Managing Change in the Higher Education Sector

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  • Published: August 10 2011
Higher education institutions are turning to software to help them deal with financial, organizational, and regulatory change. TEC surveyed higher education professionals to find out whether their software systems were able to address their most pressing challenges. We also assessed a vendor that emphasizes the change management capabilities of its software—UNIT4—to determine how well it supports change management challenges. Download this report for full results and analysis.

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Higher education institutions are under greater pressure than ever before to make changes that help them operate efficiently and stay competitive. Broadly speaking, these changes fall into three categories.

  • Financial—Faced with increasing costs and, in many cases, reduced public funding, universities and colleges need to find better ways to administer their finances, avoid unnecessary expenses, and make the most of limited budgets.
  • Organizational—Like many other types of organizations, higher education institutions undergo periodic restructuring to contain costs, operate more efficiently, and reflect changing priorities (e.g., new departments, new areas of research, etc.). In some cases, institutions may share resources, or even merge to form larger entities, which requires major changes to workflows, business processes, and organizational structures.
  • Regulatory—Regulations for higher education institutions can cover ethics, financial integrity, educational standards, hiring and firing, ways of transmitting information (e.g., mobile phones, Internet, etc.), and more. As colleges and universities come under increasing scrutiny from governments, students, donors, and others, their regulatory burden is increasing steadily.
Like their counterparts in the business world, higher education institutions are turning to software to help them deal with these changes. But how well do their systems really accommodate change management? Can software vendors deliver the functionality that higher education institutions need to manage change effectively?

To answer these questions, Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) identified the following five major challenges related to change management:

1. Business process change
2. Compliance with new regulations
3. Financial management-driven change
4. Mergers and acquisitions
5. Reorganization and restructuring

We then surveyed higher education prefessionals to find out

a. which of these challenges were most pressing, and
b. whether their current software systems were able to adress them.

Finally, we chose a vendor that emphasizes the change management capabilities of its software—UNIT4— and asked it whether and how well its software supports specific software modifications required to address each change management challenge.

To verify UNIT4’s responses, we performed reference checks with three of the company’s customers in the higher education sector, asking them whether and how UNIT4’s software helped them address change.

This report analyzes the results of our end-user survey, UNIT4’s responses to our questionnaire, and the results of our reference check.

Read the full report >>

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