A comparison of the development of the ICT programs in different universities in Australia is growing; universities are now directly competing against each other than ever before. By getting involved in strategic thinking they have been able to focus on finding various unique opportunities so that they can create value by enabling a provocative and creative dialogue. As an institution, universities have exercised considerable self-analysis by assessing our current activities and capabilities, benchmarking selective organizations, and identifying broad opportunities for improving our diversity profile.
According to Keller. G, 1983, strategic planning is a structured approach in order to anticipate future and “exploiting the inevitable”. Professor Michael Porter says:
“In addition to the firm’s own value-creating activities, the firm operates in a value system of vertical activities including those of upstream suppliers and downstream channel members. In order to be able to achieve a competitive advantage, universities must perform one or more value creating activities in a way that creates more overall value than do other universities. Superior value is created through lower costs or superior benefits to the consumer (differentiation).”
Basically, in general terms strategy is about two things: deciding where you want your business to go, and deciding how to get there. A more complete definition is based on competitive advantage, the object of most corporate strategy:
Competitive advantage grows out of value a firm is able to create for its buyers that exceeds the firm’s cost of creating it. There are two basic types of competitive advantage: cost leadership and differentiation. Michael Porter, Competitive Advantage, 1985, p.3
A firm’s relative position within an industry is given by its choice of competitive advantage (cost leadership vs. differentiation) and its choice of competitive scope. With the help of competitive scope it will help universities to distinguish between firms targeting broad industry segments and firms focusing on a narrow segment. Generic strategies are useful because they characterize strategic positions at the simplest and broadest level. Porter maintains that achieving competitive advantage requires a firm to make a choice about the type and scope of its competitive advantage. There are different risks inherent in each generic strategy, but being “all things to all people” is a sure recipe for mediocrity – getting “stuck in the middle”.
Porter’s Generic Strategies (source: Porter, 1985, p.12)
Because of comprehensive change in business background and emerge of computers and internet, the business structure and needed information had change, the competitiveness as a major factor for life of organizations in information edge is preyed of information technology challenges. For any university to plan for ICT they have to invest in technology to be able to achieve their goals, however in Australian universities strategic plans set out the mission, core values, goals and broad objectives and associated strategies for the overall university.
- Keller, G. (1983). Academic strategy: The management revolution in American Higher Education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
- Porter, Michael, Competitive Advantage, The Free Press, NY, 1985.
- Porter, Michael, “What is strategy?” Harvard Business Review v74, n6 (Nov-Dec, 1996):61 (18 pages).