Enabling a university to save corporate costs and improve service

Enabling a university to save corporate costs and improve service

Our Work | Case Study

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Our client was a Group of Eight university with more than 50,000 students and 6,000 academic staff.

The university sought a new corporate services operating model and strategic framework

A leading university sought to reduce costs and improve performance across corporate services. It wanted to refresh its operating model and the framework for its corporate services.

The university engaged Nous to identify opportunities for savings and improvement and to design a multi-year program to deliver them. The program involved initiatives in human resources, finance, information technology, facilities and estates management.

Previously each corporate service division was in a silo, so the university sought to bring them together as one team within a coherent framework. This collaboration revealed cross-division opportunities for cost savings and service improvements.

We engaged staff to develop a plan of action

Given the complexity of the university’s environment, Nous sought to design a program that aligned strategy and organisational performance. We developed the corporate strategic framework in collaboration with the executive team.

We used the framework to design the savings and improvement program. To do this, we conducted both function-specific and cross-functional workshops with staff to define their desired outcomes and to prioritise and design initiatives.

This led to eight streams of work to improve service performance, develop people and leaders, improve culture, and build organisational capability. We designed a plan to carry out this work across three time horizons.

We established and led a Program Office to oversee plans, working with university stream leaders to achieve consistent deliverables, to realise benefits and to engage stakeholders, while building internal capability.

$28 million in savings have been identified

Our work identified $28 million in savings across three years. These can be achieved through an integrated program of work that will deliver significant and sustained benefits, aligned to the university’s priorities.

For the first time, structure was brought to the complex operating environment. This has increased collaboration across services and within stakeholder groups, with a focus on outcomes and professional development.

Nous worked with the university to improve the onboarding experience for new staff, using human-centred design to identify the desired future journey and mapping out a path to get there.

Our work has given the program momentum that will continue long after the project is complete.

What you can learn from the university

Sustained cost-savings need to consider the full breadth of a university’s corporate services.

Co-design can be a valuable way to gain insights from staff and achieve their buy-in for significant changes.

A program office focused on delivering outcomes and simplifying complexity is critical to implementing an enterprise-wide plan.