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 and/or mission failure.

The majority of work on this in blended learning has been oriented either to large-scale failures, usually of consortium models focused on distance learning, or on "hygiene" and KPI type success factors not critical success factors

A natural starting point is to start from a base of general business 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.

General business considerations lead to the following areas in which to look for critical success factors:

  • 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 education providers.

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