Benchmarking is recognised as a valuable tool for the evaluation and contextualisation of organisational performance. It helps to formulate and frame the right questions and this enables greater focus on priorities for further assessment and better use of scarce resources.
The UK higher education sector faces a period of unprecedented change with major shifts in patterns of funding. To respond effectively the sector will need accurate, timely and insightful business intelligence to support strategic planning, operational optimisation and to drive out inefficiencies. Benchmarking is a relatively untapped resource with significant potential to support the delivery of genuine business benefits for the sector.
HESA undertook a project which aimed to build capacity and capability within the UK HE sector to undertake and gain business benefits from benchmarking activities. It comprised a number of inter-related objectives and actions in the areas of developing and sharing knowledge and good practice, establishing senior management engagement and drive, developing methodologies, tools and frameworks, mapping data sources for benchmarking and learning from the experiences of other sectors.
The project had key links with the Universities UK Efficiency and Modernisation project and to the JISC Business Intelligence workstream. HESA worked with activities and groups across the sector to ensure alignment of goals and reduce the risks of duplication of effort.
The project completed in August 2012 with the launch of the HESA/JISC Benchmarking InfoKit.