Author: Tang, Lai-ying Amy
Title: Does IT/IS make the quantity surveying in Hong Kong Government more effective?
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1993
Subject: Building -- Estimates -- China -- Hong Kong
Building -- Estimates -- Data processing
Information technology
Information resources management
Hong Kong Polytechnic -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Computing
Pages: 1 v. (various pagings) : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: This dissertation intends to find out the answer to the following equation: QSB + IT/IS = more effective? i.e. to find out whether or not the computers can assist the QSB to work more effectively. The QSB is the Quantity Surveying Branch of the Architectural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government. The QSB provides the Quantity Surveying Services for the Hong Kong Government. It gives the contract advice and cost advice to all building projects undertaken by the Hong Kong Government. In fulfilling its services, the QSB has to manipulate a large volume of data and information. The top management of the QSB reached the conclusion that a computerized information system could improve the QSB's services. QSB commenced its computerization in 1987 and has now reached Stage 3 according to Nolan's "Four Stages of Development". This research investigate QSB's performance at the present stage and compares with the performance before the computerization. The aim of the research is to find out whether or not QSB can work more effectively with the use of a computerized information system. It also aims to look for ways to improve the computer system and computer/user interface. The research methodology adopted is the Mixing Method combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods suggested by Brannen (1992) and earlier by Kaplan and Duchon (1988). The research was carried out at three levels, namely at the Individual Level, the Organization Level and the Industrial Level. This three level research approach was derived from Andersen, Eason and Robey's (1986) "TWO Level Research" which consists of the Individual Level and the Organization Level. The present research was carried out according to a "Six-Stages Research Model" which was developed from Burn's (1989) "Four Stages Model for Research of the IT Impact on Organization". Four research instruments were used in this research. The instruments used include Questionnaire, Interview, Historical Documents and Participant Observation. The analysis of the questionnaire was carried out with the use of SPSS/PC+ which runs on personal computers. All information and data collected were categorized into six variables: - Organization Characteristic - System Facilities - User Satisfaction - MIS Staff Satisfaction - Budget Performance - Impact on Others These six variables were evaluated according to a system using scoring, weighting, and % of fit. The overall result is given by the "% of Fit". The QSB's performance after its computerization has finally been assessed as being more effective than its performance before the computerization. The overall "% of Fit" arrived at for the six variables is 67%. This result is slightly higher than the standard mark 60%. Suggestion for improvement have been made for several areas. The most significant areas are computer training and the communication between different levels of the QSB staff. In conclusion, it is suggested that the QSB could make the most of the computerization by integrating the QSB business plan with its IT/IS plan. The computerization of the QSB is compared with the way the washing machine has taken over the manual process of washing clothes. It does work more effectively and more efficiently, but the extent of its efficiency has been limited and the principle of washing has remained the same. A "Microwave Oven" approach has been suggested for the development of the QSB's computerization. The microwave has changed entirely the cooking method by heating, and has been generally accepted to be much more efficient than the traditional cooking methods. QSB's strategy in computerization is to integrate with the CAD systems of the Architects and the Engineers in the same department (Architectural Services Department). This strategy is considered to be in the appropriate direction. However, more resources are suggested to be provided for the development of this integrated computer system. A special committee is suggested to be formed for the integration of the computer systems of different branches in the ASD. The committee members should be representatives from the different branches in ASD who have sufficient computer knowledge. If committee members lack computer knowledge, computer training should be provided. This multidisciplinary approach is essential if a quality integrated system is to be obtained. The committee is suggested to have formal link with other organizations who have the same interest in the integrated system between CAD and the QSs' computer aided quantity surveying system. In addition, special funding is suggested to be raised for the development of this integrated system. To derive the greatest benefit from computerization, the QSB cannot not work alone. It has been suggested in this research that the QSB should work closely with its working partners. An information system connected with other professional organizations in the building industry is suggested as one of the possible ways to achieve the "Microwave" effect for the QSB's computerization.
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