Making core administrative systems more cost effective
At a time of severe budget cuts, it’s more important than ever for institutions to maximise the potential of their existing core administrative systems and data.
Information and communication technology (ICT) systems must be well-aligned to business processes, work together efficiently and address users’ needs. Organisations can take a number of different approaches and technologies to increase the efficiency of their existing systems.
Our advice and guidance can help you take a strategic approach to planning new integrated IT systems. We can also help you take measures to improve existing systems, where a total re-design isn’t feasible.
- A first step is to identify what you need to change to increase efficiency. Our Taking a holistic approach infoKit takes an ‘enterprise architecture’ approach to help you identify your options. See also Strategies for agile institutions.
- When new IT systems are implemented alongside the old, the two often don’t ‘speak the same language’: data becomes impossible to share and staff time is wasted on re-keying data. We’re supporting a service-oriented approach to resolving this problem: data from one system is offered as a service which any other system can consume. We’ve produced an infoKit Getting more from existing investments to help you apply service-oriented and other approaches to your existing systems.
- By enabling your systems to work well together, you are providing your organisation with accurate and up-to-date information on which to base decisions. See also Develop business intelligence to improve your strategic planning.
- It’s important to look at user needs, not just system constraints, when planning ways of making current systems work better together. We supported the University of Derby to improve the student application and registration process by putting users at the centre of service design and process improvements.
- We’ve supported work to improve many different administrative processes. For example, timetabling and resource scheduling depend heavily on accurate information about many other aspects of institutional management such as staff and student records and estates planning. Our work has shown how digital technologies can support process improvements.
What does the future hold?
We will continue to support universities and colleges to develop best practise in their administration systems and provide guidance and tools that enable a strategic approach to this work.
Support from JISC Services
We are supporting universities and colleges to find innovative ways of using ICT to improve administrative and management systems by creating new software, investigating new ways of working or applying established systems in an innovative way. Conversely, we have also identified where technology adoption does not lead to cost savings, preventing potentially wasteful investment.
For instance, we:
- fund JISC Procureweb (PDF) which enables institutions to save money through efficient procurement and was estimated to have saved the sector £1,350,000 in 2008/09
- enabled the University of Lincoln to successfully manage a project to replace its ageing student records and curriculum systems with a single, integrated solution leading to reduced support costs and improved business processes
- helped Liverpool John Moores University apply an Enterprise Architecture framework (PDF) to their future planning work, allowing them to identify and eliminate duplicated business systems
- identified, through an investigation in 1999, that deploying smart card technology (PDF) in higher education would be ineffective, expensive and insecure. The report's findings enabled institutions to avoid costly investment into an immature technology
- produced a toolkit (PDF) and accompanying workshops to help institutions carry out rigorous cost benefit analysis on completed and proposed ICT investments (PDF)