The following diagrams from the JISC Self-Analysis Framework illustrate two different approaches to Relationship Management. The first is a traditional organization with a split between “front of house” and “back of house” activities:
The second is a modern organization which puts the customer at the centre of its processes:
This is the key to understanding Relationship Management – in order to understand and best exploit the relationships an organization has, it is necessary to create and then subsequently effectively curate a “database” of this information. In a traditional organization each unit would maintain its own independent database, with little or no information sharing – to the detriment of all those involved.
An approach to assess priorities for development is to examine strategy, business processes, partner groups and services delivered. It is important to establish the current situation, issues, potential benefits and the changes required together with the impact of those changes across the organization. These are the outputs of the JISC Self-Analysis Framework.
The chosen way forward, benefits and impact of change may differ by process and partner group – and the organizational units involved. The depth and breadth of relationships across the institution, particularly in relation to teaching and learning, can be complex and requires a detailed understanding of each area and also the unique characteristics of partners. For example:
- The partners’ wants, needs & values
- The partners’ view of the University & services
- The University’s view of the partner type
- How to develop this type of partnership
- The University’s wants and needs from this type of partnership and how to add value across the University, particularly to Academics
- How to measure the relationship and any improvements
- Touch points of this partner across the University
- Mapped communications & internal processes
- Defined and reviewed information requirements
- The University’s unified view and interaction with this partner type
- Defined changes, impact and risk
A particular challenge for those looking into this technology in the education sector is the choice of language typically used in off-the-shelf software and documentation. The language of “prospects”, “leads” and “sales” is still quite alien to most staff working in Higher Education. For this reason we have chosen to refer to Relationship Management in the report, and dropped the commonly used “Customer” prefix.