategies. The recommendation is based on research on small business banking innovations from various types of domestic and international financial institutions.

Next Generation Social Media Banking Small Business Online Communities

Valentine Neiman, Jennifer Leung


Canadians banks currently do not have a strong presence in the social media world. The Bank wants to explore their opportunities and engage their customers through social media. The Project Team isolated the process to provide a guideline for the Bank to start an online community that caters to small businesses. Analysis was completed on small business communities inside and outside of the financial industry; it was found that the successful communities were based on identified user needs. Based on the user needs, content is generated to cater to that audience. Communities with different objectives hold different restrictions on their content, and this affects the way connection is made. Connection is an integral part of the online small business community, as it is the conversation between its members which define the community. Finally, traffic generation is integral for starting small a business community. Through these points, a guideline was created for the Bank to follow the process of establishing a small business community.

Quantifying Commodity Hedging Risk

Shawn Yin


Options pricing is of chief interest in the field of financial engineering. It has been explored from a theoretical perspective in the original Black-Scholes formula to a practical perspective on improving computation times when there is no analytical solution. This is often the case when the underlying asset model is not well established yet. The reason for this interest is the large quantity of options that are not exchange traded and are products provided by financial institutions on a per-client basis. The price to charge a client becomes directly associated with a possible profit or loss after the option has matured. While the associated risks could be mitigated through rebalancing a portfolio that replicates the payoff of the option, the required rate at which rebalances occur is not well defined. This project is involved with quantifying the distribution of the P&L for an option on commodity futures. Once a futures pricing model is established, an appropriate hedging methodology is implemented on these price movements. Finally the project seeks to analyze how the distribution changes when model parameters are varied.



Improving Adoption Rate of a Banking Product Using Behavioural Economics

Alborz Parcham-Kashani and Gideon Wilk


The client is a major Canadian financial institution interested in using behavioural economics (BE) to increase adoption of their credit card feature. BE is the study of how people make financial decisions. As with most other decisions people make, the financial decisions they make are not always optimal in terms of financial outcome, regardless of how much relevant information they have. In particular, they are predictably irrational. BE studies the biases that contribute to this shortcoming and the mental framework people use to make most decisions. Understanding these biases and frameworks creates an opportunity to build a “choice architecture”. When the construction of choices or options a business offers to its customers is done carefully with consideration of how people make decisions, customers as a whole are more likely to pick the options that can be mutually beneficial in serving the customers' needs as well as the client’s business goals. The team performed a study of the BE literature and makes recommendations regarding changes to the design and the marketing of a credit card feature. The findings are applicable to financial institutions and other providers of financial services and products to consumers across all nationalities and cultures.

Next Generation Business Intelligence For The Bank

Ahmad R. Hejran and Neeharika Tummala


The purpose of this thesis is to apply next generation business intelligence techniques to the mortgage payout process of a Canadian Financial Institution. Data from a workflow tool in the payout process was analyzed to determine which metrics should be tracked, how they should be best analyzed and presented in dashboards, and finally present an analysis of the data that answers key questions relating to performance and efficiency. Microsoft Excel and Minitab 15 were used extensively as business intelligence tools in order to extract and present information from the workflow system data. In addition, recommendations for improving the data quality and the tracking of data in the process were provided. This analysis methodology can be replicated and used for other processes in the Bank in order to improve efficiency.

Legal Project Management

Darryl Chun Him Yau


The motivation for this report comes from the concerns clients have with the legal services provided by law firms in North America such as: the increasing costs of legal services, the uncertainty involved in estimating legal costs, and the lack of transparency throughout the whole process. Lawyers are currently billed by the hour but, ever since the recession in 2008, clients have clamoured for alternative fee arrangements. Clients would like an alternative fee arrangement which provides them with more certainty and less risk, such as giving lawyers a fixed fee for their services. The legal community has identified legal project management as a possible method for making alternative fee arrangements a viable option for both the client and law firms. Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the requirements of a project. In legal project management, legal projects would be in the form of either transactional work or litigation. This thesis investigates what legal project management is, the benefit it brings, and the current practices of legal project management among select law firms in Toronto. The objective is achieved by completing an extensive review of academic literature on both legal project management and general project management, and analyzing information gathered from meeting with project management experts and legal professionals. Research finds that the application of project management methodologies within a legal context is still a relatively new concept. A few Toronto firms have recently looked at the benefits of legal project management and initiated the implementation of legal project management within their practices. There is little academic literature on legal project management, but it remains one of the hottest topics within the legal community.

Telepresence: The Next Generation of Client Meetings

Carson D. McFadden


TelePresenceTM is a Cisco technology with the potential to be used to disseminate banking services and expertise more efficiently and effectively through linking advisors to customers with advanced audio and visual technology. In this work, we design a methodology to assess the current TelePresenceTM technology and guide the technology’s development in the Bank. This methodology is based on an analysis of factors contributing to the concept of presence and the customer relationships. Central to our methodology are mutual gaze, sound, trust, memory, and presence. Our work explains the methodology in detail, describes data acquisition, and provides preliminary results. These preliminary results indicate the viability of the method. The results also suggest that there is substantial potential for TelePresenceTM, as participants engage with each other. However, critical areas for improvement are identified: sound, room configuration, and visual standards.

Business Value of Information Technology

Andrei Sitartchouk


The value of Information Technology investments is not readily determined for each IT initiative. The fact is, IT is seen as a cost centre rather than a value centre, and while there are a number of methodologies that exist to evaluate the business value of IT, none are all encompassing and easy to use. This paper will propose a new methodology, building upon the tool used by the specific client (for whom this paper is written), to evaluate IT initiatives through analysis of qualitative, and quantitative aspects. The qualitative analysis is performed by evaluating selected criteria that encompass value creation, and the quantitative analysis is carried out through real option analysis.

HR Strategy for Recruiting and Retaining the Next Generation Talent

Yilun Zhang


The objective of the thesis is to understand where a large Canadian Bank can find qualified Next Generation Talent (NGT) candidates to fill its business needs, and how can it effectively attract them to work for the Bank. This is an important issue because the Bank needs to recruit and retain the top NGT workforce to maintain its long term competitive advantage. The results and recommendations are formulated based on data collected from existing literature review and employee interviews. The three main sources of literature review came from academic research, consultants' findings, and employer surveys and rankings. There were also 20 personal interviews conducted. The interviewees included HR and IT employees within the Bank and IT employees working outside of the financial service industry. Areas of opportunity that the research has identified are regarding the best recruitment practice for SNS. Recommendations include four overarching guidelines to build presence in a social network and two specific recommendations to best utilize LinkedIn.

Social Media Accessin the Workplace

Wang Qian


Over the past few years, more companies have started to incorporate the use of social media websites as a part of their companies. This thesis investigates the risks and benefits associated with allowing social media access to employees for personal use in the workplace and proposes recommendations to the Bank about its approach to this new technology. The research is conducted using two methods. The first method is a detailed literature review illustrating the current social media practices and trend for other companies over the past few years. The second method involves three types of surveys: the Bank Survey, a Student Survey and Other Company Surveys. The survey results show different attitudes towards social media from points of view of an older generation (Bank employees), a younger generation (students) and the employers. A cost-benefit analysis is conducted based on the research results. It is estimated that granting social media access for employees’ personal use offers a financial gain for companies. It is recommended that the Bank devising and enforcing a Social Media Policy to prevent any negative effects from the use of social media websites.

The Relationship between Software Requirements and Project Success

Ahmad Sadr Ghayeni and Wayne Choi


New software projects are constantly being proposed to meet emerging business needs; however, many of these projects will fail due to the increasing complexity and size of software technology. The client of this project, the technology department of a major Canadian financial institution, would like to improve on its IT investments by understanding the root causes of unmet business client expectations in past software projects. Given that the requirements gathering stage of a software project determines what will eventually be delivered, the relationship between the quality of the requirements and the eventual success of a sample of the client’s past software projects was examined in this study. It was observed that the business requirements gathering process was neglected in many projects at the Bank. Ensuring that this process is strictly followed will greatly increase the overall probability of success of software projects.