Streamlining Processes & Improving Stakeholder and Customer Satisfaction

A Large Public University

New South Wales

THE BUSINESS PROBLEM

 

As part of the Group of Eight (Go8) research-intensive universities, our client, a large public University, has a well-earned reputation for excellence in research and research training. The University was seeking to enhance this reputation and to respond to changing government requirements for research funding.

 

As a basis for improvement, the University recently conducted a review of their Research Services, motivated by the desire to:

  • Streamline governance and management structures
  • Clarify accountabilities and interfaces
  • Build processes that support continuous improvement;
  • Develop uniform, simplified, responsive and effective operating models and information systems.

 

The review identified many areas where services could be improved, one being process management. Acting on a recommendation of the review, the University significantly restructured its Research Services to take the lead in industry best practice and to improve customer service delivery. This restructure has resulted in a dedicated Research Strategy Office (RSO) and a separate Grants Management Office (GMO).

 

Central to the success of this new structure is the clear definition of the respective roles and accountabilities of the GMO, RSO and external stakeholders in research grant development and management services. This is particularly important as the University was looking for the restructure to help drive cultural change. It is in this context that Research Services identified the need to develop and document its business processes, with primary focus on GMO processes and secondary focus the interactions between the GMO and key areas within the University.

 

 

OUR ROLE

 

WDScott used a five phased approach to develop the new GMO processes that support the University’s Research Services overall vision and stakeholder needs, taking into account sector best practice, positioning the University to successfully compete within the Go8.  The five phases involved:

  1. Initiating and planning the engagement
  2. Documenting and analysing the ‘As Is’ processes as a basis for designing future processes through workshops with operational staff and key stakeholders and customers
  3. Optimising and developing new ‘To Be’ processes to release resources for other functions, to reduce operating costs
  4. Developing a roadmap and communications plan
  5. Developing the final report.

 

Throughout the engagement, WDScott ensured involvement of research personnel in engagement activities as a means to further staff buy-in to the GMO’s purpose, vision and objectives; and to aid in communication of the required culture change.

 

 

OUTCOME

The output from the engagement provided the University with documentation to help streamline the grants management process whilst clarifying responsibilities and helping support cultural change. Specifically:

  • Identifying ‘pain points’ and thus the source of improvement opportunities provided the University with the precise information needed to improve and streamline their processes.
  • The concise and clearly presented process documentation allowed processes to be communicated to, and understood by, operational staff and key participants in the processes, whilst aiding in encouraging conformance to new processes.
  • With details of customer and stakeholder expectations taken into account during the design of the new processes, the GMO was able to increase customer and stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Using the key process measures, the GMO has a baseline on which to improve from.
  • The roadmap and communication plan which, together with the content of the process maps, provided the GMO with the direction needed for engaging its change management program by defining the respective roles of departments in the grants management process
  • The strategy for stakeholder management provided the University with the required channels to support their vision for cultural change.

 

Identifying ‘pain points’ and thus the source of improvement opportunities provided the University with the precise information needed to improve and streamline their processes.