Providing a quality higher education experience requires efficiency across all of an institution’s levels. Key to this is the effectiveness of an institution’s administrative processes. We examine how these processes impact an institution across its operational departments as well as identify ways to improve these procedures below.
What is the administrative process?
To understand how to improve a higher education institution’s administrative processes and procedures, we first need to understand what these processes are. Administrative processes refer to the tasks that keep a business running. In simple terms, this means aligning and streamlining administrative functions that include human resources, finance, and faculties, in order to achieve set out business objectives and goals. Administrative processes examples include the planning, organising, staffing, directing, co-ordinating, reporting and budgeting across the various functions of the business.
What is an administrative structure?
For the administrative process to run efficiently and effectively, a formal structure needs to be put in place. This entails creating a hierarchy of authority which is often referred to as an administrative structure. This organisational structure can be defined as a pattern or network of positions that exist within the institution and among its various stakeholders.
This structure has the specific goal of defining the roles and responsibilities that are assigned to each stakeholder with the aim of removing obstacles related to the performance by reducing any uncertainty. This ensures that each person knows what they are working towards, understands their roles, tasks and what is expected of them.
With this hierarchy in place and the roles and responsibilities defined, it is much easier to make decisions around administrative functions, define objectives and effectively plan how to meet these. In this way, the administrative processes will run efficiently and in line with the set-out outcomes and goals.
How to improve administrative processes
From the above, it is clear that administrative processes are essentially the backbone of how an institution is run. With these processes filling such a critical role, we need to be asking how to improve these processes so that they work even better? The answer lies in:
- Utilising technology to implement electronic administration software that helps to automate processes rather than using out of date paper-based systems.
- Work towards streamlining administrative processes to reduce any administrative complexities.
- Speak to your stakeholders and invite them to assist with building a solution that fits the institution and their needs.
- Encourage engagement and change management within the institution.
- Work towards creating a working environment focused on improving processes.
Strategies for effective administrative management
To make the improvements mentioned above there are a number of different and effective administrative management strategies that can be put into place. These include:
- Budget control and cost management – these two elements are critical to the success of an institution which is why it is essential to have an effective strategy to plan budgets, manage risks, report on activities, and identify cost management solutions.
- Change control and management – for change management to be successful across all departments and levels within the institution there needs to be a strategy for managing, budgeting, implementing and evaluating change.
- Delegation – delegation reduces bottlenecks and aims to streamline the administrative side of an institution. When delegating you need to assign responsibilities and roles within the team and when the tasks need to be achieved by.
- Goal setting – it is essential to outline clear goals for employees and departments and define specific targets across administrative departments. This provides clear objectives to work towards.
- Leadership development – work towards equipping your team members with the skills needed to develop and improve themselves. This allows you to ensure that you have people who are able to step up into leadership positions when the time comes.
- Performance management – for a business to be successful it is important to monitor and manage performance and in doing so, provide feedback and direction to team members so that there is goal alignment.
- Problem management – refers to the process of identifying any problems, challenges, or setbacks, investigating these and proposing solutions to fix the problems.
- Transparency – this is key and a large part of this is providing accurate information, in the form of reports, to both employees and the public.
Benefits beyond improving efficiency in higher education administration with ERP
Technology today, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, are being used across higher education institutions to ensure that there are effective administrative processes in place. These specialised and built for purpose ERP systems assist in managing administrative processes so that they are simpler to execute. One such example of this type of software solution is Adapt IT Education’s ITSIntergrator system.
This solution aims to streamline administrative processes by facilitating the free flow of communication between different business areas, so that there is a single source of accurate information that can be accessed and reported on in real-time. Access to this data and information provides enhanced visibility over all administrative elements and assists in facilitating quality decision making. Other benefits of utilising this software include:
- Facilitating efficient workflows.
- Ensuring compliance to statutory requirements, including audit trail.
- Saving on time and resources through automation where manual processes which used to take hours to complete, such as reporting, can now be done within minutes.
- Easy access to insights related to staff retention, hiring, skills development, finances, accounting, and more which assists in cost management.
- Allows employees to access self-service portals on their own which reduces time spent trying to get information from other staff.
Many higher education institutions are turning to technology to help automate and streamline administrative processes with the aim of effectively managing costs, enhancing decision making, and reducing administrative complexities. ERP systems, like ITSIntegrator, are successfully managing this process and are assisting higher education institutions in providing a quality service experience to all stakeholders.