Dear Ask Executive,
In the HE sector, Staffordshire University is surely an isolated example when it comes to not having an intranet. Provision of internal information appears to be divided among various semi-official and unofficial channels, many of which are available to the outside world, thus exposing much of our internal content to the public, and making it very difficult to establish what is and isn’t out of date.
Given the IT resources at our disposal, why does the University not just have an intranet?
The term Intranet covers a multitude of different technologies and approaches to communication and collaboration, Staffordshire University already provide many intranet features including a student facing portal and web 2.0 tools such as wikis for group working that do not expose content to the general public. Colleagues in Marketing also monitor and maintain the institutional presence on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The University is currently considering options to effectively enhance its services to staff and students in this area in order to better meet their needs in the increasingly mobile centric world.
We would encourage staff who notice content that is out of date, to report it to the page owner so that it can be updated.
Some time ago I aired my concerns about the removal of cigarette bins from outside University buildings. The vision that greets visitors to the University’s main reception in Cadman of hundreds of discarded cigarette butts on the newly laid pavement isn’t doing much to demonstrate civic pride, given the many thousands of pounds of public money that has gone into improving the streetscape. Will the University Executive as a matter of urgency reconsider this short sighted decision as it is clear that you will not change the habits of the smokers.
The University no smoking policy prohibits smoking within 5m of buildings. This is for fire safety as well as to stop smoke from drifting in through doors and windows. Where we have smoking bins on campus, these should be sited at least 5m from buildings in compliance with the policy but on College Road the pavement immediately outside Cadman belongs to the Council so we can’t place smoking bins here.
Smoking waste is a problem in a number of areas, despite the domestic team sweeping up first thing every morning. We are currently reviewing our bins in conjunction with the landscaping design team and we are also looking at ways in which we can deal with smoking waste while supporting our no smoking policy.
I am interested in knowing how Exec views the success of the CRM system since its launch.
Are there plans to implement further guidance to staff on the importance of actively using the system? From my experience some colleagues who are managing external relationships do not update or use the CRM system at all, so I wondered how successfully as a university exec thinks we are using our CRM system to ensure that we understand and meet the on-going needs of our customers?
The CRM system which launched in 2011 has had varied uptake across the university. There is a network of user groups established who are responsible for cascading CRM throughout the university. Certain teams have clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of having a CRM system, notably, Recruitment, Admissions, Marketing and ECD , who have all realised its benefits.
As we introduce the Student Systems project, we will need to review how CRM is being used and the scope of its operations. This will be the case with other software systems we operate within the University. Consequently there may be some changes in the future to both the role and remit of the CRM system. These decisions will be made following detailed analysis and involvement of key people who use those systems.
It is clear that there needs to be a process in which we capture and maximise all our external contacts in a robust way.
In the meantime, if staff require re-training please contact Eleanor Newman who will advise who in your area will be able to assist.