Delivering Service Management Digitalisation within Higher Education

Higher Education Challenges
With the current pressures of tuition fees, student loans, demographic change, and intense competition for the best students, the need for Universities to effectively articulate the value of the offering has been sharply brought back into focus. In addition, Higher Education organisations are having to explore alternative ways to increase income, such as apprenticeship schemes and creating ‘enterprise hubs’ with office space and facilities being made available to commercial organisations. The latter also provides a potential career progression opportunity for students.

Providing support to faculty, staff and students both on and off campus is no small task. Campus boundaries are expanding with the growth of online classes, satellite campuses and international programs. Keeping technology up and running is more critical as books, lessons, schedules and grades move online. Because students use their personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets, implementing uniform technology guidelines is close to impossible.

Websites and intranets are rapidly losing ground as the primary point of digital content consumption, to be replaced by an evolving set of interconnected channels such as Facebook messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp and WeChat. If you consider these channels collectively, arguably they point to a shift away from ‘digital consumption of content and services’ towards ‘digital conversation supported by content’.

The most important aspect of a conversation is that it is personal and immediate. Implementing digital change, in the face of deep-seated barriers such as siloed systems and complex governance structures, is an entirely new challenge.

Siloed structures, must change to enable institutions to achieve the transformation digital can enable. (1)

Service Management Digitalisation
Our strategy is to help Higher Education organisations automate and digitalise services by delivering the best technology solutions, aligned to effective process and support by motivated, engaged people. To deliver this we’ve reviewed the market and partnered with the best technology providers.

Bright Horse has worked with local and globally recognised Higher Education organisations, listed within the top 10 UK Universities by QS World University Rankings 2018, to deliver service change through service automation.

For some this has simply meant adoption of lean and streamlined processes automated through our Service Management tooling solutions based on the Cherwell and Bomgar Technologies. Other successful examples include using the Cherwell platform to create a Student Registration system, Self Service portals or refining and automating a student accessible Service Request Catalogue.

By using Cherwell’s Social media integration capabilities, combined with Bomgar Remote Support tool integration, organisations can deliver improved levels of digital interaction and collaboration mentioned above.

In addition, as a Microsoft Certified Partner we can help Higher Education organisations with site to cloud migrations based on Office 365 and Azure. Improving productivity and Service Management by using cloud hosted solutions is the future we want to be part of with you.

Cultural Change at the heart of Digital Transformation
Key to success is not just the acknowledgement of strategies, policies, systems, tools and working practices and processes, but primarily of identifying desired attitudes and behaviours – and to eliminate those which are undesirable.

Changing the culture of any organisation requires strong and visionary leadership, a strong and cohesive management team and the buy in and support of the employees. Many organisations talk about the importance of good communication, yet still very few identify formal programmes of cultural change and improvement to support digital transformation initiatives.

The place to start is with internal attitudes to change, and how to embed a more collaborative attitude within an institutionalised culture. Get this right and technology becomes the easy bit.

For one recent University, a Service Management simulation event was delivered as part of the 2 day kick off workshop. This provided employees with a practical experience that enabled them to assimilate key learning points with a new way of working. The simulated environment allowed participants to be able to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” which drove improved communication and helped to break down operational silos – which in turn improved cross functional and technical working practices.

Lean Service Management Principles & Processes
In addition to Cultural Change another key success factor is well defined, effectively executed and automated processes. With years of experience in ITSM and the ITIL framework, across a wide range of industry sectors, we’ve worked with many clients who experience issues with process maturity.

Reviewing the maturity of processes includes a number of factors from the guiding principles, policies and documentation, review of activities, ownership and accountability, whether there are any bottlenecks and problem with approvals.

As well as the roles and responsibilities required to effectively manage the processes, we work through the process flows to identify issues which can then be addressed, whether they are developed from scratch, re-designed or enhanced to support your digitalisation initiative – eliminating waste, where waste is work that adds no value to a product or service.

Our passion for Higher Education
Bright Horse has a passion for bringing young people into the industry and, to support this, volunteer our time to a local University to teach Service Management principles, practices and methods on the 3rd year of their student computing degree programme. In addition, we provide mentoring for students on their projects as well as offering career guidance and general assistance in getting them ‘business ready’.

This partnership has evolved to a level where we are now looking to recruit some of the University’s top talent into our own organisation as we grow and expand – ensuring we continue to develop our consultants of the future. As we move in to 2018 a select few will be placed back in to the University as we build on our existing team of Consultants, some of which have been recruited from within the Higher Education sector, to establish a Centre of Excellence around our chosen Microsoft, Cherwell ITSM & Bomgar technologies.

(1) Credit: Paul Hoskins (Extract from “Branding for Universities in the Digital Age” article)

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