New HERBi shared services tool seeks beta-testers

The HEFCE-funded ‘HERBi’ project, which will help institutions to understand the potential costs and savings of shared services arrangements, is almost ready for launch. And project manager Simon Perks is looking for volunteers to test the interactive tool before it goes live.

If you cast your mind back to the beginning of the year, you might recall that I wrote here about the early stages of the BRAM project. This was – and, indeed, still is – a HEFCE-funded project to measure, analyse and model the costs and benefits of collaboration between UK higher education institutions.

Drawing on the experience of Falmouth Exeter Plus, the shared services delivery partner of Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, the project sought to develop an interactive tool that institutions can use to understand the financial and non-financial impact of sharing different services in different ways.

You’ll be pleased to hear that the project has been progressing well. We’ve delved deep into the inner workings of shared services arrangements. We’ve modelled and re-modelled the costs, savings and benefits involved. And we’ve managed, thankfully, to ditch the rather dreary ‘BRAM’ in favour of the much more upbeat ‘HERBi’ – Higher Education Realisation of Benefits interactive tool, in case you were wondering.

Perhaps more excitingly, the IT team at Falmouth Exeter Plus have turned the initial Excel-based version of the model into an exciting and much more user-friendly web-based tool. Here’s a sneak peek of what it looks like:

And this is where I need your help. We’re putting the finishing touches to the online tool now. But before we click the button and make the website live, we’d really like a few people to have a go with it and tell us what you think. Is there anything that isn’t clear? Does anything not work as it should? Is there anything that we’ve forgotten?

Might you be able to spare a few minutes in the next couple of weeks to try out the tool and provide us with some feedback? If so, please drop me a line at or call me on 07903 523 839. It would be great to hear from you.

Simon Perks is project manager for the HERBi project and director of Sockmonkey Consulting, which provides research and consultancy services to organisations in the public, not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors.

Simon Perks
Founder and director of Sockmonkey Consulting