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University of Leeds

The challenge

The University of Leeds (UoL) is the UK’s 3rd oldest HE institution and a Global 100 university. It aspires to be one of the best and understands that the move towards a more integrated student and academic experience coupled with a move toward a more digital campus will better position it in the increasingly competitive research and student recruitment market. To achieve this it instigated a major investment programme in CRM and digital using Microsoft CRM and other tools as its main platform combined with a business change programme.

What we did

DigitalFirst provided the Consulting Programme Director to work with the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Group and brought leadership and direction to the programme that had encountered some early challenges. The programme was structured to focus on providing a single view of the student through the introduction of people, process and technology approach which was driven classically from vision and strategy through to delivery and benefits realisation as below.

The programme focused principally on delivering the CRM and student portal solution using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint and MS 365 for the marketing and student recruitment processes initially for its UG, PGT and PGR cohorts. The programme was designed and structured to baseline the current as-is processes and to identify, via widespread stakeholder consultation and buy-in, the to-be processes and the resulting business case and future target operating model.

We advised and worked with UoL to strengthen the internal delivery team to take on more responsibility for business change then embark upon a strategic procurement exercise to engage a technology partner that could work to a clearly defined business requirement but could also bring innovation and knowhow that would make configuration and adoption easier within the university.

A PMO was introduced and a clear focus on a business case driven business change process that delivers a proven return on investment (what we call a Digital ROI).

The ROI was based upon retained income, especially in the Leeds Business School, new income, via better and more attractive offerings to new students and efficiency gains via the consolidation and simplification of student support business services. A major second phase was to follow to address all areas of ‘on-course’ student activity.

What we achieved

The UoL, through our support, was able to take its vision and ambition into a clear and robust programme that, through a mixture of experienced internal staff and external resource, including a technology partner, was structured to deliver its business case and benefits.

A significant amount of skills and capacity building was also delivered, in building staff awareness of good programme management and commercial sound tech/digital delivery.

At the point of handover to business as usual the UoL was firmly on schedule to deliver on its target £13m of income and efficiency benefits.

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