Time for a change?

By Chris Davies, Director for Transformational Change, Tribal

Change is a given. 

Change has become a consistent theme in higher education around the world. Successful management of change, however, remains a challenge for many organisations. 

Why Transformation? 

The dynamism of the HE environment puts a premium on getting change right – that is, making sure change is implemented in a timely way, but that it is also sustainable.

In our experience, achieving that means taking a comprehensive approach to change – understanding how technology, process, organisation and culture work together to achieve a result for today and for tomorrow. Taking this approach – a transformational approach – addresses many of the typical problems that we see in change programmes:


New technology and processes are introduced – but behaviour doesn’t change

How a transformation approach helps:

Culture can be powerful in defining behaviour – and transformation looks at how culture should change to enable behaviour change.


Programmes take longer to deliver than planned

How a transformation approach helps

Some programme delays are inevitable – but many arise from not being clear about scope and priorities. Transformation focuses on getting that clarity from the start.


Change doesn’t deliver the scale of benefit expected

How a transformation approach helps

Achieving benefits means understanding all the elements that contribute – and transformation recognises that real benefit comes when organisational, process and technology change are introduced together.


The organisation changes, but doesn’t keep pace with further change outside

How a transformation approach helps

Transformation helps universities develop the skills, tools and culture they need to become continuously improving organisations.

How to make Transformation happen

Managing a transformational approach to change need not take longer than a typical change programme – but it does depend on having a structured methodology.

Our approach suggests that there are five stages to a transformation exercise:

  • Vision and Strategy: understanding why transformation is needed, and what the institution will look like once the transformation programme is completed. This gives everyone an understanding of what is meant to be achieved, and why – which should provide a motivation to start the process.
  • Foundation: the Foundation process turns the vision into a concrete design for the future. The key activity at this point is developing a target operating model for the institution: a high-level design that describes how process, organisation and technology fit together to meet the vision.
  • Solution Design: having created the target operating model, the next stage is to detail each of the elements of that new model – from workflows that define the way processes get applied, to new job roles arising from a change in organisation, to detailed technology designs.
  • Delivery: the process of implementing the target operating model – including configuring and deploying technology – is simply described, but clearly forms the bulk of the project. Having invested enough time in the first three stages pays real dividends at this point, as it gives institutions a clear sense of what they are aiming to deliver – which is crucial when managing a complex and dynamic change programme.
  • Closure: the closure stage fulfils two purposes: it ensures there is a smooth transition from project to business as usual, and; it allows the institution to capture what it has learned from the project process. This helps to prepare for the process of continuous improvement that a transformation should help to kick off.

Tribal is currently helping a number of UK universities make the most of their investment in their student management system, looking at how people, process and organisation change can complement new technology.

We will be launching our latest White Paper and speaking about what transformation can mean for you at UCISA CISG-PCMG16.

W: www.tribalgroup.com


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