Higher Education Leaders Talk Revenue, Workload Constraints at Advisory Board Meeting

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When you gather Chief Procurement Officers from the nation’s leading colleges and universities together to discuss procurement trends in higher education, you can expect to fill up a lot of flip charts.

That’s exactly what happened when JAGGAER convened its Higher Education Customer Advisory Board (CAB) on April 18. The group shared their insights on how Higher Education trends impact procurement teams and the role technology can play to assist them in making a greater strategic contribution on their respective campuses.

In order to provide strategic value, technology must support lean work processes and the ability to manage ‘big data’ in creative ways that move people toward actions that benefit the university community. Greater influence and respect is never given, it must be earned. Leveraging technology tools is an essential step in the right direction.

Other highlights from the session:

University revenue sources are increasingly constrained 

The industry is likely in the beginning stages of significant changes in the way colleges and universities conduct business. Other industries have experienced similar transformations, most notably healthcare, where the role of the chief procurement or supply chain officer has become increasingly important.

This trend may play out in higher education. In the interim, there is a strong desire by CAB participants to increase their value to executive teams and become trusted business advisors and strategic partners.

Workload capacity is a critical constraint 

The ability to do meaningful work and to be of service to customers is limited by the number of FTEs employed and their available work hours. The efficiency by which procurement teams operate is an important factor in growing workload capacity without adding people. This ‘efficiency factor’ can either be a force multiplier or a drag on productivity.

It is incumbent on leadership to do everything in their power to provide the tools and environment necessary to create a force multiplier effect. JAGGAER technology tools can play an essential role in supporting efficient work processes and reducing the impact of this constraint.

Now is the time to improve and invest

The smartest investments right how are ones that focus on work processes and tools that support important strategic pursuits, such as:

  • Strategic category spend management, especially in non-traditional areas;
  • Building strategic relationships with suppliers and internal customers;
  • Building a culture of continuous improvement;
  • Solving critical customer issues;
  • Developing talent; and
  • Advancing data analytics capabilities to the point where behavioral changes occur.

Insights like these play a critical role in informing JAGGAER’s product innovation roadmap.

Jim Knight is President of Stonebridge Ventures, Inc., a leading professional services firm focused solely on enhancing the role of procurement in supporting the strategic goals of higher education institutions.

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