Universities, colleges and other learning providers work with a range of partners and customers including students, alumni, businesses and local authorities. Managing these relationships effectively can earn your institution revenue, enhance your reputation and help to gain experience and knowledge.
What you can do
Review your current situation
Before implementing any new policies, procedures and systems, it is advisable to review your approach to relationships with business and the community. Once you've assessed how well you're doing at present, you can begin to take the steps needed to revise or develop your strategy.
Decide on an approach
Our handbook will take you through the stages necessary to achieve good practice including:
- developing your strategy - assessing how well you’re doing at present and building a business case for future investment
- putting your strategy into operation - how to achieve 'buy-in' and manage change
- practical implementation - new policies, procedures and systems.
Once you’re engaging strategically with external partners, you’ll need a way of managing relationships. It’s especially important if you have many partners, or if different people from different parts of your institution are likely to interact with the same partners. Our self-analysis framework will help you consider your approach to managing customer relations.
Can we apply this to our relationship with students?
Student relationship management is important when designing the high quality services that students, as paying customers, increasingly expect. However, our work has shown that many organisations are not making best use of their existing student information systems.
We also have advice on how to use student lifecycle relationship management to improve service design and therefore enhance their educational experience.
Students become alumni who can be influential stakeholders and ambassadors for your organisation. Our alumni engagement projects are exploring how the use of web technologies can benefit relationships with alumni.
What if external partners need access to our IT?
You may need to give external partners access to some of your digital resources. Our guide access for engagement outlines steps to make this possible.
How can I make a difference?
Our professional development tool for business and community engagement helps you manage the enterprise and collaboration aspects of your role. It includes a process framework, self-assessment tool and appropriate resources to support each professional attribute you would like to develop.
Ensure you know the law
Many legal issues can arise when you engage with external partners, such as how to manage intellectual property rights or personal data, or how to comply with rules on state aid. Jisc Legal has advice on these and other related issues.