Portfolio & Technology Practice

We assist clients in the evaluation and transformation of (degree and non-degree) program portfolios and provide the entrepreneurial capacity to establish new programs that are aligned with institutional aspirations. We help clients to embed modern technologies into educational offerings to augment delivery and to enhance the eLearning capabilities of faculty and staff.


Volatility and disruption have become the norm in higher education, yet significant opportunities exist to evolve and grow in a crowded and contested market. Higher education institutions (HEIs) need to continuously evaluate what it means to be both relevant and innovative. They require new strategies and solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of a diverse set of learners.

Developing a ‘portfolio mindset’ is challenging. To keep up with the market, HEIs are in a race to develop new products and reassess existing programs, and to address increasingly testing student and employer demands. Several derivative challenges often emerge, including being faced with accelerating administrative complexity, a lack of portfolio coherence or even a disconnect with an institution’s values and identity. Almost all HEIs struggle with closing long-established but underperforming programs and to replace them with new and better ones. Internal ecosystems can also be slow to adapt to new priorities and solutions.

Equally challenging is navigating the digital environment. Modes of delivery are changing rapidly to meet learner expectations. HEIs need to be clear on their strategy for blended, hybrid and online learning. They also need to make sense of the technology available to manage the participant life cycle from initial enrolment through to life-long learning. The transition to online learning and technological evolution can be daunting, requiring substantial change and investment while continuing to manage existing priorities and pressures.

Why Work with XOLAS

At XOLAS, we work in partnership with our clients to help realize their institutional goals, ensuring that they remain agile, innovative and successful. We provide in-depth guidance and support to facilitate institutional development, whether to enable the successful transition to online learning or to support the evolution of a client’s program portfolio to ensure it has the ideal product mix in place to achieve stakeholder needs.

We leverage both experience and best practice along with leading market insights to support clients in evaluating available options and choices to meet organizational objectives. Crucially, we support clients in understanding the impact of their decisions while providing guidance and support on implementation.

Our Services

We provide clients with a comprehensive advisory service portfolio. The XOLAS team supports decision-making by leveraging facilitated discussions, ideation, and market intelligence to develop program portfolio & technology strategies and facilitate their operational execution. We are especially experienced in delivering the following services:

Portfolio Strategy
  • Robust data-driven assessment of the client’s program portfolio to identify current strengths and weaknesses and to assess potential growth options within the current provision, including the integration of online and blended programs and delivery pathways.
  • ‘Health check’ of the client’s intake pipeline to identify improvement opportunities re. the achievement of revenue and quality targets.
  • Development of new programs and product offerings, backed up by market analysis and an evaluation of the competitive landscape, to ensure the achievement of growth objectives and the maintenance of relevance.
  • Evaluation of current organizational structure(s) to identify how teams can be better aligned to achieve academic, financial and operational priorities.

Access further details here.

Technology Services
  • Strategy development to launch and manage online and blended programs, including an evaluation of the client’s current technology ecosystem and an assessment of platform options.
  • Selection of technology for delivery of blended and online programs, with associated business case development.
  • Planning and development of online programs in for-degree and executive education, either in-house or with external partners (e.g., online program managers), including the development of appropriate role descriptions and sequencing of hires.
  • Evaluation of the client’s current technology for participant life cycle management, development of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and selection of technology partners.
Program Improvement
  • Individual workshops with faculty on learning design and on how to integrate instructional technologies to improve learner engagement.
  • Optimization of programs and courses through our Teaching Innovation Workshop Series for faculty.
Professional Doctorates
  • Comprehensive advisory to facilitate the designing and launching of a professional doctorate program (typically labelled Doctor of Business Administration or DBA).
  • Support at critical junctures of an existing program such as restructuring and transformation initiatives across boundaries, expansion of the global footprint by adding dual-degree features, or the pursuit of international accreditation for enhancing quality assurance and gaining competitive advantage.
  • Search for international partners, vetting candidates, negotiation of partnership agreements for exchange, dual or joint degrees in addition to home and national scale development.
  • Tailor-made service, for example in the front end of DBA operations, to set up processes, onboard new program director/management and to help clients launch their inaugural cohort.

Your experts

Please send your inquiries to portfolio.tech@xol.as

Nick Barniville

Nick Barniville

Co-Leader of the XOLAS Portfolio & Technology Practice

Gareth Howells

Gareth Howells

Co-Leader of the XOLAS Portfolio & Technology Practice