Real operational outcomes

Here are some examples of the many initiatives in which shared UniForum data and insights have been used to make informed choices that produce tangible benefits.

Transforming service delivery model from end-to-end

By engaging in UniForum studies into the service delivery models used for HR and Finance services, one University identified significant opportunities to improve the efficiency and quality of their services by transforming, from end-to-end, the way in which these services were organised and delivered.

During the implementation the activity data set was used to:

  • Identify people inside and outside of the service division who were involved in supporting a range of services.
  • Quantify the extent to which the activities were major or minor parts of their role.
  • Determine what other services they supported and the impact on these of different restructure options.

Another University found that the central service provider accounted for less than 50% of the end-to-end cost for that service. The UniForum data provided the means to engage all stakeholders in the choices available to them on how to address the end-to-end cost, reduce duplication of effort and allocate the budgetary benefits of improvements in end-to-end service efficiency.

A third University used the UniForum data to weigh the pros and cons of delivering services within each academic division versus delivery across multiple academic divisions. The ability to profile who would be impacted by proposed changes meant informed decisions could be made about the best implementation approach.

Making the case for investment in transactional process automation projects

One University stopped investing in a process automation project due to other priorities. That project was reactivated when University management saw, via a UniForum study:

  • The level of resourcing assigned to manual activities caused by lack of automation.
  • The incremental costs this represented.
  • The benefits to service effectiveness if processes were redesigned and appropriate systems were implemented to support the more automated processes.

The University has subsequently used the annual updated service operations benchmarking data to track the realisation of benefits from their automation investment.

Skills upgrade

For one member University, a review of activity data highlighted that three quarters of the capacity delivering a service spent less than one day a week supporting that service. This situation had caused inconsistent use of University-provided tools and procedures, highly variable outcomes, high turnover and major training challenges.

With these insights, the University started implementing a substantial change in service delivery model to enable a long-term shift towards higher skilled professionals, a stronger focus on their capacity to support value-add services, and the means to provide their skilled professionals with broader career path options.

Overcoming resistance to change

One University, in the midst of transforming a service and facing significant resistance to the changes, found through a UniForum study that others had successfully implemented the same changes and were achieving higher acceptance for their service. This knowledge gave management confidence in the strategy they had chosen.

UniForum’s collaborative studies also provided valuable insight from those with mature, post-transformation processes about the choices they made, and the most effective implementation pathways.

Retargeting of cost reduction effort

Helping senior university management make well informed decisions is a critical focus for UniForum

One member University implemented a major reversal in an efficiency improvement programme after benchmarked UniForum data showed that their relatively high support costs were not the result of overstaffing, but were instead due to a more complex set of factors, including the overall seniority of staff deployed to delivery services.

Continuous improvement of services

All members find the annual operations benchmarking data a valuable resource to inform annual budget discussions and to monitor the impact of continuous improvement projects for a group of activities from one year to the next.