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05/230 STRATEGIC OPTIONS AND CHOICES: CRITERIA FOR STRATEGIC INVESTMENT Introduction: In the delivery of the Universitys Vision,

Mission and Aims, choices must be made on where to invest resources (including people, effort, money and infrastructure) to achieve strategic objectives and the associated benefits, and to minimise risk. The Universitys strategic planning cycle, at Appendix 1, illustrates the process leading from setting strategic objectives through option review to making choices upon which specific implementation plans are built. This paper sets out the criteria for strategic option review leading to informed choices that are aligned with the Universitys Strategy. Two processes are set out below: Stage 1: Establishing priorities for strategic investment across the breadth of the University. Stage 2: Making specific investment decisions. These processes for making choices are not new to the University. Choices are being made all the time. This paper makes explicit those processes and criteria. These processes need to be flexible, accountable and appropriately managed. They need to allow managed risktaking rather than contribute to risk aversion. Stage 1: Establishing priorities for strategic investment looking across all areas of the University: This stage encompasses a review of all areas of the University, both existing activity and potential developments. This stage is not a single piece of work, but should be a continuous process linked with the Universitys strategic planning cycle and overseen by the University Board. (i) Gap Analysis for each Area and Cross-Cutting Themes: Define current position Define desired position consistent with our world-class vision Assess the ease of realisation (closure of gap) based on: o Distance between current position and aspiration o Investment (funding, time, and other resources) required to close gap on sustainable basis o Barriers Return on investment measures and objectives.

(ii) Establish priority order for investment across the whole University Comparison of gap analyses across Areas including identification of comparative gains to be made by o different levels of investment o different targets for investment 1

05/230 o different speed/phasing of investment Consideration of market attractiveness Consideration of impact on other areas. Consideration of opportunity cost and risk assessment. Banding of areas into high/medium/low priority by funding requirement, timescale, ability to deliver and benefits.

Implementation of Stage 1: Consideration of areas for strategic investment should be undertaken with reference to the Universitys Strategic Plan and relevant sub-strategies. This will be aided by the new format being developed for University Strategies and Plans which will give explicit critical success factors and related key performance indicators. This Stage also links with Stage 1 (Needs Analysis) of the Universitys Project Management Framework. This process will improve the transparency in strategic resourcing decisions. Stage 2: Making Specific Investment Decisions (including appraisal of new opportunities): Primary questions: Does it create or have World Class potential? How does it contribute to our Vision, Mission and Aims? Is it exciting? Distinctive? Does it provide market advantage and enhanced position? Is it agenda setting? Is there alignment with external environment (local, national and international)? Is it sustainable? Will it have necessary critical mass? Is it coherent and does it fit with overall context? What is the academic return on investment? - does it build reputation? - does it build peer esteem? - does it create an environment that others will want to join? What is the financial benefit from investment? - does it reduce dependency on core Government funding? - does it create income earning opportunities directly or indirectly? - will it deliver efficiencies? Does it develop people? Does it deliver improvements to the environment (physical and organisation)? Does it deliver public benefit? Underpinning questions : Is there a sound management infrastructure? - How will financial control be exercised? - Is the administrative support appropriate and linked to the University? - Is there a demonstration of risk awareness and risk management? Is there accountability for the return on investment (both academic and financial)? - targets - monitoring - reporting

05/230 Impact assessment? Is there an impact on other University infrastructure/areas that needs to be taken into account?

Implementation of Stage 2: Stage 2 fits within the early phases of the Universitys Project Management Framework which concentrate on the needs analysis and option appraisals. The Framework is currently being reviewed and the above criteria for specific investment decisions will be incorporated into the Project Management Framework Guidance Notes. Recommendations: The Strategy and Resources Committee is invited to recommend the above processes and criteria for strategic investment decisions to Senate and Council for approval and implementation.

Sue Hybart 11 April 2006

05/230 Appendix 1

Strategic Planning Cycle

External environment and changes


Vision, Mission, Aims, Values . Resources

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