HR efficiencies could bring £140million in benefits for higher education

Universities working to reduce their costs under increasing budget pressures could save around £1million each – the equivalent of more than 25 lecturers' salaries – every year through IT efficiency improvements, according to one of the UK’s leading higher education software specialists.

Universities spend more than 50% of their annual income on staff costs. Effective HR management and staff development, supported by the implementation of appropriate technologies, is crucial to achieving cost reductions according to SAP consultancy Absoft.

Using data from more than 4,000 SAP benchmarking participants and its own sector knowledge, Absoft estimates that the combined benefits of implementing SAP HR and Payroll across the 115 universities in the UK higher education sector could amount to at least £140 million. That’s a potential benefit of around £1million per institution.

Matthew Gordon, sales manager at Absoft, says: "By adopting integrated systems to manage administrative activities, such as HR and Payroll, universities can eliminate manual processing and improve staff productivity.

"This can go a long way to helping them achieve their budget cuts, without severely impacting the delivery of their core remit – teaching and research.

"What is important to note is that the benefits Absoft is forecasting come through improvements in HR and payroll process efficiency, rather than by reducing the university's headcount. Our analysis also demonstrates impressively quick payback periods on the initial investment in the system."

Absoft has also introduced a shared service delivery option, which further reduces the costs of running HR and payroll processes. This offers major cost and energy savings as it is hosted on servers at Absoft’s UK data centre rather than on-campus, which can then be remotely accessed by staff anywhere.

"Shared services such as these reduce outlay on on-site technology and skills, which improves the university's carbon footprint as well as simplifying operations for staff accessing the service," Matthew Gordon explains.

For universities interested in finding out how they could benefit from implementing an SAP HR and Payroll solution, Absoft is currently offering a free business case.

Absoft will be showcasing its on-site and shared service HR and Payroll solutions at the UCISA (Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association), which takes place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from 23 to 25 March 2011.