A recent TimesHigher article exposed concern over the financial health of UK universities. Andrew McConnell, BUFDG chair is quoted as saying ‘There aren’t many areas of our income that won’t be of concern at the moment. You can look at every category and say there’s an issue here that needs to be addressed in the next 12 months.’
Universities are facing such fundamental challenges, rare the senior manager who isn’t taking a closer look at the efficiency of their operations. But having invested in management, technology and systems integration for a number of years, JISC is well placed to offer support.
This week, JISC presented at BUFDG’s annual conference, emphasising the need to integrate business systems to inform decision making and help reduce costs. At JISC we are realistic about the effort and expertise required to enable the sector to cope with current challenges and opportunities. Our approach is to create useful, useable and used resources to help with these processes. A JISC pilot at the University of Nottingham, for example, showed that the introduction of a new system to manage student case records would recoup the initial investment costs during its third year of implementation and would thereafter save the university a little over £4,500 per annum.
It’s not all about spending money to save money. We also recently funded a further education college in Hertfordshire to investigate whether operating certain finance functions and activities through a shared service might be practical. In fact, it did not result in a shared or outsourced ICT service, but the review, re-design and streamlining of key finance admin processes resulted in efficiency savings of £120k through a reduction in headcount within six months. See a full list of this and related pilots here.
If you’re particularly interested and want to learn more about systems integration, JISC has funded a growing number of UK universities to explore and exploit approaches in ‘Enterprise Architecture’. With senior management support, the Enterprise Architectures approach enables consistency between business processes and all aspect of the technology architecture – information, applications, services, data, infrastructure and security.
Indeed there are already a significant number of UK universities exploring and exploiting a range of JISC’s management toolkits to positive effect. And that’s why you might take a closer look at some of the JISC resources readily available to support your decision making.
Our business intelligence infokit helps you understand your institutional environment and target limited resources to better effect.
JISC resources on administrative systems can help you take a strategic approach to improving existing systems through to planning new integrated information technology systems.
Our strategic scenario planning tool guides you through flexible long term plans.
Keep in touch with JISC, sign up for our strategic alert for senior managers.