Chapter 3 of a Dissertation

Title:Roles of Cloud Operation Management Framework in improving the ability of IT managers to manage associated organizational resources for cloud services

3.1 Chapter Overview

This chapter developed a methodology and research design used in the present study. It explains the research design used in achieving the set research objectives (Bryman & Bell, 2011). Detailed literature support is derived in support of the choice of the research design.  Additionally, this chapter provides an explanation of the research approach followed, the data collection strategy, rationale for a specific approach and the reason for analysis (Saunders et al., 2012). This chapter can note that primary data has been adopted. The primary data has been sourced through the use of interviews and questionnaires with different audiences being targeted. This was done to understand the effective cloud operation management framework essential for improving the capacity of the IT managers in managing resources for cloud services. The statistical and content analysis has been carried out with the aim of answering all the research questions formulated in the current study.

3.2 Research Proposition

The choice for mixed methodology research informs the need of following both the ontology and epistemology research philosophes. According to Scotland (2012), in research, the ontology can be identified as a mix approach nominalism and relativism. On the other hand, the epistemology is a hybrid of both the social constructionism and relativism. In this context, the social constructionism is adopted by the theories which are linked to the literature reviews and tested by following the interviews with different players in the cloud operation management and presenting an understanding of the improvement of IT managers roles in the cloud services resources management. Further, the relativism view is initiated by propositions, later designing a triangulation and eventually conducting an analysis through surveys or questionnaires with employees who are sufficiently trained.

The current research follows a combination of the social constructionism and relativism. As noted by Yilmaz (2013), this has a positive influence in allowing for the adoption of qualitative case study and survey research either through a combination of the quantitative and qualitative methods. In the current study, the quantitative data would be sourced using a questionnaire offered to managers of cloud computing services with the qualitative data collected using interviews with different users of the cloud computing services. The use of both the interpretivism and positivism philosophical positions enhanced the possibility of unearthing distinct experiences and attitudes of a host of involved stakeholders in the context of the factors that influence the ease of adoption of the cloud computing and the resources essential for the process implementation. The current research on the aspects that affect the cloud computing stakeholders from transitioning from the traditional to contemporary cloud models has insufficiently been studied in Kuwait hence the ideal study philosophy.

3.3 Research Techniques

3.3.1 Quantitative Data

In this study, the quantitative data would be sourced using a sample of questionnaires. In this case, the questionnaire questions from the survey would be formulated in a manner that they are comprised of both open and closed questions. The rationale of having open questions in research is providing an opportunity for defining and explaining the respondent’s opinion, situations, and events in a more strategic and detailed manner. A closed formulated question offers a respondent with an ardent opportunity of directly answering different posed questions with a Yes or No and using a Likert scale in answering the different raised questions dictating the level of fact or opinions (Saunders et al., 2012). The Likert scale is equally instrumental as it is comprised of questions with a ranking system hence offering a significant weight to a specific posed question.

The advantage of using the questionnaire in the current research is informed by the low cost and accrued time factor. This is since the questionnaire tends to offer an efficient approach of a collection of enormous samples in an easy and fast manner. The implication of this is an increased time and cost management in the entire research process. The questionnaire was administered through the survey monkey which is an indicator that all the respondents completed the questionnaire and the survey.  This was possible since the questionnaire is a standardized tool offering an efficient approach of responses collection from a large number of employees at the same time. Additionally, the questions were delivered and returned electronically through the survey monkey platform. By ensuring that the questions used were all standardized, it was easier to carry out the analysis through the use of computer software program such as the SPSS.  The other alternative such as content analysis was not applicable as it is normally used in qualitative data analysis. The questionnaire used in the data collection process is provided in appendix 1.   The Excel tool which is also an alternative would be used in structuring of the data which would be later be transferred to the SPSS file for analysis purposes.

3.3.2 Qualitative Data

The qualitative data would be sourced using an interview script sourced from the different users of cloud services such as banks, government, and practitioners in the oil and gas industry. The interview script was semi-structured which is an indicator that the interviewer possessed distinct themes and questions intended to be covered with the order being significantly varied from one interview process to the different users of the cloud computing services in KUWAIT. The open-ended questions used in the current study was broadly adopted for flexible designs and a sole or combination with other approaches used in the current study. Further, the open questions were constructed using open questions for sourcing the discussion between the researcher and the interviewee. The semi-structured survey is as shown in Appendix 2.

3.3.3 Comparison of Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Through the use of distinct data, it is essential to understand the differences between the quantitative and qualitative data. The table two illustrated in the main differences between the two data types;

The quantitative and qualitative data offer and include distinct priorities in the areas of analysis, collecting and evaluating. In this phenomenon, the researcher is expected to understand the type of data required and the appropriate answers to the questions. In the context of the current study, the researcher followed the use of both the qualitative and quantitative data in answering the identified research question. Further, multiple case studies were used in the current study in sourcing the most appropriate perspectives regarding the research objectives and hence gaining an instrumental and rich understanding of the topic of study. As noted by Doody and Bailey (2016), the adoption of the multiple case studies assists in adding additional weight to the overall study findings. The sourced findings are more satisfactory and applicable as opposed to the single case studies.

3.4 Research Design

The research design is inclusive of the blueprint that is employed to facilitate the process of carrying out a particular study. Some of the primary designs are inclusive of descriptive, exploratory and explanatory research (Saunders et al., 2012).   In the current study, some of the primary study objectives include establishing the relevant opportunities for cloud services in KUWAIT market and available resources, evaluating role of IT managers in management of cloud services, investigating adequacy of measures by IT managers and service providers and investigation of challenges faced by the IT managers and partners in transition from traditional to contemporary cloud business models. Accordingly, the study was such that it demanded the adoption of both exploratory and descriptive design. Such a design as Easterby-Smith et al. (2012) offers an explanation that both delve on evaluating and establishing fresh insights pertaining to the evaluating of the research issue of focus. It equally offers clarity in terms of understanding distinct issues that are yet to be studies sufficiently and in depth (Fischer & Gregor, 2011).

Further, by utilizing the identified research design, it was essentially possible to implement identification and analysis of alternative courses of the distinct actions by the IT channels partners. This is inclusive of the best strategies that can be adopted in ensuring that their overall channels are cloud ready. Another advantage of the exploratory and descriptive design is their high-level flexibility in terms of use. This is since it is possible to harness a holistic exploration of the IT channels from distinct perspectives through the use of data from different stakeholders including the cloud vendors and channel partners among other users. The exploratory design is nevertheless characterized by distinct limitations such as lack of a conclusive as compared to their findings sourced through the descriptive research which is intended to source information from a broad and representative sample. Hence, the challenges facing one of the designs is solved by the use of the second research design successfully.  This approach faced the risks of poor participation from IT managers, lacking sufficient time to complete the research and failure of accessing Microsoft forms. These challenges were solved by preparing all stakeholders adequately, using travel time for tasks completion and using survey monkey as the tool for data collection from the respondents.

3.5.1 Quantitative Data

The questionnaire used in this study was comprised of a total of 10 questions strategically categorized into four distinct sections. As aforementioned the targeted respondents included the IT managers in small and medium businesses in Kuwait. The IT managers include the individuals tasked with the role of ensuring that their organisations are transitioning from the traditional operations to a more modernized practices which are inclusive of the Cloud computing. The respondents would be selected from the majority of the respondents in the different organisations of focus hence act as a representative of the overall population of study. Prior inviting all the potential respondents to participate in answering he questionnaire, a pilot study was initially carried out targeting five of the identified respondents. In the main data collection process, a total of 50 respondents answered the questionnaires with their selection being through purposeful sampling. This is an approach where the researcher accesses the researchers through referrals of the individuals already working in the industry of focus.  In the pilot test, the two respondents successfully completed the questionnaires in a similar manner that would be replicated by focusing on the other employees. The pilot study was nevertheless a one on one research process with the researcher and the respondent. In the process of the pilot study, the researcher actively surveyed the subject on the appropriateness of the flow of the survey questions and level of understanding of the surveyed topic.

Further, the study intended to evaluate the willingness of the potential respondents in answering the asked questions and the relevant information which were found missing in the questionnaire. Another critical factor in the pilot test was based on the analysis of the adoption of distinct forms of questions including the open and closed questions which are both instrumental in sourcing for the appropriate information. The pilot test does not depict any special mistakes in the flow or understanding of the questions. Therefore, the piloting of the study only showed the questions which were not understandable clearly or fitting the process of answering the questions. Hence, a formulation of the questions was done at the end for the sake of altering the questions flow for obtaining the appropriate outcome of the posed question.

3.5.2 Qualitative Data

The semi-structured interviews were used by following personal and telephone interviews informed by the aspects of distance, time and financial reasons. This is since some of the respondents were located in different Emirates from that of the researcher. The direct communication between the respondents and the researcher ensured that improved information is shared which are detailed. They were equally discussed in a broader approach as opposed to the questionnaire. A total of 5 respondents were involved in the study who belonged to the bank’s category, government officials and the oil and gas industry. Further, the sessions were held within mutually agreed time by all the potential respondents. The entire interviewing process took place for 45 minutes. The significantly short duration in the process was informed by the busy schedules of the different respondents or interviewees and the desire of ensuring that the overall interests were sufficiently maintained in the entire sessions.

3. 6 Data Analysis

After a successful data collection process, the researcher was involved in a dynamic analysis and interpretation. The data analysis is a process describing the form of data collected and the steps used in the analysis and its subsequent evaluation. According to Gale et al. (2013), the intention of the analysis process is an active covering of a broad range of opportunities for dealing with the quantitative and qualitative data. Further, Palinkas et al. (2015) observed that the intention of the analysis is setting out a detailed guideline and principles for the targeted respondents, their industry of operation, experience and their level of understanding of the study topic.

3.7 Validity, Reliability and Ethical Issues

Validity implies the existence of appropriate instruments and methods of data collection. This is done with the aim of accurately measuring the primary research extent or intended to measure. It is equally involved in describing the content of the research findings and what they profess to be their constituents (Goertz & Mahoney, 2012). In this regard, the validity aspect was attained in the current research study through holding an analysis on the questionnaire with the IT managers being targeted in the current study.

The research reliability is dependent on the level of stability or the internal reliability of the sourced data. The level of stability of the measured data is supposed to be consistent over time which is an indicator that the results in the study should not be fluctuating.

The ethical issues would equally be instrumental in the current study. The ethical issues were taken into consideration with the University and the different respondents of the study. The different respondents had a high level of trust with the researcher due to the direct contact that prevailed is the university and the different respondents in the research.  Also, a consent form was signed by the involved respondents in answering the questionnaire. The employees had strong confidence in answering the questionnaire due to their direct relationship with the researcher. Additionally, a cover letter was also used with all the essential information for active participation and support by the researcher with leveraging from the trust held by the respondents. Further, the researcher elaborately explained to the respondents that all the sourced data would be treated in high confidentiality and only used for the academic purposes. Hence, the ethical issues were addressed by the collection of quantitative and qualitative data and not identifying their names or identities. All these aspects were anchored on the view that active involvement or participation in the collection of the quantitative and qualitative was voluntary with no coercion to participate in the study whatsoever. For the sake of avoiding any form of misrepresentation of the respondents, a transcribed copy of the interview was offered with the aim of reviewing and editing the data on the basis of their relevance.

3.7 Conclusion

This chapter demonstrated that the data used in meeting the set research aim and objectives were sourced from the primary and secondary sources. In particular, the information on the ability of IT managers in managing associated organizational resources for cloud services was sourced from the IT managers and other users of cloud computing. This was done by the use of both the qualitative and quantitative data and subsequent analysis using the statistical tool (SPSS) and content analysis to generate themes and subthemes of testing the study variables.