Web-Based System to Improve Resource Efficiency in University Departments

Web-Based System to Improve Resource Efficiency in University Departments

Elias Melchor-Ferrer (University of Granada, Granada, Spain) and Dionisio Buendía-Carrillo (University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/JCIT.2016010101

Abstract

This paper presents the main features, characteristics and benefits of an economic and financial information management system that has been introduced in several departments at the University of Granada (Spain). The system is web-based and intended to optimise efficiency in the management of public resources, according to e-government approach and principles. It is based on a combination of expressive, yet intuitive, query language, and faceted search, and has meant an important advance by comparing its performance with that achieved by other approaches. To assess the usefulness and functionality of this web-based system, in-depth interviews were conducted of different types of users. The methodological approach followed to address the analysis of this type of qualitative information is Constant Comparative Analysis from which it is derived a casual network whose main outcome is the improvement of economic and financial efficiency in the department. To encourage widespread use of the system, the application is open source software.
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A Proposal To Improve Economic Information Management In Academic Departments1

University departments, together with many public and private organisations, subscribe to the fundamental concept underlying new technologies that potential benefits may be derived from their use. This type of assessment (i.e., proof of concept) may result from preliminary internal testing, from information regarding success in this respect achieved by similar organisations or from a good match between the task to be performed and the technology proposed (Agarwal, Tanniru, & Wilemon, 1997). The fit between task and technology has been analysed since the mid-1990s, when various authors (Aljukhadar, Senecal, & Nantel, 2014; Goodhue & Thompson, 1995; Goodhue, 1995; Zigurs & Buckland, 1998) examined the key factors determining the appropriate use of technologies. This theory, termed Task-Technology Fit, is one of the most important developments in information system theory and has been applied in many contexts, including the economic and financial management of university departments (Melchor-Ferrer & Buendía-Carrillo, 2014). Two levels of feedback can be considered: i) the manager evaluates the task-technology fit and in view of the results, redefines the task characteristics and the software used; ii) the community improves the technology, making use of an open source licence.

In accordance with this theoretical background, we designed specific software to be implemented as a ubiquitously-accessible web-based query application, which provides timely and accurate information on the department’s financial situation. A prototype-based test run was initially conducted as a proof of concept in 2010, and its subsequent everyday use is contributing to further improve the application. The prototype was implemented under the guidance of the authors in several departments at the University of Granada (UGR) to confirm its viability and to detect possible mistakes or improvements. The system is currently in use and is licensed for distribution as open source software, which could be implemented by any or all of the 123 departments that comprise the UGR.

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