Empowering Higher Education Institutions

Higher Education

Higher Education regards those educational bodies that provide learning at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Students generally start attending higher education institutions from the age of 18.

The number of students enrolled in UK universities increased from 2009/10 to 2021/22. The effects of the pandemic on enrolment seem to have been positive, with 2.75m enrolling in 2020/21 compared to 2.53m in 2019/20 despite the start of the pandemic being this year. This increase in demand for Higher Education will need to be met with services that can support the increased bandwidth of students that fluctuates throughout the academic year.

Responsiv has worked with numerous Higher Education institutions, helping to improve the services they provide to their faculty and students, including providing licenses that accommodate peaks of demand whilst optimising expense for the rest of the year, automating business processes, and filtering student applications using RPA to reduce time spent on ‘inappropriate applications’.

Key Figures

919,940 HE qualifications were awarded in 2021/22 including

  • 390,585 at the postgraduate level
  • 439,115 first degrees
  • 90,245 other undergraduate qualifications.

Key Figures

233,930 members of ‘typical’ staff were employed in 2021, a 4% increase on 2020.

62,730 staff were employed by HE providers on academic atypical contracts.

Key Figures

Student satisfaction surveyed through the National Student Survey found 83% of students were satisfied with the quality of their course in 2022

 Related Research

Sustainability

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Higher Education institutions across the UK are dedicating themselves to sustainability, pledging towards low-carbon or carbon neutrality in the near future. The reality of achieving this will be high levels of investment and research.

A challenge with researching and collecting data on sustainable usage comes from third-party, scope 3 emissions including supply chain partners and students.

Where data is patchy or uncertain, assumptions are made to supplement the lack of information; assumptions that likely don’t reflect reality.

Deloitte find there is a lack consistency with supplier sustainability questions throughout the tendering process. The move from economically advantageous to long-term cost-benefit with inclusion of ESG requirements will change the way procurement teams manage supplier contracts going forward.

Improving the collation of data on water, energy usage and heat can allow institutions to make evidence-based decisions to create more sustainable practices. Ensuring that practices are compliant with ESG policies allows institutions to be held accountable for their operation performance and drive change.

Another solution is shifting IT infrastructure to deliver energy savings. For example using data centres that have green cooling systems and solar or wind power. Plus, modern infrastructures use more efficient technologies and architectures to improve productivity.

Defining and automating processes, including procurement and tendering processes, will ensure consistency across the organisation. This means HEIs can reduce the risk of selecting unsustainable suppliers as questioning and qualification is done automatically (as required). Not only can the process be streamlined to make it more efficient, but more effective with consistent creation of tenders, and business rules to qualify supplier responses. 

IBM Envizi is IBM’s answer to ESG reporting, allowing organisations to record, track, and monitor their energy and usage data. Envizi presents this data in consumable and adjustable screens to allow for report building and decision making based on real-time information.

Responsiv’s skills in integration means we can work with organisations to connect their systems and data directly to IBM Envizi (or their chosen ESG platform) so they can streamline ESG reporting. This data can be shared as necessary with supply chain partners and consumers as per sustainability regulations such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

Responsiv’s experience and expertise means we can help organisations design, build, deploy, and manage their automation and integration solutions. With a host of industry leading technologies and products at our disposal including the Responsic Cloud Automation Platform (RCAP) and IBM’s automation and integration suite.

Responsiv Cloud is hosted on tier 3 UK datacentres. This means they conform to the UK’s grading standards for datacentre security, sustainability, and continuity. Our Cloud offerings are flexible, allowing for scalability as necessary with value based pricing models.

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    Business Cost

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    The Higher Education industry, like many UK industries, is facing the cost increase crisis. This includes increased costs for:

      • Energy
      • Inflation on non-pay expenses
      • Increased staff costs (including salary and pension)
      • Student support services

    Whilst student fees are capped at £9,250 until 2024/25, there is the need to find other ways to supplement these cost increases. Higher Education institutions are needing to find ways to balance investment with reserves and deliverables. The demand for budget justification is increasing as institutions try to mitigate the risk of total budget expenditure.

    Understanding where costs are being spent and triaging, streamlining processes for business efficiency, and making intelligent investments for quick and sufficient return on investment will help Higher Education institutions manage their business costs.

    Cost savings can be made by simplifying processes and removing unnessesary tasks through automation.

    Many tasks are still done manually, but the introduction of automation tools such as RPA can remove manual labour for many administrative tasks. For example, automating accounts payable or dealing with invoices.

    Process automation can also decrease costs as less resources are used, both human and digital. For example in the admissions process, removing manual tasks and using digital onboarding will allow staff to focus on valuable work.

    Additionally, using third party support or managed services allows you to remove the need to hire in-house resources to manage any technical solution. Contracts can act on a credit-based model that allows organisations to utilise support when needed or use a subscription based model with managed services.

    Responsiv Unity and Responsiv Cloud platforms allow organisations to host process automation  and business rules software to maximise staff efficiency, mitigate risks associated with skills shortages (managed service), and deliver secure self-service capabilities to internal and external stakeholders.

    These solutions have been created to be cost-effective for organisations with no hidden fees when you want to scale your software. 

    Click here for more information on the Total Cost of Ownership for Responsiv Cloud Automation Platform

    Running these solutions as a managed service means we deploy, host, manage and support your environments on behalf of your organisation. Your end users get the benefit of software applications and processes on cloud, without worrying about having to support the skills in house.

    Responsiv Assist is our remote technical support offering. Credit-based, it can be utilised only when needed for software support – updrades and patches, training sessions, troubleshooting, license and certification monitoring, document reviewing, etc.

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      Technical Skills Shortage – Security

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      Cyber security isn’t a new thing. The high-profile nature of Higher Education institutions makes them a key target for hackers seeking low-effort, high-reward data and assets.

      Institutions have already committed significant investment into mitigating the risks of cyber crime, however the skills shortage makes it difficult to acquire and maintain technical skills to manage these risks.

      The diversity of digital transformation across the sector means there is a variety of institutions using either centralised or devolved controls. Devolved control increases the attack planes available for hackers to utilise, leaving institutions vulnerable to attack.

      Deloitte find that the “most common security vulnerabilities for the HE sector are in application security, endpoint security, and software and patching updates.” It is important that institutions manage their software estates efficiently to minimise the risks of cyber attacks.

      Shadow IT implemented by departments other than the central IT department (e.g., systems procured and used for research) can broaden the risk of attack by further widening the attack surface with unauthorised access points.

      Mitigating the shortage of technical cyber security skills in the higher education sector can come from the utilisation of managed services and third party support.

      Managed services are a way of outsourcing the responsibility and management of cyber security solutions. This means the supplier deploys, develops and manages the solution for you. Third party support offers the cybersecurity skills and support without permanent staff. This can relieve budgets as it is on a when needed basis.

      Another way to keep up with ever changing technologies and cyber security, institutions can use training and education to get staff up to speed. This will provide the required skills for institutions without having to recruit rare skills.

      Responsiv understand IT infrastructure architectures and how organisations can optimise their infrastructure to improve scalability, availability, and security. We can advise on best practices, and have security partners to conduct security and pen testing of customer systems.

      Responsiv offer managed services for our cloud platforms, including the Responsiv Cloud Automation Platform and the Responsiv Cloud. This means we manage all hosting, patching and monitoring. Responsiv take responsibility for administrative skills and ensure a timely and efficient service.

      Responsiv also has skills in IBM Guardium, an industry leading database secuirty solution. IBM Guardium allows you to acutely monitor your data with capabilities including access alerts based on file and user, as well as the ability to set up custom policies. We offer the skills to set up and maintain IBM Guardium through Responsiv Consulting as well as Responsiv Assist.

      Responsiv Assist provides remote technical support. Credit-based, it can be utilised only when needed for software support – upgrades and patches, training sessions, troubleshooting, license and certification monitoring, document reviewing, and more.

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