Administrative Unit Functional Diagnostics

Assess maturity and urgency for critical administrative unit capabilities

To help CBOs and administrative unit leaders better understand their units’ operational and strategic maturity, the Business Affairs Forum has launched functional maturity diagnostics for four administrative functions: Facilities, Information Technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), and Procurement.

For each function, we've included a complete list of questions, an overview of the diagnostic, and a sample customized data report.

Note: Business Affairs Forum members can log in at any time to use the tool.

How is EAB's functional diagnostic different from other benchmarking efforts?

While there are no shortage of maturity benchmarking surveys, Forum members noted that past efforts have fallen short in three critical ways:

  • Non-industry-specific maturity diagnostics fail to consider the complexities of higher education.
    Previous surveys too often focused on basic categories, leaving out major considerations for campus functions. For these diagnostics, EAB worked with CBO’s and campus unit leaders and their teams to identify key competencies of a high-performing Facilities, IT, HR, and Procurement functions in higher education.
  • Administrative Functional Reviews (AFRS) are time- and labor-intensive.
    A full AFR cycle of all units can take 3-5 years, which hinders prioritization efforts and resource allocation decisions. AFRs also provide broad, high-level information rather than actionable detail or prescriptive next steps. Comparatively, EAB’s short diagnostics represent a quick evaluation method and prescribe clear next steps for improvement.
  • Input benchmarks do not provide guidance on how to improve unit performance.
    Staffing levels and department budgets are highly dependent on institutional idiosyncrasies. For example, if more unit tasks are completed by decentralized support staff, there may be fewer staff in the central admin units, creating “apples-to-oranges” comparisons. Moreover, while quantifiable benchmarks such as staffing, unit budget, or spend numbers may help CBOs make a political case to defend against further cuts, they do not provide direction on how to best use or redeploy resources. EAB’s diagnostics provide clear insight into administrative unit performance gaps, which allows leaders to target improvements in high-priority areas.

What information will we need to provide? How long will it take to complete?

For each of the capabilities identified by EAB, you will need to identify a maturity level. Our model stakes out a highly mature ambition at Level 4 and provides a baseline for acceptable performance at Level 1. Levels 2 and 3 describe steps in the interim stages and may be subject to some interpretation.

We also ask you to identify how important each capability will be to your campus within the next three years. Together, this combination of maturity and urgency will help identify gaps in current performance and support prioritization efforts on your campus.

What will I get for completing the survey?

You will receive a customized report benchmarking results from your institution against other members of the Business Affairs Forum and like units across North America.


Three models for the cost-quality relationship

Want to learn more about the diagnostics?

You can find additional information in our EAB's Procurement Functional Diagnostic.

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