ANU’s approach to increasing efficiency and reducing costs through digitisation strategies

Feb 19
Author:Ash Natesh
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As Australia’s national university, ANU works with government, private sector and other research institutes to explore, investigate and develop ideas and solutions to major issues facing Australian society and the world.

Their academic staff are at the forefront of technology development and exploration, whether it be in human health, chemical and earth sciences, public policy, the arts or the computer sciences.

The team at Criterion Conferences recently spoke to Lakshmi West, Director at Service Improvement Group & Amanda Snashall, Director, Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre at Australian National University about the work they have been doing to improve technological strategies and 35 programs that they have run across multiple facets of the University at ANU.

Here is what they had to say:

Lakshmi West Director at Service Improvement Group, Australian National University

At ANU, we have taken a journey over the last 5 years that has taken the university from being a very non customer-oriented, non bureaucratic organisation to a digital integration system experience for our end users. This is now focusing more on the customer experience side.

We have within the status improvement grid a very large portfolio of projects. We have worked on 35 whole of university transformation projects and they have ranged from corporate service transformations to teaching and learning as well as in the research phase and a higher degree research phase.

We use innovative techniques around customer journey mapping focusing on rapid improvement events which is a hybrid approach that Amanda Snashall has designed  around involving the customers to experience a human centred approach to redefining and simplifying our processes and then digitalising them.

Amanda Snashall Director, Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre, Australian National University

A predominant focus has been trying to increase administrative efficiency and reduce the overall cost of administration. It has evolved over time to be more customer focused and customer centric and as part of this initiative we have involved our methods of stakeholder engagement across the university.

“Its gone from, lets digitalise a process and provide a more efficient service through a digitalised platform to let’s actually look at our approach now which is really taking a deep dive into each process and looking at the underlying drivers for those and understanding the implication of that process is for the wider university, looking at it as a larger ecosystem to link process improvement across any process that we deal with in the university.Changes to policy, changes to procedure, guidelines etc to strike out as much waste that we can from the process to make it easier on the administrative space and the efficiency space.”

We have a really customer focused and human centric design angle in our processes particularly using engagement workshops for rapid improvement events which is a 3 day intensive improvement workshop. We do those for our larger programs to make sure that we are getting engagement across the university and build the best process we can for our environment.

Every environment is different so, looking at our process in the university to any other corporate entity would be very different.

We are focused on really making the process as good as it can be within our operating environment and making sure that we are doing consultation across all the important touch points and the relevant stakeholders. So that has been primarily our evolution of how we have approached working towards a strategic plan. We are also looking at more innovative ways of using technology to our gain.

Our focus was using E-Forms which are employee integrated forms that integrate to our source systems but now we are starting to evolve and explore more innovative processes to digital transformation. We are now investigating AI & RPA tools for the future to get the necessary benefits and efficiencies that we need. All the processes are being implemented Enterprise wide so we have done 35 enterprise wide projects over the last 5 years in the service improvement group. This has spread across services in all our corporate offices being, HR, Finance and other relevant portfolios but also within the student administration based teaching & learning, research services. We really have a diverse portfolio of projects that we have delivered.

The strategic processes has helped us in improving administrative efficiency which saved revenue on our administrative activities.Our revenue either comes from research activities or alternatively from students. Digitising most of our administrative activities has cut our costs.

“So that’s more about what we can do better with what we have as opposed to drum up more money.”- Lakshmi West

Don’t Miss Lakshmi and Amanda’s Presentation on “Reimagining & transforming customer engagement to embrace business transformation” at the University Strategic Planning & Resource Management Conference on the 27th & 28th March, Melbourne.

Submitted by Ash Natesh

Ash Natesh

Ash is the Content Marketer at Criterion Conferences. Writing and sourcing content is all part of her day to day routine. She can’t stop drinking coffee, other than coffee her interests lie in Music, long walks amidst the mountains, Dance, Anime, Science Fiction and all things nerdy!

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