Critical success factor
A critical success factor is a factor whose presence is necessary for an organisation to fulfil its mission - in other words, if it is not present then its absence will cause organisational failure.
The majority of work on this in e-learning has been oriented either to large-scale failures, usually of consortium models focussed on distance learning, or on "hygiene" and KPI type success factors not critical success factors
The Re.ViCa project aims to produce a new synthesis. A natural starting point is to start from a base of general theory and fuse the large-scale critical success factors with evidence from the benchmarking and quality arenas, concentrating on criteria that are critical not just useful ones. There is a close relationship to issues of e-readiness.
The Wikipedia entry on critical success factor indicates that one should look in the following areas:
- Money factors: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.
- Acquiring new customers and/or distributors - your future.
- Customer satisfaction - how happy are they?
- Quality - how good is your product and service?
- Product or service development - what's new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones?
- Intellectual capital - increasing what you know that's profitable.
- Strategic relationships - new sources of business, products and outside revenue.
- Employee attraction and retention - your ability to do extend your reach.
- Sustainability - your personal ability to keep it all going
These have to be turned from management-speak into concepts understandable by and acceptable to higher education providers.
- See the Wikipedia article on critical success factor.
- There is a sparse literature on critical success factors in education, but mostly oriented to large-scale failures of e-universities. See for example Lessons to be learned from the failure of UK eUniversities by Paul Bacsich.
- An interesting paper on critical success factors in a more "normal" educational context is the paper on Ten Critical Success Factors from the former Learning and Skills Development Agency, oriented to the success of embedding teaching on key skills.
- There are signs of convergence of the "mega" and "meso" strands of critical success factors literature on universities - see in particular Critical success factors for e-learning and institutional change – some organisational perspectives on campus-wide e-learning by Su White. There is also a strand of work over several years by Maggie McPherson - see for example Organisational critical success factors for managing eLearning implementation in Computers in Education, 2002, Page(s): 1540 - 1541, vol.2
- There is very recent work on "key factors" by Stephen Marshall in connection with the HERDSA 2008 conference.