PIPaL: JISC BCE at Loughborough

3.2 Higher and Further Education Context

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HEFCE and hence JISC have a particular interest in Relationship Management systems as a technology to facilitate greater business and community engagement involving higher education institutions.  This is illustrated very effectively in the following slide from a talk by Sarah Porter from the JISC Executive[1]

Although the nature and complexity of these relationships vary, some key drivers for change were identified by our stakeholder group at Loughborough:

  • Increase research or consultancy income through direct income and grants
  • Maximise opportunities from existing and new partners
  • Add value to prospective and existing partners’ experiences
  • Increase managed relationships in areas such as Alumni
  • Improve internal operational efficiency in managing prospective and existing partners
  • Improve internal collaboration
  • Improve the availability, accuracy and timeliness of management information
  • Improve the availability, accuracy and timeliness of HESA reporting data for business and community engagement (HE-BCI survey)

The stakeholder group identified high level requirements as shown below.

Enterprise Office:

  • Improve the partner experience
  • Ensure that the wide requirements of individual partners are responded to
  • Develop more account management for major partners
  • Improve information recording and availability for management information.

Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO):

  • Expand relationships to current and retired staff, students, and contacts through student placements, internships, short courses and sports sponsorship

Marketing and Communications:

  • Improve relationship and expertise information through more sharing and co-ordination

Vice Chancellor’s Office:

  • Make accurate and timely contact and management information available for major partners

The above could be taken to imply that there is little or no role for the academic in this process.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.

As has been observed above, Academics are key to partner relationships, and typically the instigators of the relationship.  This happens either directly through initial contacts from potential partners, or as a byproduct of building up a reputation for expertise in a particular field or subject area.

In order to gain Academics’ commitment and involvement, the benefits, level of effort required, and timescales for benefit realization must be clear.  Initial discussions identified increased external business activities and revenue, improved information sharing allowing more promotion of academic profiles and capability, increased kudos and recognition for academic works.  As academics are frequently the earliest source of up to date partner information the case for academic buy-in needs to be established early.

It should be noted that other stakeholders were identified in our stakeholder discussions, such as imago, Loughborough’s conference and hospitality arm.  It was also commented upon by members of the stakeholder group that there is little information available at present from the partner’s perspective.  A clear understanding of partner needs and relationship value would be helpful in informing the further development of the University’s strategy in this area.

The following diagram illustrates the multi-facetted nature of partner relationships at Loughborough, based on the feedback from our stakeholders:


[1] http://www.jisc-collections.ac.uk/media/documents/themes/bce/bceevent0607porter.pdf

Written by Martin Hamilton

September 4, 2010 at 8:17 am

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