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A big data framework to improve government service delivery in South Africa
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Governments across the globe, including South Africa, have a duty and obligation to offer effective and efficient services to the citizens. Due to government shortcomings, South Africa has experienced an increase in service delivery protests due to lack of adequate delivery services to the citizens. However, the emergence of ICT has provided a vehicle for government to improve on their efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. One of the prominent technology concepts that has grabbed the attention and interest from academic, private and public sectors is big data. The government of South Africa is also interested in exploring the concept of big data based on the premise that it presents benefits that improves service delivery. The aim of the study was to gain better understanding of the factors that can influence the use of big data in a government enterprise. Based on the understanding of the factors, a conceptual framework is developed, purposely to guide the use of big data in order to improve service delivery to the citizens of South Africa. In achieving this aim, the Case Study approach was employed, and a government department was selected for the study. The qualitative methods and interpretivist approach were followed. The semi-structured interview technique and document analysis were used in the collection of data. A sociotechnical theory, structuration was used to underpin the study. This means that the theory was used as a lens to guide data analysis. These methods, approaches and techniques were considered most appropriate in gaining a deeper understanding of how a government department stores, manages, and uses big data for service delivery. In the analysis, the duality of structure from the perspective of structuration theory was employed to focus on the roles, responsibilities and actions of agents, and how rules were applied in the use of big data for service delivery. From the analysis, it was found there are five main factors that critically influence the use of big data for service delivery, namely: Organisational Requirements, Readiness Assessment, Continuous Assessment, Compatibility, and Big data as a service. Based on these factors, a framework, Big Data Framework for Serviced Delivery (BDFS) was developed. The framework, BDFS can be used to guide the application of big data for service delivery in government departments.