Whilst many services may be core across the institution there may be significant differences in take-up and it pays to understand who are the real users of the service.
In many cases the correlation may be a simple one based on staff and student numbers but variation from this, if it is the expected norm, can tell you many things. It may be that some customers over use a service because to them it appears, to all intents and purposes, to be “free”.
It may be that some customers under-use a service (this may particularly apply to aspects of technology-enhanced learning) because their practice is outdated, not aligned with the organisational strategy, and possibly inefficient or it may be that some customers require higher than anticipated levels of user support indicating development and training needs in a particular area in the interest of overall organisational efficiency.
It may also highlight which services are of most value to particular customers and hence which customers may be allies in terms of you bidding for extra resource for this service or indeed of them part-funding developments.
"First and foremost, staff learn that they are in business to produce products and services for customers, that customers decide what they’ll buy, and that they must please their customers to stay in business. In the planning process, staff define their product lines (service catalogues), and who their customers are for each."
"Getting buy in for ICT Investments in a highly devolved institution can be like swimming through treacle."
Anonymous CAA officer, English pre-1992 university, cited by Breslin and Cullen 2008
"There is no research base established when making decisions about ICT investments and strategies tend to focus on a system of patronage."
Anonymous ICT co-ordinator, English post-1992 university, cited by Breslin and Cullen 2008
"… in the spirit of customer focus, staff should never have to judge the merits of customers’ requests, or be positioned as an obstacle rather than an ally. With knowledge of the full cost of products and services, business leaders (not internal service providers) can make decisions about what to fund and what to cut."