News article

Posted by Rachel Fielding PM | on Wed, 08/02/2012 - 10:53  1134

FE colleges increasingly keen on sharing services - survey

Demand for shared services is set to increase as research reveals ‘cost-cutting’ and ‘increasing efficiency’ are key priorities for the further education sector.
An poll of over 270 financial directors at FE institutions across the UK highlights growing interest in how collaborative strategies and Cloud-based technology can contribute to lowering costs and increasing efficiencies.
Around half of the finance directors interviewed said that their top goal over the next 12 months would be ‘cost-cutting’ and ‘increasing efficiency’ to cope with budget and funding cuts. According to the study, 13% of colleges were actively looking at shared services, while 11% were investigating how Cloud-based technologies could be used.   
It also revealed that there are still areas where system functionality could help with financial control. A fifth of colleges surveyed said they did not have the tools or resources internally to understand which courses were profitable, and to measure the true cost of delivery.
Sales and Operations Director at supplier Symmetry, the firm behind the study, Julian Sayer, thinks the reason is clear: “Shared Services isn’t just about technology - it is about making life easier for finance teams by shouldering the burden of day-to-day responsibilities and delivering these in a more cost-effective manner.”

The study reiterates findings of the latest IT Trends 2012 report from local government ICT leadership body Socitm, which found that the top areas of efficiency programmes for the public sector are shared services and self-service.