Chapter 10. Strategic and emergent

Degrees of failure

Although the strategic vision was wonderful: Margaret Hodge, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education, said: ‘I want the UK to become the leading producer of quality on-line higher education. UK eUniversity Worldwide is key to making that vision a reality. This joint venture creates new opportunities for many students.’ (Sun, 2001)

It has been a bad week for information technology in the public sector. The worst casualty is the Government's flagship e-university, hailed by ministers as the Open University for the 21st century. It is to be quietly dismantled after embarrassing performance failures ... The UKeU, launched amid fanfares at the height of the dotcom boom in 2000, aimed to market and deliver British university degrees worldwide through the internet ... But £35 million later, it recruited only 900 students. Now the Higher Education Funding Council for England says that it will ‘scale down and transfer’ its work. In other words, the plug has been pulled.

(The Times, 2004)

Enquirers looking for information about the eUniversity are now given the sad message: ‘Enquiries should now be directed to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.’ (, 2004). And the IT assets have been put up for sale. (Public Technology, 2004)

Or a competitor with a technology edge?

While it can be argued that the emergence of the Y2K problem as a business issue was the best example of an emergent risk, a more specific example ...

Get Beating IT Risks now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.