Blog from Gavin Beere, Director of the Corporate Processes and Systems Programme

Gavin Beere leads the Corporate Processes and Systems Programme.

Gavin Beere, Programme Director, Corporate Processes and Systems

Blog 1: December 2022

It’s great to be able to share my first Blog with you as we start to build awareness of the work being done across the Transformation Office and within each of the programmes of change here at Leeds.

The Corporate Processes and Systems Programme… or CPS as we call it, is working to improve our colleague experience, developing and simplifying many of the systems we use in our daily working lives. The aim is to have as few of them as possible so we don’t have to navigate so many to do our jobs, introduce systems that have a common look and feel, and are really easy to use. We don’t want to set up new applications and then be left scratching our heads, working out how to use them. Ultimately, it’s about reducing the complexity and effort it takes to do some of our most common tasks.

So that’s the technology side of CPS – but the Programme is also focused on simplifying and standardising business processes, cleaning up our data and making it easier to transact, plan, forecast and report.

CPS is being driven by People & Culture, Finance and Purchasing, with support from IT, and input from other parts of the organisation. It’s no simple task. Before arriving at Leeds, I led a similar transformational programme at Yorkshire Water. Change on this scale is complex. The team is working hard to understand the systems and processes we currently use, where we need to get to, and how we get there.

I know the question everyone will be asking is what will change for me? Well, that depends on the role you’re in and the systems and processes you rely on. We have over 9,000 colleagues across our University and everyone, in some capacity, will see changes that will support you in your role. It might be as simple as the way you book time off work, manage your expenses or pay an invoice. It could be the way you collate data, forecast student numbers or how you record your performance and development needs. We also need to consider our suppliers and vendors, who will also see changes to ways they interact with us. 

We all have frustrations where we feel we’re spending too much time on certain tasks, because things don’t quite work as they should. Over the course of this year, we’ve been working with colleagues across People & Culture, Finance and Purchasing to look at the current processes within each of these Services, understand the pain points and how they could look in the future. It’s also really important that we hear from our academic communities and we’ve started conversations with our Faculty Operations Directors and Managers to build a genuine understanding of our colleagues’ needs. We recently introduced a new tool for Student Number Planning, which our Faculty colleagues are exploring ready for the next round of forecasting.

So, what’s next? We use a system called SAP for a lot of our transactional work. The University is currently on Release 3 of SAP, and we’ll be moving to the latest version, known as SAP S/4 HANA. To employ this technology, we’ll need some help – it’s a major undertaking and so we’re looking to get a delivery partner on board to support us with this. We expect to start delivering later in 2023 with the aim to complete it in 2025.

It feels like that’s a long time away, but there is a lot of work to do in the meantime. Alongside the technology, we’ll be focused on our processes and continuing to work with key groups across our communities to ensure we get this right. 

I’m looking forward to keeping you updated on progress and over time, there will be ways for you to get involved and learn more about the benefits the Programme will deliver. You might have seen details of a Transformation ‘Show & Tell’ event taking place on the 12th December. I’ll be coming along to talk more about CPS, so I hope to see many of you there.

Gavin Beere, Programme Director, Corporate Processes and Systems

Posted in: