In the higher education sector, industry engagement is becoming increasingly vital for the success of Australia’s university students, and academics alike.
During a recent speech to the national press club, Chair of Universities Australia Professor Margaret Gardner AO calculated that university-industry collaboration already “generates over nineteen-billion dollars a year.”
Citing new modelling from Cadence Economics, Professor Gardner explained “boosting university-industry engagement through an extra 8,000 university-business collaborations could add up to ten-billion dollars to the Australian GDP.”
Uniquely Placed To Grasp This Opportunity
Luckily for the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), we’re a step ahead of the curve, an integral building block of our success has been to be outward looking and focused on partnering with industry. Our reputation among leaders in business, the professions and government is that UTS has the most industry-focused approach of all Sydney metropolitan universities.
More than ever, UTS is committed to preparing and supporting our graduates to succeed in the future workforce; driving innovation and entrepreneurship; and delivering impactful research.
As the world and future of work changes, UTS is transforming its delivery of learning and teaching. Rather than simply preparing graduates to enter the workforce, UTS will build upon its excellence in teaching and learning, research with impact and close links to industry, to support people throughout their whole career and lifetime of learning.
Collaboration with our external partners will be at the core of our education and research. UTS will create a seamless and inspiring experience for all its partners, large or small, public or private, to help them build and create the attributes they need in their own workforce, including innovation, creativity and the responsible use of technology.
Our Corporate Relations Centre
That’s why the UTS Corporate Relations Centre was established in 2016, to explore new ways we could revolutionise the way we cultivate, manage and grow our strategic partnerships. The centre’s initial remit was to audit existing partnerships, establish a partnership framework and risk assessment protocols, and improve the data on all future relationships.
However, as the team began auditing, something became glaringly evident; harnessing the vast amounts of data we already had was going to be a massive push for our smaller unit. To extract the best value from our existing data, with the restricted resources we had, we decided to implement a Partnership CRM system.
Approaching Sqware Peg
We engaged Sqware Peg in September 2017 to help us implement a Salesforce CRM to manage our Corporate Relations function. Sqware Peg took the time to understand our requirements and we were able to come up with a practical approach together. From our first meeting to having a new, Salesforce-based CRM in November 2017, it only took 2 months to implement, with another month of concentrated training across the UTS partnership network. Since going live, the UTS Corporate Relations team has provided ongoing training to existing and new CRM licence holders across the network and leverage Sqware Peg’s wealth of experience in maintaining adoption levels.
We previously managed our relationships with Corporate Partners via a traditional, ad-hoc mix of email and spreadsheet programs, which made it hard to quickly deliver responses or value for our existing partners and internal stakeholders, as well as hinder our potential to attract potential partners.
Sqware Peg has now equipped us with a single view dashboard, where we can instantly and automatically track partner engagement.
This automation has dramatically increased productivity by removing the majority of the data entry and gathering tasks from our Corporate Relations team. Now with less grunt work on their plate, they’re free to focus on more important work, like better identifying potential strategic partners, and helping to strengthen the partnership network across the university.
Equipped For The Future
It’s still early days, and we’re only just beginning to tap into the full potential of the Salesforce system that Sqware Peg has installed for us. However, it has already provided us with a system to help track and manage strategic partnerships, relationships and engagements, and create transparency across the UTS partnership network. It’s also helping to mitigate the risk associated with multiple uncoordinated approaches to partners/industry contacts. The true impact is allowing us to measure the value/success of an existing relationship, both with financial and non-financial metrics and improve the professionalism of our reporting both internally and externally.
At the moment, 78.3 percent of UTS Australian-resident undergraduates find full-time employment four months after completion. Now, with a better focus on our relationships across relevant industries, that number is set to rise.
And if more universities start to do the same, we will collectively achieve those extra 8,000 university-industry collaborations faster to help add that extra ten-billion dollars to the Australian GDP.