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Sector Spotlight: Unified service management and digital skills in our universities

20 February, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


Achieving digital acceleration in higher education

Modern higher education institutions are complex bodies with numerous departments, student groups, administrators, shared services and alumni organisations sharing hundreds of applications and legacy systems. This can result in inconsistent service experience across campus, longer wait times, lower CSAT and user dissatisfaction, compounded by funding issues and competitive pressures.

The maturity level for digitalisation is lower in many areas of higher education than in other sectors due to these legacy issues, and this can lead to a dangerous ‘digital lag’. However, for those universities and colleges that can grasp the user experience, operational and financial benefits of unified service and digital maturity, the advantages are very considerable.

This Spotlight brings together subject matter experts from across the sector to consider the unique challenges facing higher education:

  • Service management practices: which are most important to universities?
  • Unified service: how do we bring together the disparate elements of our legacy environments to provide genuine unified service management?
  • Digital skills: how do we prepare our upcoming student population with the right digital skills?
  • Tooling for the future: how do we provide digital acceleration within higher education in the most cost-effective way, using the tools and techniques that can best support tomorrow’s campuses?


Is there a good practice for IT service management in education?
Roman Jouravlev, PeopleCert and Akshay Anand, Atlassian

The problem of effective technology application in the educational environment is not new. About 25 years ago, Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) developed a free ITIL-based Framework for ICT support (FITS) addressed to educational institutions, from schools to universities. Many things have changed in technology, in service management, and in education since then. Today very few people remember FITS or Becta, and we keep discussing the role of technology in education, each time in a more complex context. Normally, the growing importance of technology is linked to the growing importance of effective technology management. Is this true in case of IT service management in universities? Is there a good practice guidance for IT service management in education? Which practices are particularly important in universities? And most importantly, what should we do to make education future-ready, safe, and accessible?

Why do we need so many systems?
Mark Temple, University of Glasgow and itSMF UK Regional Chair

Universities can be large, complex structures – often difficult to navigate physically, never mind digitally, so where possible can we unite our administration, finance, registry, student support, accommodation, library and IT functions on one platform and one portal? In this presentation, we discuss the breadth of challenges to deliver unified solutions for staff and students in a world of digital transformation.

Managing skills and expectations for the ‘digital native’
Mike Burns, University of Warwick and UCISA Support Service Group and Business Relationship Management Groups

The era of the traditional higher education support model is under challenge in a way never seen before. In moving to tertiary education, the student is embarking on a new stage in their digital skills journey; their digital experience, and indeed expectations, will have been set in their formative years long before arriving at College or University, and the two worlds can be poles apart. In this session, we consider the issues facing service management in this sector as we look to accommodate a student population whose digital literacy, confidence, and required support are sometimes at odds with the new environment that they are now entering. We also consider some widely held assumptions about the digital native which can have a significant impact on a ‘digital first’ and service design strategy for both students and staff.

Digital acceleration: taking the next step on the service management maturity curve
Nathan Hallam, Freshworks

Organisations in higher education that can grasp the real benefits of unifying their service management across the student experience, IT, HR, finance, and other core groups will be far more effective in growing their enrolment, maintaining their financial stability through simplification, and meeting student expectations of a strong return on their educational self-investment. Digital acceleration is key to achieving this goal. In this session we consider how and why organisations in higher education need to take the next step in their service management maturity. Utilising Gen AI to drive automation workflows, intelligent routing and seamless conversational experiences between chatbots and agents, we suggest how to select tools that are easy to adopt and to achieve quick time-to-value as we move towards the unified Campus of the Future.

Round table discussion: Where are you on the maturity curve, and where do you want to be?

Delivery Platform

This online event will be delivered using the Zoom platform.

How much does it cost?

Places are available to itSMF UK members and non-members for FREE.


This event is sponsored by



20 February
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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Online Delivery


itSMF Events Team
+44 (0)118 918 6500
View Organiser Website