Education & Research

IT benchmarking in education and research sectors

The world inside UK higher education, research institutions and academies is changing faster than one might imagine. New fee structures, cost models, changing demographics of students, sharing and consolidation are driving new funding models and the need for cost and quality control. The consistent examination of IT services, their cost efficiency and value for money delivered by central IT to all users, staff, researchers and students is under the microscope. The pressure to differentiate value and to protect intellectual assets has never been greater, with IT playing a more significant role than ever before.

In order to establish context-aware efficiency comparisons and to drive continuous improvements, institutions benchmark themselves against others in the sector, as also against public and private sector organisations, by each IT service area. By undertaking this approach, it is possible for institutions to gain visibility of best practice in terms of costs and services from all markets.

“It was fantastic working with ImprovIT; they were very helpful and understood what we were saying first time, which was brilliant, it felt like we were working together as a team.”

Higher Education, Project Leader

Introduction of restrictions on free exchange of information and data between institutions and universities increases the advantage of independent trusted expertise to guide the value improvement journey. It is not so much about the latest and best kit, as it is about the challenges of bringing better business alignment, service delivery and effective IT services management.

The developments in the sector are increasing the pressure on transformation, through critical self-assessment, maximising value-enhancement, while keeping the lights on within tight budgets. The diversity of needs range from unique core systems to the needs of the high performance computing for research, the online instruction to mobile usage of applications on smartphones and tablets.

ImprovIT has worked with several premier institutions and research universities to provide an in-depth analysis of key IT services. The study objectives have been to provide and independent view of the strengths and weaknesses, while gaining fact-based insights to help determine the most suitable IT transformation agenda and the way forward.

“We have all done a number of benchmarks with other organisations, but never found anyone who has fully persuaded or satisfied us until we heard ImprovIT’s approach and we were very confident in their methodology.”

Higher Education, ITS Director

This sector is undergoing a significant transformation, requiring optimal balancing of priorities, within constraints of budget and time. Amongst the management tools available to IT leadership, benchmarking presents an elegant solutions, providing useful insights to help with key strategic and tactical decisions in planning change, new investments, technology choices, governance models, process improvements, service management, complexity reduction, knowledge retention, and so on.