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Driving value from business change in HE
Investing in up-to-date facilities and undertaking a business culture transformation could support UK universities in a number of ways. Not only can it help to maintain profitability, but it could also mitigate the impact of Brexit on overseas applications. However, the disparate nature of many institutions and difficulties in accessing funding can make business transformation challenging for the sector.
Here are five steps to drive effective business change. They will help gain the support of the entire university community and keep costs under control:
Outline business change objectives
To ensure large-scale transformation projects run smoothly, it’s essential to map out key drivers for the programme at an early stage. Undertaking a gap analysis will enable universities to consider the current outputs and actions needed to improve efficiencies. By doing this, comparisons with competitor institutions can be made.
Rather than attempting to handle all areas of a change project at once, institutions should divide it into specific areas. This will enable them to prioritise changes which offer the best return on investment. They can then focus on these first. For example, streamlining the supply chain can have a rapid and significant impact across different stakeholder groups
Evaluate processes and systems
Technological innovations across the sector are developing at a rapid pace. As a result, HE institutions should waste no time in a thoroughly reviewing their processes and systems. This will allow any improvements to be included in the business transformation programme. It will also help to drive efficiencies across the project.
Create a communications plan
People experience business change in different ways. For this reason, it’s important that the communications plan for large projects considers the need to communicate to a variety of stakeholders. This should be done using a range of different channels. Including an FAQ section or site can prove a useful way of anticipating stakeholders’ likely questions. It also provides them with the information they need.
Ensuring stakeholders are onboard with business changes is crucial. A successful communications plan, using honest and consistent messaging, will help win trust.
Consider external reputation
Reputation is crucial for HE institutions. Therefore it’s vital that they give thought to communicating change externally and maintaining a positive public image. During this process, universities should ensure that their external messaging aligns with what has been communicated to internal stakeholders.
Three key steps to navigating the politics of change
Business politics can be one of the main challenges when looking to drive successful business change. However, the careful navigation of internal politics is a factor that is often overlooked.
Here are three ways that effective change can be achieved while ensuring that political sensitivities are managed:
When faced with change, the natural reaction of most people is to consider the personal impact this will have on them. A good change programme should consider the implications of the suggested approach for each employee. Consequently it should offer support mechanisms right from the very beginning.
In turn, this will also make it easier to anticipate and mitigate any setbacks. By building in buffer time and creating a communications strategy you are able to pre-empt any issues.
2. Map out stakeholder groups
While focus is usually placed on senior stakeholders, influencers are in fact often spread across the business and may be found in many different positions. By mapping out stakeholder groups at an early stage in the change programme, it becomes far easier to determine who the true influencers are within an organisation. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by spending time with employees and gaining a better understanding of the workforce and its dynamics.
3. Review the reasons behind resistance
It can be easy to dismiss resistance as defiance when coordinating a transformation programme. However, it is important to consider whether there is an underlying reason for this behaviour. Different people have different worries and similarly respond to different methods of communication.
As such, thought should be given to how the change process can be organised. This will ensure that it reflects the needs of the majority of employees. By adopting this approach from the start, change managers can help businesses to avoid costly and time-consuming resistance throughout the project.
Five things to remember during a tender process
Avoiding disruptions to daily business processes when putting IT or other third-party services out to tender can be difficult. It’s vital that the right provider is chosen and that changes are communicated as early as possible. But how can this be done effectively?
Here are the five things that will make your tender process as seamless as possible.
Clarity is key when putting services out to tender. Businesses should start by clearly defining the scope of their requirements. This will ensure that the third-party provider understands what is expected of them. Once this is achieved, it’s easier to gain an understanding of cost expectations and which suppliers the business should be targeting.
Find the perfect match
It’s important to assess potential service providers by their:
- Track record
Discovering whether they have experience in the relevant field and if there is a good culture fit is often a good place to start.
Compare cost and quality
Scoring potential providers against their responses to the tender requirements can help establish value for money. At this point, it’s also worth checking whether there’s scope for contract flexibility. In the long run this can save precious time and money as business requirements develop.
The smooth onboarding of a new provider requires excellent communication. Developing a comprehensive internal communications plan keeps the current workforce up to date. However, it’s also important to ensure that third parties are making use of similar technologies. Subsequently doing this can have a huge impact on communications between the organisation and the provider as the project progresses.
Acknowledge it will not be an isolated change
Although external providers may be introduced for one specific reason, there will always be wider changes to be made. Consequently this often creates a snowball effect, with one change triggering the need for others. Being prepared for any extra alterations is an important in keeping the tender process seamless.
Smoothing the transition: A modern approach to HR solutions
Employee self-service (ESS) is dramatically changing the world of HR. But for those organisations that are still using entirely manual processes, a digital transformation can seem like a daunting prospect. So why should businesses make the change and what are the benefits?
What is ESS?
ESS is software that enables employees to carry out their own HR processes via an online portal or app. These processes can include:
- Checking and updating personal information
- Booking leave
- Reporting absence
- Claiming overtime and expenses
- Coordinating appraisals
Why is it so beneficial for employees?
A self-service model can dramatically speed up processes and optimise efficiencies. For instance, leave can be requested and approved online, meaning staff can work remotely and don’t have to be in the office. By including payroll information, employees can access key documents and the business doesn’t have to print and send paper copies.
And for the business?
By giving managers greater visibility of data, self-service can promote stronger ownership of data, and more proactive management, while also creating an audit trail. This could prove crucial when it comes to compliance with equal opportunities and gender pay laws.
A transformation to self-service could also provide business leaders with the opportunity and motivation to update and streamline policies and data. For example, employee contracts may have different terms and conditions depending on the date they joined the organisation. Taking the chance to review inconsistencies such as these could help to highlight and eliminate these discrepancies.
How to prepare for ESS implementation
Any change can be met with resistance from some individuals, especially where this can involve more visibility and accountability of sensitive HR and payroll information. It is crucial for any businesses undertaking a transformation to factor time into the project to allow for planning, communication and both employee and manager training.
Switching from manual processes to an ESS model may seem like an intimidating task. However, it is increasingly important for businesses to embrace digital innovations, to remain ahead of the curve and stay competitive. In turn they may also unlocking a host of internal benefits, from more efficient and proactive processes to buoyed employee morale.
For more information, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi, Tamara Pleasant or another member of the team.
Airports get to the front of queue management
Long queues at UK airports have recently made headlines, with a Which? report finding that around 1.3 million passengers suffered delays of at least 3 hours in the 12 months to June 2018.
With the increase in low-cost flights having led to more passengers at terminals, this trend is only expected to escalate. Operational and systematic changes will need to be put in place before more long-term problems are caused. But how can this be achieved?
Undertake accurate forecasting
Capacity forecasts can inform which changes should be at the top of the agenda and whether planned investments still make commercial sense. For instance, if passenger numbers are projected to drop, delaying more capital-intensive work may be a shrewd move. A capacity planning team should be implemented to oversee this, as well as to monitor performance and drive change.
Implement a PMO
Establishing a project management office (PMO) can add real value. It provides board members and decision makers with overarching visibility across the project pipeline, guaranteeing that work is being undertaken in the optimal order. In helping to establish where the passenger journey can be improved, a PMO can inform budgets and ongoing strategic decisions.
Consider external transport
A passenger’s journey actually begins at connecting transport interchanges, such as rail, bus or car. Wider transport issues are often caused by seasonal changes and national holidays. They can have serious knock-on impacts on passenger numbers and delays. Therefore it’s important to be aware of these and communicate expected issues ahead of time.
Balance the queues
Airport managers should aim to make wait times as balanced as possible. Simply pushing queues from one place to another should be avoided. A 10-minute queue at check-in and another 10-minute queue at security is likely to be preferable to one 20-minute wait at security.
Communicate effectively with staff
Airport staff often cite a lack of internal communication as their biggest problem. However, it can also seriously affect passenger experience. Subsequently, airports around the UK have begun to trial a system that communicates real-time information to its staff and contractors. In doing so they are able to keep passengers aware of any issues and reduce frustrations.
For more information or to discuss airport management solutions further, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi, Matthew Garrett or another member of our team.
Why a data warehouse is crucial for your law firm
Consolidation is a trend within the legal sector that shows no signs of slowing. Indeed mergers and acquisitions (M&As) allow law firms to reap the benefits of economies of scale, expand their areas of expertise and access a larger pool of talent.
However, firms should be wary of unintended consequences. With information spread across various platforms, M&As can reduce the visibility of internal data. This makes it difficult to identify potential risks and opportunities. To avoid this, it is essential that firms implement a consolidated data management approach. At the heart of this sits a centralised ‘data warehouse’, acting as the hub for all internal data and business reporting.
Why is a data warehouse vital?
Using multiple platforms to store off-system data is not just a drain on manual resources. It can also reduce the accuracy of information – which can quickly become outdated or fall foul of GDPR legislation.
A data warehouse can help firms to avoid these pitfalls. Manual processes can be reduced, the data can be made more accessible and a ‘single source of truth’ can be established. What sits behind this is one central platform, which incorporates automated feeds from different business systems.
The ability to build dashboards and reports also supports strategic planning across key sectors. This level of analysis enables decision-makers to thoroughly inspect particular areas.
How to implement it
There are number of questions that need to be considered when choosing the most appropriate IT platform for a data warehouse:
- Who requires access to data?
- Which area of the business do they work in?
- Which systems will they need in order to source the data?
Firms may need to transfer off-system data to new applications or remove redundant systems. Similarly data cleansing or classification may be needed. Assigning responsibility to a member of internal staff to oversee the entire project can also speed up project delivery and boost the chances of success.
Before you begin…
Firstly, it is vital that law firms seek out the right professional advice. This can be sourced both from specialists and by utilising ‘blended teams’ who can assist the firm’s team to increase the efficiency of the project. With support from a variety of advisors, law firms can make sure their data warehouse implementation is a success.
To discuss data centralisation strategies and discover how your business can benefit, please contact Peter Mardsen or another member of our team.
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