Answering strategic questions

UniForum focuses on helping Senior University Administrators answer strategic questions relating to university administration and support services.

Many of these questions are raised as a result of pressures on administrative and general services support budgets.

UniForum’s service operations benchmarking and collaborative studies help answer these questions, and give administrators the information necessary to make data-informed decisions when reshaping the support services organisation at their University.

The strategic questions cross a wide range of topics including:

Service delivery costs

  • Why is the ratio of support to academic staff higher at our University than at other Universities?
  • What is the correct ratio of academic staff to administrative staff, considering the levels of process automation and self-service administrative processes?
  • How does research activity or scale impact our cost structure?
  • What is the total end-to-end cost of delivering a service?
  • How efficient is our University in delivering support services from an end-to-end cost perspective and what has the most impact on efficiency?

Organisation design

  • How does structure impact workforce characteristics like specialisation and seniority…
  • …and how does it impact the effectiveness of the service?
  • Are we devolved from an end-to-end process resourcing perspective…
  • …and how much of that capacity is engaged by the academic units?
  • How do these factors impact the efficiency and effectiveness of support services at our University?

Key factors influencing organisation design

Investment priorities

  • What investments are likely to have the biggest impact on service efficiency and effectiveness?
  • What is the business case for investing in process automation?
  • Are we getting the expected benefits from our past investments?
  • Are we investing in infrastructure that allows us to grow revenue at lower support cost?

Process redesign

  • What are the implications of our process designs on the administrative workloads placed on academics?
  • How does our organisation structure and process design enable end-to-end oversight across key processes?
  • What are the service resourcing implications if our academic units are reorganised?

Financial management

  • How can we best create capacity in our budgets for the long-term investments we need to make?
  • What should our budget priorities be in relation to support services?
  • How do we build greater transparency into the services budgeting process?
  • How can we focus on end-to-end service delivery costs when they cross organisational boundaries?