The Saxion Value Chain: A Student Focused Organisation
Helping students succeed is the number one priority for any institution. However, good lecturers and high quality courses are not enough to help your students. You need proper communication, access to information, help and support, and more. Departments like IT can no longer be the ‘black box’ of the organisation, they need to be involved now more than ever. “I requested something and something completely different came out of this ‘black box’ that is called business support”, says Sandra van Dieren, now Manager Business Support at Saxion University of Applied Sciences.
When it comes to ensuring the best results, there are two key components any organisation needs to consider. The first component is the way of working: how do different parts of the same organisation work together? The second component is about the main focus: what is the most important input for the organisation in any project? At Saxion University of Applied Sciences, they figured out the best way to do this. “We needed to get both sides of the organisation aligned. IT is not able to deliver what faculties need if they do not work together”, says Sandra.
In an effort to sort the first component, the organisation was structured as a chain, with students at the end of it. Robin Hidding, Director Business Support, states: “Any changes and innovations are driven by students. With their needs and wants, it is up to us to decide whether or not it fits within the limits of the possibilities for us.” All pieces within that chain are to add value, eventually for the students. It is this best-in-class structure that enables Saxion to innovate and help students in doing so.
“We did not work as transparently as we should”, says Sandra. “In the past, everyone would just work in the way they were used to. It would result in something that was unusable. Now, every person or department that owns a piece of the chain, knows exactly what happens before it is their turn, and what happens after they have turned it over to the next person or department in the chain. This way, we are able to work together towards the best end result.”
All across Saxion, the main focus is on students and their success. “Everything we do is in some way or another aimed at helping our students succeed”, Sandra says. “As long as everyone in our chain understands the end goal, we are able to provide our students with everything they need.” It is this way of working that will secure the best experience for students, but it is also the best way to get the organisation aligned, according to Robin.
“Everyone within Saxion is doing something that affects students. They are the ones responsible for providing students with the information they need, optimal communication and the best possible education. When those people understand the ‘what’s in it for me’ for everything we do within IT, changes are adopted best and students reap the benefits”, he concludes.