Supporting and Enabling External Engagement


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Supporting and Enabling External Engagement

  1. 1. T: 0191 222 5000E: as Usual?Supporting and enabling external engagementStories from the project, BCE Awareness and Education for the Wider JISC Community funded by the JISC BCE Programme
  2. 2. Contents Welcome to Supporting and Enabling BCE The current and future climate for higher & further education means that engagement and partnerships are going to be increasingly important to the success of both individual institutions and the sector as a whole. 04 “Is engagement activity ‘business as usual’ where Naturally there is a good deal of focus on the external facing aspects of engagement (often with specialist roles you work?” identified for those taking part), but not everyone experiences engagement this way. This can be particularly true What is BCE - definitions and terminology and dimensions. for the internal support and enabling functions within those institutions, where engagement may not always be 08 Opening up strict institutional ICT viewed as part of their business as usual. In 2006 Erik Bohemia and Ben Lovett started a project From 2008-2010, our JISC-funded project, Awareness and Education in Business and Community Engagement (BCE) which, four years later, led to an institution-wide roll-out of for the Wider JISC Community, examined the nature of external engagement within universities and colleges. The open source software and web 2.0 communication tools. focus for the project was on how increased engagement activity might impact on the ability of the internal They told us how. functions of an institution to support it effectively and consistently. 10 Professionally managed relationships are the key 08 We ran and took part in around 25 direct consultations and workshops, with individuals and groups representing There are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions the range of support and enabling functions found in UK universities and colleges. Staff from over 75 universities about customer relationship management systems in and colleges attended project events to share their experience, helping us build a picture of the landscape for an academic environment. Karen Race from Teesside support and management of BCE activities; both locally and more broadly across the sector. University, helped us to try and set a few of them straight. We also engaged with professional bodies such as UCISA, SCONUL and the AUA to explore the engagement-driven 14 Big strategic leaps for BCE activity taking place right across the HE and FE sectors, with the aim to find out the context in which it was being During the last few years, BCE has taken huge steps in experienced by key support staff working in IT, libraries and administration. becoming an integrated part of educational institutions’ strategies. John Burke, Senior Adviser at JISC InfoNet, has During that time we accumulated a lot of rich material on the project blog, wrote a report of our findings and been in the front seat for the ride. experience and shortened the project name (to simply BCE A&E). This 05 publication is an attempt to present those findings in a more relevant pre 16 Technology won’t solve all the problems in access and easily digestible way. management – the power is in the hands of people now The ’big white licensing elephant’ doesn’t necessarily exist As well as explaining how an why the term BCE is being used to and anymore, Mark Williams, Access management co-ordinator describe activities taking place in and around your organisation, we pla at JISC Collections, says. have highlighted five comm issues that cropped up during the common project and then spoken in depth with the people involved in key d 20 Institutional ICT doesn’t have to exclude external work taking place to address them. partners Loughborough University’s Network and Security Manager Also included is an overview of the wider JISC Business Matthew Cook talked us through the process of turning and Community Engagement (BCE) programme from the ad hoc queries into external engagement being part of programme manager Simon Whittemore, plus anSupporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 “business as usual” 16 in introduction to the JISC Advance BCE team, who provide a useful first point of 22“Skillful BCE practitioners are like match-makers” contact for all matters BCE. The core skills needed in successful external engagement Supporting and Enabling BCE staff are skills in relationship building, says Helen Blanchett, Editor-in-Chief: Chris Young the project manager for project set out to create a national Chief reporter: Hanna Miettinen Chris Young skills framework for BCE. Contributors: Rob Allen, Caroline Ingram, Marc Dobson Editor-in-Chief Publisher: JISC Netskills, Newcastle upon Tyne 0191 222 5000, 2 3
  3. 3. “Is engagement activity business as usual where you work?” This was one of the first questions we asked during the BCE A&E project and it highlighted some early stumbling blocks of identification, definition and terminology. “How is engagement at your institution impacting on the What’s in a name? Enter… BCE work you do?” As well as introducing more jargon to the already rich lexicon of UK “Are you able to consistently higher and further education, the diversity of descriptors for engage- ment activity (and the differences in their application) makes it difficult Business and Community Engagement (BCE) is being used by JISC, HEFCE and support it?” for support staff to consistently understand exactly what it is they are others to describe, more holistically, supporting. the relationships academic institutions create with external organisations and Over the lifetime of the BCE A&E Use of Customer Relationship traditionally given a wide berth by This is exacerbated when comparing between institutions; exchanging individuals. project, five recurrent themes Management (CRM) systems and many. practice and experience externally can be difficult if you can’t easily emerged in response to these two processes identify equivalent activities. As one attendee remarked, while At its heart are four dimensions, which questions. A combination of revised policy, open reflecting on the differences between institutional descriptions of ac- can be used as to group together types of Often seen as a potential panacea for practice and improvements in the tivities, “one organisation’s ‘employer-engagement’ is another’s identifiable activity. These typically relate The issues they typically encompass struggling engagement activities, the communication of strategy is now ‘life-long learning’”. to the relationships most people are not restricted to specific audience implementation of any CRM process helping to resolve the difficulties that recognise as existing at their institution. types or staff from any one particular represents a big change to working can arise here. Examining the types of activity actually taking place and their role. practice in most institutions. relationship to the ‘core’ business of a university or college can help. CPD, reward and recognition Employer Engagement broadly Access to online resources and man- Understanding the specific describes the activities people tend to If supporting and enabling BCE Which ones do we do? agement of identity requirements for an individual map between teaching and learning and activity to take place isn’t always institution is essential, but external organisations. The recent switch by many to the overcoming the negative perceptions indentified as part of the regular role A typical university or college could be presumed to be carrying out a UK Access Management Federation amongst staff and focusing on the for an individual, then allocating mixture of two main activities; Teaching and Learning and Research. Knowledge Transfer (and Exchange) is has made access to online resources benefits to both individuals and time and resource to developing their Even acknowledging that this is a very broad generalisation, most primarily used to refer to relationships easy for members of their institution, the institution are also vital for a capacity to do it can be difficult! people we met with could easily recognise the parts of their institution between the research funcions of institu- however extending that access successful implementation. that dealt with those two areas. tions and external organisations. The rest of this publication looks at to external partners is not as straightforward. Network access and deployment and important aspects of each of these During project consultations, most people also found it easier to map Lifelong Learning is typically used to areas, through the experiences of support of IT resources engagement-led activities originating from those two areas to either describe the interactions between Engagement with strategy those working with the JISC BCE Organisations or Individuals external to their institution. Although the teaching and learning and individuals The availability of high-quality, fast programme to help resolve them. local names for specific activities differed, the actual make up of them external to the institution. Institutions that run successful BCE and reliable IT resources is a major contained many commonly identifiable elements. activities are typically also better at advantage for the UK academic sector. Public, Community and Cultural clearly identifying, communicating These are reflected in the four dimensions of Business and Community Engagement is a broad term and embedding BCE within their However extending the use of theseSupporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 Engagement (BCE). institutional and organisational facilities to include external partners, Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 encompassing a range of activity, usually The JISC BCE A&E Project Blog: involving individuals and wider society strategies. visitors and organisations involves with the activities of the institution. crossing boundaries which are By identifying local activities within these dimensions (regardless of how they are referred to locally) means that advice, good practice, and calls for collaboration or funding opportunities can be accessed more quickly and effectively. 4 5
  4. 4. It was recognised that JISC’s work would be part of a integrated online service models. These offer long-term change programme, so working with change information and knowledge to local partners, agents and key national stakeholders was vital for the generating innovation via co-development of ideas in programme’s success. open online marketplaces.  To help embed good practice in Customer Relationship The dual aims of the programme were designed to reflect Management (CRM), online self-analysis tools are the bi-directional nature of engagement and partnerships, enabling institutions to enhance their professionalism, JISC: Supporting BCE as well as the changing HE and FE landscape:  To enhance institutions’ efficiency, effectiveness and and maturity level, by better managing relationships and the associated data and services to deliver opportunities in BCE activities; customer value.  To improve access to institutions’ knowledge and  A pioneering project to support and develop CPD Programme Manager Simon Whittemore gives us an overview of the expertise for business and community organisations. for university and college engagement (including strategic thinking underpinning the BCE programme. knowledge exchange) practitioners is working closely With these in mind, the programme structure for the with AURIL, and other key national stakeholders, to current phase has been distilled into four strategic deliver an online diagnostic tool and a catalogue of priorities: available training resources. Over the last decade, supported by government policy, a The JISC Business and Community Engagement (BCE)  Partnerships are being empowered through use cases, consensus within the UK and across Europe has emerged, programme was designed in 2007 to help UK institutions 1. Organisational capability and efficiency for BCE practical guidance and resources in the deployment of that the considerable wealth of knowledge and expertise rise to these challenges and opportunities through the online tools to facilitate better, smarter collaboration. in universities and colleges can (and should) be harnessed effective use of technology. By supporting and developing 2. Relationship Management to make a more direct contribution to the economy and strategic management of relationships with external 3. Public Value and Civic Engagement Future work society than through graduates alone. partners, institutions would then be better equipped to 4. Embedding BCE across JISC deliver efficient and effective services which benefit the Future plans continue to build on work across these At the same time, we have experienced an explosion of economy and society. themes, with a particular emphasis on three key areas: Supporting the sectors new web technologies, an increasing amount of business conducted online and a digital world where information JISC defined Business and Community Engagement as The BCE programme is also supporting the Higher and  Further Access to Resources and Open Innovation is king. But where the kingdom is inclusive, global and encompassing four dimensions - often overlapping Further Education sector in the development of economic projects, aiming to extend existing, effective models multi-faceted, and the use and context of that information institutional strategic areas: competencies along with the innovative use of technology and focus on HE-FE exchange of good practice is everything. to enable partnerships, at both at the individual and in developing integrated online services and co- Employer Engagement development of online marketplaces. institutional level. For example: In this technology-driven world, open innovation, crowd- Knowledge Transfer (and Exchange)  A series of projects on Organisational Capability for sourcing and open access to research are among the  Via a portfolio of Access to Resources and Open key areas of innovation creating new opportunities for Lifelong Learning BCE, with partnering institutions (HE or FE) asked to Innovation demonstrator projects, HEIs and FECs are choose two areas in which to enhance good practice universities and businesses alike. Public, Cultural and Community Engagement taking a leading role in facilitating innovation via through exchange and development. Example areas include business intelligence, information and knowledge management to support BCE, or reward, recognition and incentivising of staff. Good practice to be shared via ‘Just Enough’ information sheets for each area.  A portfolio of collaborative projects (supported by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement) on BCE and Enterprise in Support of the Research Excel- lence Framework (REF) and Impact Agenda. These are aimed at helping institutions prepare for the REF by deploying expert engagement professionals from other institutions to identify impact and benefits to external parties. Partner institutions are expected to embed an ongoing process and culture change, identify potential benefits and beneficiaries and to articulate impact on research users. Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 Simon Whittemore, JISC BCE Programme Manager The JISC BCE Programme: Programme Manager Simon Whittemore (left) with members of the JISC Advance BCE team and project managers. 7
  5. 5. Opening up strict institutional ICT In 2006 Erik Bohemia and Ben Lovett started a project, which four years later led to an institution-wide roll-out of open source software and web 2.0 communication tools. They told us how. It all started when Dr Erik Bohemia various phone calls and emails, Erik joined Northumbria University in was put in touch with Ben Lovatt, a the mid 2000s. His international developer at the university’s Learning background in teaching design meant Technologies team (LTech). that he understood the huge benefits global collaboration offers for design A key relationship was established money to explore the use of open at universities across the world. students. source web 2.0 applications to “It was important to have an ‘ally’ in communicate with the international Looking back, has the project At the time, Northumbria’s IT systems the IT services”, Erik said. business and university partners. changed the organisation in any were heavily locked down. Accessing way? emails and the virtual learning “And Ben wasn’t looking at it just from “That’s when we really got the IT platform (Blackboard) at the same the technical side. He understood director on board”, Erik said. “I think we are more open to ideas”, time meant fiddling between different what we were trying to do and how Ben said. wireless networks and there was no useful it was for the students to work “He became a champion of this, internal set-up to do any external with external partners.” starting to look at all the ways the IT “I’ve always worked for IT services, Ben Lovett worked together with Erik Bohe- collaboration that required the use mia (opposite page, top) to open up institu- services can change to accommodate although on the fringes rather Directly collaborating between their Northumbria students use Web 2.0 tools to than centrally, and I think the IT of IT. tional ICT Photos by: Simon Veit-Wilson the requirements from academics.” work with international partners in design departments meant that some of the projects. Photo courtesy of The Global Studio: department is much more open to early practical steps were also much reasons – when we wanted to start The Gift project Today ideas that originally would’ve been “Of course, as an academic, you can easier to take, Ben explained. installing invasive systems, things like terrifying.” always go and set up your own Google Skype, peer-to-peer networking etc”, objectives or the ‘requirements of the The result of the project has been Docs, free wiki pages and blogs”, Erik “It’s a lot easier to set up meetings Ben said. real-world’. great. Two years later, both Skype In terms of changing perceptions and said. if you’re already working in the and Wordpress have been rolled getting people on board with new department. And then there are also “In fact we missed out on some “It’s not going to be like that in out across campus enabling much things Ben advices to proceed with “But there are problems in terms of some really trivial things, like your projects as, for example, there are industry”, Ben said. more versatile communication small steps. controlling where the data is stored swipe card letting you in the right some industry partners that won’t with external partners as well as and how to create a safe learning places.” collaborate with you if you don’t have “Students are not going to be waiting significantly streamlining the process “Take a tiny bit at a time, get environment for the students and Skype.” for two weeks to talk to someone. of creating individual websites for something to work and then go back staff, so they don’t have to worry “It was important that we spoke with They are going to need the answers different courses. to ask if you can start building up the about their work ending up on Google IT director at an early point and got The opponents of Skype argued immediately.” other little bits”, he said. search results.” him on board from the start”, Ben that it didn’t add much to the video For students, the benefits have been also pointed out. conferencing which was already The breakthrough huge. Through Erik’s Global Studio “That way I think ownership The first steps possible on campus. course (which was used as a research sometimes defers to the IT serviceSupporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 The first obstacle The real turning point was when site for the project) they’ve had a – without necessarily realising it, As soon as Erik Both Erik and Ben disagreed. the project team secured external chance to work in direct collaboration they’ve started to take ownership got in touch with At first, the pair encountered little funding to take things further. with international companies such as over it to the extent where you start the IT director resistance. They were given the go “To set up a video conference, you Motorola and Intel - as well as share getting emails from them suggesting Jed Woodhouse ahead to try things out with the need to contact the AV people with The JISC-funded Business and changes and new things.” things started experiences with other design teams software and hardware already in the lead time of about two weeks to Community Engagement programme happening. place to see how far that would take get everything sorted”, Erik said. Trialling of Online Collaboration Tools The reaction Read more about the BCE Collaborative Tools project and Erik and Ben’s them. for BCE project was perfect for their was The process, he said, was slow, case study at: purposes. encouraging expensive, led by academic interests and after “The resistance from the IT department came – and for very valid and didn’t reflect the learning Erik and Ben now had the time and 8 9
  6. 6. “One of the things that make cross- where their business is paying us for “At Teesside, we’ve got really great institution collaboration difficult services.” marketing for student recruitment, is that academic schools are quite a massive database and fantastic siloed.” To get the most for their money, Karen information management about our also recommends other academic students and established quality “Then there are issues around work- institutions also look at wider issues processes in place” loading, reasons for staff to do work around CRM as part of the implemen- Professionally managed relationships other than teaching, as well as issues around career structures.” tation process. “We took three projects forward at the “In fact, what we’ve been putting in place for business customers are are the key... and CRM is essential an extension of processes which More than a record of contacts same time; implementing a physical are already part of the institutional CRM database, introducing quality culture.” According to Karen, one of the keys standards for our employer work and to success is not to think about the producing management information There are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions about customer CRM system as just a way to create a for performance management”, she relationship management (CRM) systems in an academic environment. record of contacts. said. Karen Race, Deputy Director of the Department of Academic Enterprise at However, Karen says, one mistake that “I think they all need to be done Teesside University, helped us to try and set a few of them straight. some universities make is to think too together, you can’t just put in the CRM big about what information the CRM ‘system’ without addressing the other needs to hold. two.” A CRM is a process that helps a university or college without a CRM”, “The Academic Enterprise Department business to manage their customer- she said. has had to create new posts, tackle “To successfully implement a CRM, Karen thinks some universities facing activities. It’s a way to keep traditional conceptions and undertake it’s important to be really clear what aren’t too far behind commercial records of contacts, contracts and “Universities are in the business of a huge training process.” is it that you want organisations when it comes to CRM. sales leads – essentially all aspects building long-term relationships with the system to do.” of interaction that the company has key customers for mutual benefit.” “If you think about it, universities with its customers. A good CRM is a “For Teesside, are already behaving in a more combination of practice, policy and “So with that in mind, it’s absolutely the scope was businesslike manner towards their technnology. essential to have a rich seam of about business students”, she said. detailed information about your key customers – Teesside University has been running customers.” Microsoft Dynamics across the institution for almost two years and To Karen, the economic climate isn’t an argument against CRMs according to Karen Race, the system either – quite the contrary as now, Tips for success has been invaluable. is the perfect time to make sure you “The fact that there is a CRM system take the best possible care of your Karen listed some of the things that could help institutions in the has made everybody working with business customers. implementation process of a CRM system. businesses talk and interact a lot  Include the right people in the specification process. To get the best more and has really brought added “We’re getting to the point where possible spec, run a system for a while, talk to people. Look at the value to what they can offer to their we’re going to be asking employers things they are already doing. own contacts.” to pay more and more, so you’ve got to be really slick about the way Building long-term relationships you deal with businesses if you’re  Make sure the implementation process is not done in isolation. Let expecting them to pay for the full cost people who have experience of business processes lead the project. At At a time of cross-sector cuts and of delivery.” Teesside, the Department of Academic Enterprise owned the project, financial uncertainty, implementing a the IT department supported it. new and expensive system, might not Time, effort and money be high on an institutions’ agenda.  Don’t test in a sterile environment. This can lead to problems when The CRM implementation process, going live through a university’s heavy firewall systems. However, as part of its mission, which started in 2007, hasn’t been all Teesside is striving to be the “leading  Be careful when defining a scope for your CRM project. Don’t trySupporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 plain sailing. University for working with business“ and get all the contacts in. For Teesside, the scope was about paying and in 2008, took a step further by “It’s been a big job which has taken business customers or potential future customers. applying for the Customer First time, effort, determination and has national quality standard. cost money”, Karen explained.  Don’t think a database is going to solve all your problems. As part of the implementation project, make sure to look at your business After that, the strategic decision about processes and information management on a more general level. implementing a CRM system was a Karen has just started a new project, working with no-brainer as Karen explained. the University of Huddersfield to create a handbook of best practice on CRM implementation. Find out  Never underestimate the time and effort that will go into training “You would never expect to see a more at: people. Make sure continuous support is available in addition to the business with a turnover similar to a official training sessions. This might mean setting up a new post to handle this.10 11
  7. 7. The framework, developed by the “It cannot be overstated enough The organisational changes brought People, processes and technology University of Nottingham as a JISC- funded project in 2008, contains that CRM is not just about a system, but also about people, culture and on by the current economic climate have been so many that introducing guides, insights and tools to help processes. Understanding how these yet another one with CRM could prove institutions consider their approach to components interact takes time, but a difficult. Customer Relationship Management technical implementation should not For help in improving their business processes educational institutions (CRM) processes and tools. and cannot take place until the To get started, Sharon’s advice is not can turn to a self-analysis framework launched by JISC CETIS (Centre for preparatory steps have been to think about the technology at the The framework is in the process of beginning. Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards). being extended and it has recently completed.” been piloted by 13 institutions, The report also recommends that “Don’t make the process or the people including 12 universities and one FE the framework shouldn’t be used in fit the technology (if you’re buying a College. isolation – to maximise its usefulness CRM system)”, she said. it should be supported with guidance According to the feedback, the from CRM experts and champions “Ensure you know how your piloting institutions found working with previous experience of processes work and make any with the framework a “positive and implementing a CRM. improvements. Make sure staff helpful experience”. understand why CRM is important Don’t make people fit the and what benefits it can bring them “Whilst gaps and inconsistencies have technology to ensure their buy-in.” been identified, on the whole the SAF [self analysis framework] was found According to Sharon, CRM is likely to to be useful to all the institutions become increasingly important as involved by guiding them through the the higher education sector becomes process of analysis prior to selecting a more business-oriented. CRM systems, and thus avoiding some of the many possible pitfalls”, says “Information streams will need to Sharon Perry, Learning Technology be joined up in order to provide Advisor at JISC CETIS, writing in the customers (students/business/ project report. community etc.) with a higher level of service. This means improving During the pilot projects, some key current processes and ensuring that improvements were identified. Work staff share in their institution’s vision is currently underway to amend the on relationship management” she framework to address them as part of said. another JISC-funded project run jointly by the University of Huddersfield and As one of the challenges institutions Teesside University. might need to tackle, Sharon mentions ‘change fatigue’. People before technology One of the key findings in the piloting stage was that there are three JISC CETIS is supporting the current round (phase 2) of JISC key interdependencies of any funded Relationship Management Projects. approach to CRM:Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011 These are split into three strands: Good Practice in CRM; Stu- Supporting and Enabling BCE | July 2011  People dent Progression, Retention and Non-Completion; and Alumni  Processes Engagement.  Technology For further details, see the relevant sections on: “Whilst processes need to be carefully documented, it is the ‘people’ aspect, which is critical to the success of Phase 1 projects and case studies are also listed here: CRM”, the report reads. 13