By Philip Craig, Sales Development Manager, UK Public Sector
Read time: two minutes
Oracle is working with higher education institutions across the UK, helping them to reveal vital financial and operational data, contributing to better decision making and helping them to prepare for new accountability requirements in areas like risk assessment, health and safety and human resource development.
A university is no longer a quiet place to teach and undertake academic research. It is a big, complex and competitive business requiring ongoing investment. As higher education has grown, and other pressures constrain state funding, the financial sustainability of universities has become an issue for governments and those who manage them.
The challenge is to manage a more complex portfolio of aims, while protecting academic quality and their ability to deliver over the long term. What does this mean in practice?
First, governments will need higher education to help them achieve educational, economic and social goals. Growing importance will be placed on widening participation, economic development and regional policy as part of a levelling up agenda. The new roles will also bring new accountability requirements.
Second, funding may be delivered to institutions in different ways. Universities prefer long-term block grants, which they can use at their discretion and which provide a stable basis for planning. Governments may prefer targeted and short-term mechanisms, requiring institutions to find matching contributions or to deliver specific outputs.
And third, students will continue to be demanding consumers, as the payment of tuition fees will only increase their expectations of the quality of teaching and facilities (particularly during an economic downturn).
These challenges will inevitably lead to pressure on the financial sustainability of institutions, which could be manifested in a number of ways: increasing student / staff ratios, pressure on physical infrastructure or even rationalisation of provisions.
As I outlined in my previous blog, my experience is that customers that have adopted cloud technologies are now more resilient and better placed to meet these challenges. They can draw on robust sources of data to evaluate revenue and costs, modernise career planning and development and evaluate future options through flexible planning and forecasting applications.
Please get in touch if you would like more information about our work in the higher education sector and how cloud services have contributed to their enhanced financial and operational resilience. And in my next blog I will be providing more details on how we are working with customers to embed strategic financial management through decision making.