Sharing Services in Higher Education
It’s not just the recent government announcement regarding the regulations on VAT that makes it attractive for Universities and other Higher Education Institutions to share services. The underlying objectives of reducing cost, whilst at the same time improving services can both be realised when entering a shared services agreement but the key principle that institutions need to grasp is that unless processes are streamlined and improved first the savings from VAT might be lost through inefficiency.
Other areas of the public sector have been developing shared services models for some years so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Prior to entering any shared services agreement institutions need to follow the well tried route to success which involves removing complexity and simplifying the ways things are done now then standardising and implementing common systems, especially in IT.
However when considering the sharing of traditional back office services there are real benefits to be realised from the point of view of those who use or rely on the services.
The Student Life Cycle contains a degree of commonality whatever the institution, starting with enrolment, encompassing course administration, accommodation, graduation and finishing with alumni services. However students and prospective students now have much more efficient ways of communicating their views and experiences using social media and this allows comparisons to take place in real time. Combining this with the new Unistats web site gives those applying a broad view of their potential future institutions and this raises a fundamental issue.
As tuition fees have increased over the years prospective students have begun to discover the power of choice and also to look for ever sophisticated ways of deciding where they should spend their money. Their experience starts with the first contact, probably via a web site but they quickly engage with the administrative services of the institution and form a view before even setting foot in the place or meeting the academic staff.
It is vital that shared services in back office, administrative areas are focussed on delivering a better student experience as well as saving money.
ValueAdding.com has over 12 years of experience helping public sector institutions deliver better services whether through improvement, redesign or sharing; we help with building business cases as well as implementing new services.
Please contact Richard Coombes with questions or comments; we would be pleased to hear from you.