This research asked the research question: what competencies and capabilities are required by HEIs engaging in e-learning? E-learning capabilities deployed in all of the cases studied in this research were a part of, or related to, existing capabilities. The findings also enable an analysis of e-learning competence. A competency is a capability performed relatively well, and confers competitive advantage. The study suggests that e-learning enables access to some student markets, and increases retention of students and student achievement, if this is the case then e-learning may well confer competitive advantage, and thus may well be a competence. Many of the interviewees believed that their organisation’s core competencies lay around teaching and learning, but some believed geographic location, distance learning skills, or research to be core competencies. However it is possible to argue that e-learning may provide core competences.