Circle Case study

University of Bath improve student outcomes through Synergy4

Helping universities' to adapt and evolve while delivering high quality education

For universities, the past few years have brought funding caps and freezes, a shift in the political landscape and an increased pressure to adapt to the changing needs of new students. In March 2019, a new government report was released proposing a number of changes that mean universities are under further pressure to adapt and evolve in delivering that quality education.

The challenge

Bringing in new students and improving the retention and graduation rates are all areas which are intrinsically linked to a university’s costs and funding. With this in mind, the University of Bath went to tender for a costing solution that would allow them to go beyond TRAC and take a more advanced approach to costing analysis.

Up to this point, the finance team at Bath University had been running costing activity on Excel spreadsheets, meaning the process was very manual, time consuming, and the output was kept simple. While the simplicity meant it was easy to change, the volume of time spent on processing the data meant there was little, or none left to spend on gathering insightful analysis.

Their objective was to implement a solution that would give a more granular view, better insight and enable future improvements. The ability to calculate exact costs of modules, teaching and research, Bath believed would ultimately allow for more effective and strategic decisions at the board level.

The solution

CACI had been appointed by Bath University as a result of the tender and proposed Synergy 4 as the best solution to realise the changes and insight Bath was looking for. Synergy 4 would enable strategic decision making and produce clear actionable insights across the institution.

For many universities, this detailed level of costing analytics was still relatively new, however this wasn’t a new concept for CACI. The business intelligence team had been delivering Synergy across the UK in the NHS for years, to allow them to cost at a patient level for their regular mandated submissions.

Alongside Synergy were Microsoft Power BI visualisations, to enable Bath to not just calculate costs at the module level, but to produce accessible and digestible reports that could be easily used to support accurate decision making at many levels of the university. This would create a positive change for Bath, to see their TRAC submission summaries transformed into detailed reports that allowed for full clarity at a deep dive level.

Outcomes for Bath University

Since implementing this solution, the university have seen a number of benefits. At a localised level the manual processes have been eliminated, meaning the finance team are able to focus on deep dive financial analysis, allowing for key insights to be derived from the data.

Bath University can now make confident data driven decisions, knowing they have all the information. They are able to consider all of the data driving cost and income, not just the top levels of activity. This has allowed them to identify opportunities to improve their model and make recommendations for changes that will support delivering better education options for students.

Synergy continues to provide insights for Bath which generate conversations and action plans across the University into what the next improvement for students will be.

With this information Bath now have insight that allow them to make data driven decisions such as:

  • Course mix changes
  • Competitive price setting for non-regulated fees
  • Benchmarking against other universities
  • Maximising use of their estate across the whole campus

Find out more details about CACI’s costing solution Synergy, or read more about our work with universities in implementing business intelligence and data insight solutions.