UBC IT – Michel as EVA

As UBC IT Services is structured and operate very differently from a business venture I chose to look at the pitch from a budgeting and an internal planning perspective.  Given the unique nature of this pitch I also chose to omit the competitive products and exit strategy aspects.

EO Credibility

Ted Dodds definitely has a vision of what university-level IT should be and how it should operate.  It is clear that he is confident in his abilities as well as his department and has developed the lines of communication to succeed in meeting UBC technological needs.

Management Team

It is clear that Dodds has a clear vision of how his department should be managed as he describes the community-based strategies he has employed.  By assigning an E-learning group to each faculty I think his department is better able to meet the needs of those groups and thus succeed as a team in the long-run.

Business Model

I think that UBC’s IT services are not only a vital part of the University’s ongoing success but the department has expanded its operational model into the commercial realm which can greatly improve the feasibility of the department.  From a business model standpoint this serves as strong indicator of success.

Beyond their integral role, giving voice to all the stakeholders involved with IT services including administration, management, business and, most importantly, the students further improves their chances of meeting their needs, an act which should define their success as a department.

Market Readiness

As the interviewer states first off E-Learning is a huge part of modern education and Dodds is clear that E-Learning is a “mainstream” and mature component of business and education.  As such, it is clear that Dodds sees his department as an integral piece of UBC.

The fact that UBC has managed to sell aspects of their IT developments, such as WebCT, to commercial companies further proves that not only is the education market ready for these innovations but so are commercial businesses.  I think that in many ways his group is already succeeding not only are new services getting to individuals and departments in the university but they have managed to sell off some of their more successful components to bring revenue back to the school.

Technical Innovation

I think Dodd’s community and open-source software strategies are refreshing to hear.  Historically development along these lines have been hard to develop and commercialize but by focusing on these methods as a source of innovation, direction and production he could be tapping into the individuals that need and care most about the services his group is developing.

Overall Investment Status

To be honest it would be hard for me to argue against focusing on UBC’s IT branch as an important part of the university’s plan going forward.  I am sure Dodds, the interviewer and you, my fellow classmates, respect the increased importance of Internet communication technologies we have observed recently in higher education.  I would be hard-pressed to pass on “investing” or rather allocating increased funds to further their services as Dodds has made a strong argument for its importance to both UBC and business.

September 20, 2009   1 Comment

Ingenia and UBC IT Services


I found that that Materi’s pitch was well paced. You could follow it easily, especially with the inclusion of slides. However, Materi did not display much passion when she spoke and in my opinion, this reduced the impact of the pitch.

Materi’s credentials are solid and her speaking at several conferences such as CSTD attest to her knowledge in this area. While she notes that the core team of designers and consultants have Masters or have appointments at Universities, we don’t know much else about the core team. No mention is made of the credentials requirements for the contract hires. While we can hope they hold the same level of credentials, this is not addressed. The size of the core team and the number of contracts needed for this venture is also not clearly addressed and this raises concerns as to whether this has been considered.

The business model does not really address how Ingenia will address the cultural, language and political/social environment of Vietnam. While they have partnered with a local Vietnamese software firm, will they be relying on them to conduct the majority of the business dealings? Materi also makes note of a project with the Ministry of Fisheries in Vietnam as an illustration of Ingenia’s experience in Vietnam, but no mention is made on the scope of the project or success. Testimonials from this project along with others would have been nice. The addition of a few quotes would have added credibility to the pitch. I am not sure if Ingenia have a technical edge; Materi mentions a Japanese Consortium already operating in Vietnam. I did not hear anything in the pitch to make me believe Ingenia offers anything unique or technologically innovative; rather it sounds more like they are resting their success on tapping into a territory which has not had much exposure to e-learning.   

The goal is to establish Ingenia as a major e-learning service provided in Vietnam. This goal is quite board with not much focus on specifics. I would have liked to know what is considered a major service provider (what percentage of the population would constitute as major? How many contracts would this equate to?). There is also no reference to timeline in this pitch. What are the major milestones of the project and what dates are attached to these?

UBC IT Services

Dodds is very confident in his delivery. He is well versed in the mission and vision and speaks to them with ease. Dodds does not speak specifically to the credentials of the management team, however in mentioning that 5 Vice Presidents sit on the executive steering committee this adds further credibility and indicates that there is a level of accountability.

The business model to partner with client groups and to work at a strategic level makes logical sense and emphasizes how IT services and assist them and to work collaboratively. Dodds emphasize on keeping the strategy current and evolving indicates that they are not resistant to change. A competitive advantage is the reputation of UBC and collaboration. By being in tune with their clients and by seeking out best practices through town halls and peers/competitors UBC IT services is ensuring they have their finger on the pulse of the future.  In the closing, Dodds mentions the need for a vision of the future state for 2, 3 and 5 years; as such I would have liked to have heard what the 2, 3 and 5 year future state of UBC IT Services is during this pitch.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Ernie’s UBC IT Services Pitch Analysis

Here’s my 2nd go at a pitch analysis…hope it makes sense…my eyes are starting to close!

  • CEO Credibility – Does this person exude capability and convey confidence that they will achieve success against all obstacles?
    • Ted Dodds appears confident and well-spoken.  He exudes a very professional, experienced demeanour.
    • He speaks of UBC’s mission, considers the students and the community
  • Management Team – Have they assembled a stellar team along with the other human and material resources required for success
    • Dodds suggests that UBC is a very decentralized university.  Each faculty has its own e-learning component.  He stresses the importance of formal and informal meetings and strategies, including the use of E-strategy Townhall meetings, which include invited leaders of other institutions (peers and competitors), boards members, deans, vice presidents etc.  He stresses the importance of collaboration between these e-learning stakeholders.
  • Business Model – Is this feasible? – have they done their homework? – are their arguments and information accurate and compelling?
    • Yes, I believe this model is feasible.  By working collaboratively with e-learning stakeholders, university leaders, and competing educational institutions, UBC’s reputation stands to gain.  In turn, registration may increase.
    • Dodds suggests that the E-strategy is a framework, not plan or mandate, thus giving more freedom to members of the community.
  • Competitive Products – What is a realistic market size, market share and selling price that these products or services can capture in a very competitive world?
    • There is a demand for e-learning and UBC IT’s vision is to be a active an collaborative partner in the e-learning community.  They are working together with other universities and educational leaders to create products that can promote e-learning.  Unfortunately, Dodds does not provided any statistics on market size, student enrolment, demand etc.
  • Market Readiness – How long and difficult is their critical path to success?
    • No time length is given but UBC is working with other educational institutions in the e-learning community.  It is leader in e-learning innovation.  Path to success is ongoing.
  • Technical Innovation – Do they have an edge, and can they keep it?
    • Dodds mentions that UBC is well known for “commercialization of individual research within the campus”.  E-learning innovation at UBC has brought about commercial products such as WebCT.  He mentions that UBC is taking a leadership role in opensource software and community source software which help to get campus level innovations to a broader audience.  Working with other campuses to create a community source system
  • Exit Strategy – Do they really know what success looks like – is their destination clear
    • Participation and altruistic relationship in the e-learning community helps to promote UBC reputation.  By taking a leadership role in opensource software and creating E-strategy townhall meetings for community stakeholders contributes to UBC IT’s success.
  • Overall Investment Status – Am I going to risk my investment capital on this proposition?
    • Yes, as an EVA, I would invest in UBC IT’s vision for e-learning.  Furthermore, I would encourage and recommend potential students to take a serious look at e-learning programs through UBC.

September 19, 2009   No Comments

Comparison of Ingenia and UBC

I have decided to compare and comment on two very different pitches: Ramona’s from Ingenia and Ted’s from UBC.


Ramonacame across and a capable and confident speaker. The pitch was well-paced and easy to listen to and follow. Her credentials are high and she seems to have a strong team working with her. I found it interesting that due to the competitive Canadian and US markets and a decrease in spending, Ingenia has shifted their focus oversees to Vietnam. I do see that there is a need in Vietnam (and other countries in South East Asia) for e-learning programs, and I believe the market there is ready, I just wasn’t convinced from this pitch that Ingenia was the one to do it. Although they have already partnered with Vietnamese software firm, they admitted to not having much experience in Vietnam. Their goal, however, is clear: they want to establish themselves as a major learning services provider in Vietnam.


I was wondering who would be creating the curriculum for these courses as I believe that there are many cultural differences that must be considered when developing courses for another country. As an EVA I am intrigued by their idea, but I would definitely need to know more information about exactly how they are going to carry out this plan. I wanted to know more about the company and what they are doing in Canada so I found their website and noticed that they have since acquired many more Canadian clients.


I also noticed this update:

August 2009– Ingenia is pleased and proud to be involved with the 2010 Winter Olympics. The City of Vancouver has awarded Ingenia with a contract to design and develop classroom training for over 200 protocol officers.




Ted Dodds is clearly an intrapreneur who has been continually asking the question: “Where is the better business in this?”  Ted is extremely capable and he displayed confidence in what UBC has already accomplished and the level of success they hope to achieve in the future.  I was very engaged throughout the interview.

There is clearly a huge amount of support for the continuously developed e-learning strategy. The five Vice Presidents, faculty members of UBC, and members of the community work together to evolve and give voice to this strategy. This has been done through various methods such as an annual town hall meeting, conferences, meetings and monthly newsletters.

 This model is obviously feasible and has already shown a high level of success. There continues to be a demand for e-learning from the community and the innovators or “partners” are working within the various faculties in order to assist and develop the most up-to-date resources available.


Looking towards the future, Open Source software and a Community Source system connected with other universities are being discussed. Their destination is clear, with the objective being to making the best decisions for the faculties and the University, while continuing to raise the bar. I think many Universities could learn from what UBC has achieved so far in e-learning. As an EVA I would definitely support this kind of project at my University.

September 14, 2009   2 Comments