Within the framework of a focusing strategy, an OLMS system is laid out to a specific area or set of e-services, in which the organization attempts to achieve a leading position within its field. This form of strategy allows to gain efficiency or differentiation advantages. A focusing strategy can make sense in complex and innovative environments if the core competencies of the organization facilitate a leading position in the corresponding value stage.
This strategic option may thus, for instance, be viewed as a transitional step for public authorities that just started off with their e-government system and quickly want to address specific stakeholder needs to generate e-service traffic on their servers. This strategy is used by many Internet enterprises during their initial phases.
Integration strategies—in contrast to focusing strategies—target to expand the e-service range. This can be pursued through the independent—in-house, outsourced, or a mix of both—development of new services (internal expansion) or acquisition of existing providers or suppliers (external expansion).
This strategic option may be used to exploit an organization’s existing core competencies and to reduce its dependency from other providers. In the case of e-government, integration strategies mainly deal with horizontal integration, expanding their e-service range across different administrative subjects. Currently, a massive development and expansion of offered public e-services from various private and public providers can be seen.
Besides these convincing chances, network strategies also carry risks, such as losing know-how, free-riding of partners, or unpredictable behavior of competing organizations. Apart from that, networks do tend to be unstable, which may lead to uncertainty among the organizations involved and may complicate collaboration and cooperation between the partners in the long-run.
Besides focusing and integration strategies, network strategies are an additional strategic option. The underlying principle of networking strategies is the formation of two or more organizations that cooperatively work together on a specific service or process. These forms can be observed on horizontal, vertical, and lateral levels. Organizations that cooperate on a horizontal level are called strategic alliances, whereas vertical or lateral orientated cooperations are labeled strategic networks.
Network strategies allow organizations to benefit from both focusing and integration strategies. First, because the different network partners can concentrate on, develop, and bring in their core competencies and second, because the network structure supports the integration of skilled, highly specialized service providers. Moreover, network strategies enable organizations to better keep up with the increasing innovation rate since service or product development can be shouldered by various partners.