The usefulness of benchmarking in any instance is the accuracy, validity and consistency of the data collection. This may be achieved via remote collection of data but invariably requires people to be on-site to ensure all assumptive processes are removed and the final dataset is consistent with the framework being employed. Getting this right enables meaningful performance comparison across any number of public providers and on a huge range of characteristics.
Accurately identifying inefficiencies
The words and the backdrop may differ, but the sentiment is largely the same across the world’s Post Secondary Education (PSE) systems – find out which parts of the organisation are less efficient and address those inefficiencies.
Many OECD countries currently face falling domestic enrolments. Universities have been able to successfully prop their numbers up by looking to the international student market for a number of years, but there is increased concern about an unsustainable over-reliance on international students.
Post-secondary education systems regularly change as a result of new government policy, or the introduction of initiatives to tackle under-performance in student outcomes or financial terms.
There is no silver bullet Scotland’s colleges can use in the efficiency and performance improvement battle, but with careful, informed and accurate pulling of the right levers, the sector can be in good shape to meet the challenging targets being set.
As cloud spend in UK education is tipped to hit £125m by 2020/21, what are the reasons some leaders might not be quite so quick to jump on the adoption curve?
With cloud spending within UK education predicted to increase to £125m by 2020/21 some might be forgiven for thinking that moving to the cloud is an objective in itself. Fortunately, education leaders are seeing beyond the technological implementation side of things and focusing on the outcomes cloud brings about. And certainly, in UK education, there are 3 key strategic areas leaders are looking to address through cloud – flexibility/scalability, cost effectiveness/reduced capital expenditure, and efficiency/agility, which account for 68% of the drivers for cloud adoption .
Challenging the status quo is a fairly common practice for leaders in any sector, but one area that has remained relatively unchallenged in education is that of how traditionally back-office systems are deployed. Despite advances in cloud-based technology, on-premise has remained the dominant option, especially for student information systems. However, between 2015/16 and 2020/21 academic years, cloud spending within UK education is predicted to increase by nearly 70% from £74M to £125M  as leaders look to the cloud to help tackle their strategic challenges.
At the last gathering of Finance professionals at the AoC Winter Finance Conference, we heard Julian Gravatt comment that colleges might expect a relatively quiet year, following the completion of area reviews and a lack of dramatic announcements in the November Budget. The feeling was that colleges would be able to take stock and “get their houses in order”, and this sentiment is certainly one that we have been picking up from all our Benchmarking customers and college leaders who are coming to us to inform a more strategic approach to their college’s financial performance.
Topics: Further Education