To better understand this environment, a SWOT analysis is conducted to identify KREN’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis will help also to identify KREN’s potential partners.
The results of the SWOT analysis are the main guiding principles of the business plan in terms of capacity planning. Certainly, the real environment and capacities built since the beginning of the KODE project were also considered.
Human resources and the range of KREN services for its community are intertwined and interdependent in both directions and both are key factors that will determine the future and success of KREN.
One of the KREN’s key strengths is that it is a new organization and stakeholder in the arena and as such has a clean start, with a clear vision and mission. AS KREN is a new stakeholder, it doesn’t step on anybody’s territory, as it is filling-in a gap that exists in Kosovo’s R&D environment, and as such brings added value to all interested stakeholders and potential partners.
Given that the initial KREN operations are financed through the KODE Project, its finances are ensured for at least 3 year period, so there is enough time for transition into an organization and work on obtaining additional funding, i.e. including KREN into international projects that can provide funding for KREN operations and including it into Kosovo’s Government funding schemes.
With the establishment of KREN, international organizations in the field of international R&D networking finally have a partner in Kosovo to talk to. KREN’s wide scope of work is a plus in that direction. At the same time, domestic organizations can recognise that KREN is working for the common good in Kosovo.
Once the partnerships are established, KREN will immediately gain access to knowledge and technology that it can offer as a service to its users. In that way, from the beginning KREN will position itself as a hub for innovation in Kosovo.
This opens another KREN strength/opportunity, it has no competition to fill the gap and introduce the services it plans to provide to its users.
Although KREN’s initial finances are provided for, it will have to obtain additional financing opportunities in order to become self-sustainable. To achieve that, a lot of resources and energy will be spent, so at the same time it is going to be one of KREN’s principal weaknesses.
KREN has no staff/employees at the time, so staffing is another challenge in front of KREN. Government wages are often not competitive to the private sector, which is clearly a minus.
Transition from project into an organization is a complex process that would accompany many changes on the way, and as such brings unknown threats, which at this point represent a weakness for KREN.
An ambitious plan for the establishment of KREN may bring a wide range of action in a short time period with limited staff that will affect their focus and will represent a challenge for focusing on optimization and priorities. This may result in loss of employee motivation and focus, and potential burnout.
As Kosovo is a non-EU member state, and its international status is still not completely defined, this will represent an obstacle in initial introduction of a key service for KREN – establishment of a national identity federation and joining eduroam, and an obstacle to join international projects and associations on an equal partner basis.
Lack of experience in applying for and participating in EU projects is clearly a weakness.
As mentioned before in the strengths, KREN has no competition to fill the gap and introduce the services it plans to provide to its users. This is clearly an opportunity for KREN to become recognisable and visible as a brand in the public and R&D institutions, among its users and in the general population, as well as among partners and other industry stakeholders.
KREN has a unique opportunity to implement its mission and empower digital transformation in the research and education community in Kosovo, foster innovation and develop and introduce advanced infrastructure and services.
As such, KREN will be in the position to influence or lead strategic processes in Kosovo, as is obtaining top level national domain and introducing R&D and educational identity federation in Kosovo.
Having a clean start enables KREN to join international associations and projects and become visible as Kosovo ‘s representative in them, as well as to cooperate with similar organizations (NRENs) and share/obtain their help, counsel and expertise.
Once the international status of Kosovo is resolved, KREN will have access to more different international funding lines, primarily EU funding lines.
KREN will have the opportunity to hire motivated employees if the selection process is not influenced by politics and to offer them better benefits if other preconditions are met.
KREN will also be in the position to listen to users’ needs and adapt to them.
A large amount of simultaneous changes in the KREN’s environment can represent a threat for successful operation of KREN activities and business plans. These may come from users, stakeholders, international environment, market situation, politics, even health hazards.
There is always a threat that KREN will have insufficient finances to run its operations and pay its staff. This may come from lack of support from relevant bodies in charge for KREN and KREN’s budget and may downsize KREN’s operations or implementation of projects and activities, as well as shut-down of some services and letting-off staff.
Inability to comply with international regulations due to the international position of Kosovo may result in inability to introduce key services for its users, if no bypass solutions are found. One of those real threats is implementation of eduroam.
As KREN has to be a flagship in the introduction of new technologies, and no R&D lab is envisioned in KREN, lack of employable professionals in the market might represent a threat.
As a mainly government agency, KREN will be obliged to follow public procurement regulations for public bodies, which can be challenging in the participation in international projects regarding deadlines, but even in the domestic field in obtaining new or renewing old or replacing malfunctioning equipment.
Without a firm financing pipeline, job security of KREN staff is also in question.