The UniForum benchmarking methodology and studies provides insights into your support service resourcing and costs not previously seen.

UniForum membership also enables you to share peer insights, make informed decisions, discover best practices, budget strategically, and optimise skill deployment, among many other benefits.

Deliver real operational outcomes

The insights generated by UniForum studies have produced a range of positive outcomes for member Universities. Visit our member outcomes page for some examples including:

  • Transforming the service delivery model from end-to-end.
  • Making the case for investment in transactional process automation projects.
  • Reshaping the organisational skills.
  • Overcoming resistance to change.
  • Retargeting of cost reduction effort.
  • Supporting the continuous improvement of services.

These are real-world outcomes that illustrate the value of participating in UniForum. Find out more ->

Discover best practices

The starting point for all studies is support service benchmark data collected across all UniForum members. The power in these studies is how the data is used to build deeper insight.

Studies using this diverse data set help members better understand what drives service resourcing and cost in their organisations, and how different choices impact these.

For example, the choice of service delivery model employed by the University directly impacts:

  • Support services staffing capacity and cost of this staffing.
  • The proportions of this capacity that are specialists versus generalists.
  • The portion that is part-time versus full-time.
  • The seniority distribution profile of the service resourcing.

Factors such as how the support services staffing capacity is organised across the University, the roles and decision rights of different stakeholders in the service, and the infrastructure provided to support the services all contribute to defining the Service Delivery Model for a service.

You can see some detailed examples of how these insights have led to positive member outcomes.

Make informed decisions

The unique character of each University means the right decisions for one institution may not be the right decisions for another. UniForum’s expert facilitators combine deep academic experience with years of corporate consulting experience to help the University Executive make informed decisions on these choices.

Our recommendations are shaped by these broader perspectives, but made in the context of each University’s situation and strategic focus.

Budget strategically

One of the most difficult choices the University Executive have to make in relation to Support Services is how to reshape the budget allocation for support services to different parts of the organisation.

Typically the discussion becomes one of “what budget decrease or increase should the central service division get”. This discussion ignores the fact that the central service division is only part of the cost structure from an end-to-end functional perspective.

These decisions are often made in the absence of data to help understand where the gaps are, in terms of service efficiency and effectiveness.

The UniForum methodology provides the University Executive with a framework and the necessary data to engage stakeholders in the end-to-end budget optimisation discussion.This enables a more strategic approach to budgeting, with stakeholders understanding what cost is within their control and what factors will have the greatest impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

Optimise skill deployment

An unintended consequence of some budget reshaping decisions can be in the resultant mix of skills and experience available to support services. Many universities have often unconsciously met their budget constraints by either employing more lower cost generalists or more specialised part-time staff to deliver services.

While this approach helps meet short-term budget targets, in the long term it has led to the embedding of inefficient service delivery models, and to compromises to the services available to the management of academic units.

Insights gained from UniForum studies enable Universities to make conscious choices about creating capacity in support services budgets to ensure the right skills are being employed in the right places.