Over the last year, we've seen universities explore their challenges and opportunities through a future-focused lens. Strategic development, process review and student experience have all been high on institutions’ priorities. Throughout this year’s Annual Review, you'll see how we have been working in partnership with institutions across the UK – and internationally.

Whether it is exploring your target operating model to ensure your university is financially fit for the future, helping you embrace digital transformation, optimising your student journey, or helping you take practical steps to achieve carbon net zero, we are here for you.

Read the full SUMS Consulting Annual Review 2022-23

What’s covered in the SUMS Consulting Annual Review?

Table to show contents of SUMS Consulting Annual Review 2022-2023

What are the key takeaways from the review?


Faced with their own strategic ambitions, greater regulation from the Office for Students and the challenging financial climate, universities must implement robust planning at both a macro and micro level.


Universities recognise that people change, including behaviours, practices and choices, is at the core of the bigger picture of transformational change.

Organisation Design

Many institutions have begun to build some sort of OD function but the sector lacks expertise and dedicated resources. Universities now need to develop a more strategic OD skillset to truly deliver cross-institutional transformation.

Student experience

Institutions need to get better at using technology to facilitate a seamless, positive experience for students.

Curriculum delivery

For universities to continue to flourish as dynamic centres of knowledge, academic portfolios, teaching and learning methods and
curriculum delivery must evolve.

Mental health and wellbeing

Across the sector, there has been an increase in demand for student support and mental health services as well as more students presenting with complex mental health difficulties. This has led to higher risk concerns about the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of
other students and of staff supporting the students.

Digital transformation

Successful deployment of digital solutions is about more than the technology itself. Institutions must be mindful of the impact of their culture on processes, policies and new ways of working.

Social value

Universities need to understand what social value looks like in their context and how they contribute most effectively to shared goals rooted in economic and societal purpose.


Many universities have made significant progress on their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by focusing on campus footprint and fuel consumption. They are now looking at their approach to tackling Scope 3, the vast majority of which comes from procurement supply chains and business travel.

How have SUMS Consultants supported HE leaders in 2022-23?

  • Providing coaching in effective internal engagement and communication
  • Establishing more meaningful use of student records and data to support the student journey
  • Providing bespoke benchmarking and insight into comparator institutions across the globe
  • Implementing and supporting programme governance
  • Helping to build a focus on employee experience and organisational culture
  • Reviewing communication methods and formats that work for students, using the technology that they expect and use in all areas of their lives
  • Engaging with various departments to understand the cultural dynamics and how this might influence digital innovation and adoption
  • Informing strategic decisions about how to make the most sustainable use of their estate, now and in future capital plans

Download the SUMS Consulting Annual Review: Designing a better future for HE

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