We have experience of supporting merging colleges, enabling them to successfully address strategic and IT issues associated with merging and to make the most of digital solutions to other opportunities and challenges that merging raises.
If you are embarking on a merger, our practical support, expert assistance and specialist consultancy is available to you through a package tailored to your needs.
Included advice and practical support
As part of your Jisc subscription, we’ll work with and support merger working groups within your college(s) to get a shared understanding of what you believe the future needs to look like in your specific area, both in terms of the strategic direction and the systems and services required to achieve it.
Through a combination of analytical tools, site visits and facilitated meetings, we’ll help you develop a clear understanding of your aims and ambitions, combined with an impartial analysis of where you and your partners are now.
We’ll provide a report that provides a set of key improvement or action points based on an analysis of your current infrastructure alongside a Jisc response including details of how to address each point. We’ll also work with you to understand exactly what your current digital strengths are and where the opportunities are for improvement.
We’ll then work with you to develop an outline business case indicating how digital technologies will support the aims of the merged college and identify associated costs and interdependencies with any other projects.
You and those leading, or directly affected by, merger projects will have opportunities to share experiences, learn lessons and benefit from peer support. Each quarter you will be offered a number of places for a webinar open to all colleges we are supporting through a merger process.
Focusing on a different theme each time, the webinars are facilitated by the Jisc team, and include contributions from Jisc experts and sector peers.
Bespoke consultancy support
Additional support can include:
IT skills audit
The merged organisation will require a blend of IT skills across your workforce to both successfully complete the merger process and to achieve your agreed strategic vision for the new college.
Our experts can advise and support you by assessing current staff resources and their IT skills and comparing these with the requirements of the merged organisation and responsibilities for those you will be supporting. Our findings will include identification of any key weaknesses or vulnerabilities (eg over-reliance on skills contained within a single member of staff) in addition to recommendations for skills improvement and rebalancing; thereby reducing risk and increasing resilience.
Ensuring readiness for digital practice
Support for building cultural readiness for digital practice is delivered through two facilitated or co-delivered workshops that identify aspirations, establishes guiding principles, and develops approaches to stakeholder engagement. The workshops are aimed at senior managers and explore the drivers for digital transformation, the requirements of the technologies to support that transformation, and how building digital capability can develop a culture of innovation.
The focus of the workshops is to develop a recognition of how stakeholders' knowledge and experience in their fields can be channelled towards the organisational vision, and how enabling and empowering staff spreads the objective ownership load.
Embedding technology at the organisational level
Embedding technology at the organisational level supports leaders who have already made good progress in applying digital practice to teaching, learning and assessment. However, as students increasingly seek more flexible learning programmes leaders tell us they want to be able to upscale digital practice across programme areas.
A facilitated workshop will take participants through the considerations needed in drawing together processes such as, workforce development, quality and performance management to support the embedding of the principles of digital capability into all aspects of programme delivery.
Project planning support
Our strategy and business process experts can support and guide you through constructing a fit for purpose, achievable and costed project plan to ensure the successful merger of the partner colleges in line with your agreed objectives.
This support can include:
- Meeting with merger working groups to agree work streams, their scope, deliverables, milestones and risks
- Assisting in decisions regarding prioritisation and critical path analysis
- Providing project management workshops to ensure all affected staff have a shared base knowledge of project management theory and techniques in order to work consistently and effectively
Critical friend and implementation support
And we can be there throughout the merger process too. Merging colleges often require additional support to help implement specific aspects of the proposed merger.
Members of our team can be alongside you as a ‘critical friend’ providing guidance, and acting as a sounding board for decision-makers and project staff. Or, we can make specialists available to you as additional ‘on the ground’ resource to help undertake discreet project tasks.