Focus workstream delivers planning dashboards

Image of the Inspiring Change brandingThe University’s Inspiring People: Changing the World strategy is the result of more than 100 hours of consultation events which engaged with more than 1,000 members of staff. The strategy sets out our vision to be a world-class, world-changing university – an ambition that requires a step-change in our culture and the way we work together.

The consultation events identified a number of actions we could take to move the University closer to our vision. These proposals broadly fell into three workstreams – Focus, Agility and Empowering People. This week, we take a closer look at the work of the Focus workstream.

Focus encompasses actions we need to take to identify our strengths as a University and ensure our resources are best deployed to support these. The workstream is chaired by Ann Allen, Director of Estates and Buildings, and Professor Neal Juster, Senior Vice-Principal. One of the key actions progressed by the Focus workstream since the publication of the strategy has been reform of the University’s strategic planning and budgeting cycle.

In the past, strategic planning and budgeting at Unit level was far removed from the overall strategy of the University: Units weren’t able to appreciate the contribution they could make to the bigger picture because it wasn’t as visible as it could be.


For 2015-16, a new launch event was piloted at the beginning of the planning and budgeting process which saw the Heads of Schools and Directors of Research Institutes come together to discuss and identify the strategic investment priorities for the next year; as a result, they had a much better understanding of the broader priorities of the University as they set their own budgets for the year. This kick-off event will be held again in the coming weeks.

The process was further enhanced by the introduction of Planning Dashboards. With 22 key performance indicators (KPIs) described within the new strategy encompassing everything from teaching to finance, staff satisfaction to the estate, it was difficult for Units to get a holistic overview of their performance.

The Focus workstream developed planning dashboards in response to these challenges – single page KPI performance summaries driven by benchmarking data from Planning and Business Intelligence’s QlikView business intelligence software – a data analysis solution which enables more granular, relevant and up-to-date information than ever before.

Following a successful pilot across a representative range of Units, the Dashboards are now being rolled out to all users for 2016-17. You can learn more about the Planning Dashboards on the Inspiring Change webpages and view real examples on the Planning and Business Intelligence webpage.

This story is only a small insight into just some of the positive activities happening throughout the University, and you can read others on the Success Stories webpages. If you have a story of positive change or innovation on any scale you would like to share, then please do get in touch.

Remember, there are also continuous opportunities available to offer further feedback and be a part of the on-going conversation. You can visit our Inspiring Change – Get Involved page to find out how!

First published: 4 October 2016

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