The purpose of this inquiry is to shape conceptual tools to understand the impact of new information and communication technologies on the organisation of universities. Digital media form a new symbolic layer, based on digital code, which distinguishes them from older forms of information technologies, like language, script, print, or broadcasting. They create new communicative forms, which affect all three key functions of the university: the creation of knowledge (research), the dissemination of knowledge (education) and the preservation of knowledge (publishing and archiving) and potentially influence all academic activities. This is especially obvious with regard to knowledge resources: scholarly publications become digitised, course materials gain increased importance and academic software constitutes an entirely new form of academic knowledge representation. As a complementary element to interaction in learning arrangements, course materials are increasingly shared and offer new occasions for exchange and collaboration among scholars. To get a holistic view on the individual institution, I suggest a conceptual framework of six dimensions to describe the organisational use of digital media. Three of them (product, content, market) focus on external relations, three of them (personnel, organisation, market) on the internal relations of a university. This concept is used for an organisational case study at Klagenfurt University during the development of an institutional eLearning strategy. To understand the dynamic development of universities in building up their capacities, I distinguish three types of competences necessary for the development of effective eLearning practices: pedagogical, technical and organisational competences. Since they come in different, consecutive layers, it becomes possible to better describe the difficulties of universities to continually improve their capacities. Universities have to make adequate use of the new communicative options provided by digital media to empower their faculty members and their students for active participation in the digital network society. If technologies are just put on existing structures, they cause increased costs for the institution and additional pressure for the individual teacher. Rather, universities have to continuously develop their pedagogical and organisational capacities in order to make appropriate use of technical innovations.