The Jisc Cetis site is now archived. The current Cetis site is available at: Between 2006 and 2013 the Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards was a Jisc funded service supporting Jisc Innovation programmes with events, publications and blog posts. Cetis now undertakes projects and research for a number of clients and partners. Cetis is based at the University of Bolton.

Relationship Management: Good Practice, Process Mapping and the CRM Self Analysis Framework

1. CRM Process and Good Practice

This site has been developed by the University of Nottingham via funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). It contains a self-analysis framework - encompassing guides, insights, research and tools - designed to help HEIs work through their approach to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).


It is clear from previous work done by the KSA Partnership 2007, and from talking directly to a wide range of institutions, that CRM is largely in its infancy within the education sector.

The KSA Partnership study of CRM issues in UK Higher and Further Education concluded that "CRM implementation in Business and Community Engagement (BCE) within HE institutions is still underdeveloped, typified by ‘islands’ of CRM with little connection, the main barriers being cultural (resistance to change), peripheral (multiple narrowly-focused operations, multiple partner/client types), and procedural and system/data related (migration/change)". This was in sharp contrast to the use of CRM within some private sector organisations.

Thus, it was concluded that if institutions were to meet the expectations of business, employers and the community then there was a need for greater consistency,greater integration and more client focused systems and processes.This self-analysis framework has been produced as part of the recommendation from these findings that JISC produce tools to "enable institutions to map, assess, and enhance their approach to CRM across the institution, driven by their BCE strategy" (JISC Circular 03, 2008).

Further background details for the project are available.

The Self Analysis Framework

What became very clear early on in the production of the framework was that there was very little in the literature upon which to draw in terms of good CRM practice within the education sector. There were no templates that had been tried and tested within HEIs or FECs. There were no definitive checklists; no worked examples. We have attempted to compensate for this by providing high level guidance (drawing upon previous JISC documentation) plus some more general examples from other sectors.

At the more specific level we have drawn upon the experiences and lessons learned by those institutions that have progressed some way down the route of CRM implementation and have been kind enough to share those experiences with us. In fact, consultations about CRM implementation were held with thirteen Higher Education Institutions, four Further Education Colleges as well as project managers from two consortium projects which together involved another nine Further Education Colleges. Their input was used to inform the main sections of the self-analysis framework. Sometimes the information they provided is included as direct quotes and sometimes as top tips. Often it is those ‘Top Tips’ that reflect most closely the real experience of CRM implementation!

Where the information is more detailed it can be accessed via hyperlinks from the relevant section. Hyperlinks are also used to access broader examples of CRM implementations in other industries. A link is also provided to a detailed report entitled ‘Process Maps’ which was another key deliverable of this project. The report overviews a number of process maps from a range of HEIs revealing key BCE processes supported by CRM systems. The HEIs included are at different stages of maturity concerning CRM adoption. It also includes suggestions of how an institution at one level of maturity might move to the next level.

This self-analysis framework is aimed primarily at those HEIs that are at the very early stages of CRM implementation. However, it is hoped that there will be information included that will be of value also to those institutions who are seeking to review their CRM systems and to improve their current processes.

We have employed the use of JISC definitions - of peripheral, tactical and strategic - to describe CRM maturity levels in the sector. However, reference will also be made to the KSA Partnership report, which termed the maturity models as operational, tactical and strategic.

You can either work logically through the different sections of the framework, or choose individual sections, depending on your requirements. Click the links below to view a summary of the section's contents and a link to view more information.


What is CRM?

Click to reveal information

The needs of HEIs and FECs

Click to reveal information

Who are your customers?

Click to reveal information

Where are you now?

Click to reveal information

Are you ready for change?

Click to reveal information

Process mapping

Click to reveal information

Which CRM?

Click to reveal information