University of Central Lancashire (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 2197-2203
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has a strong focus on employer engagement supported by its business facing unit UCLan Innovation & Enterprise. This team supports engagement with industry through research and consultancy, IP development, business incubation, and student internships. It has a wide range of business contacts in all sectors including public sector and charities, and works with many other partners in HE, FE and beyond.

The University sees the need to build upon its successes in working with businesses, transforming many aspects of its externally facing activities to address new challenges in the HE environment and to become more customer focussed. It has invested in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to act as both a database of activity and a means of maintaining communications with its business contacts and the wider business and community sector. The CRM system chosen also links to the current and past (alumni) student record database and so has a wealth of information on company sponsorship and employment of our graduates.

As a University we need to review our ways of working and become more aware of how to utilise the multiple links, connections and networks that our institution has with the external world. We have engaged in a project supported by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) in the UK to benefit from experience and resources in the Higher Education sector while improving the service we give to external business and understand better the different methods of interaction employed.

CRM is a powerful tool to provide support and underpinning to the transformation that we want to achieve in our Business and Community Engagement (BCE) work. It can help us to record, analyse and report on our activities with business, and to identify how to do this more effectively. In addition CRM lays the basis on which to build a quality assurance system for BCE work as customer satisfaction can be registered on the system and reviewed.

Key drivers:
• Information for management and evidence of value added by partnering with organisations in business and the community.
• Better targeting of services to those organisation most likely to benefit and increased volume of sales through cross-selling
• Improved quality of service to the external organisations
• Evidence of added value to the student experience through internships and live projects

• There is increasing recognition across the University that CRM offers an opportunity to provide better customer service to our external contacts whether they be stakeholders, business contacts, employers or alumni (or any combination of these).
• A CRM system has been commissioned and is in use for student recruitment. It has been customised for work with external organisations.
• Important issues such as sharing of data on business contacts have been aired and while there is not complete resolution of all of the issues, the University is in a better position to take CRM forwards.
Customer Relationship Management, CRM, business, community, higher education, contacts, organisation, quality assurance, information, internship, live project.