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Head of Core Systems Optimisation Team (CSOT)

Finance Office

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 16th Sep 2021
  • Salary: £51,799 to £60,022, with potential progression once in post to £78,265
  • REF: 36177
  • Closes: 30th September 2021
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time

Job summary

The Head of CSOT reports to the Finance Director and works closely with the Director of HR and the Chief Information Officer (together CSOT Oversight) to provide direction and leadership for the delivery of, and ongoing enhancement to Core Systems comprising Oracle, Worktribe and Taleo, which underpin the activities of the University. The effective operation of these systems supports the University’s ambitious plans to grow income, control costs, enhance efficiency and digitise transactional processing as part of improvements in key performance indicators and industry benchmarking.

The Core Systems require constant review such that the processes and applications are continually assessed for suitability and fitness for purpose and that the software is fully leveraged to provide maximum value to the University. It is the responsibility of the role holder to lead the Core Systems Optimisation Team, (CSOT) in association with CSOT Oversight to achieve this through development and enhancements; quarterly release management; stabilising and optimising the build and operational effectiveness of Core; co-ordinating and delivering end-user support and training; and overseeing the work of the Managed Support Provider and other 3rd party suppliers.

Building productive relationships with key stakeholder groups, both internally and externally, is a key element of the role to ensure that activities are aligned with University strategies and opportunities maximised. Key internal relationships will be with system champions and super users; College Directors of Operation and senior members of other Professional Services functions.

External relationships will include the Oracle and User Groups to ensure best practice is identified and shared.

Role and responsibilities

Direction and leadership

  • As part of Finance Leadership Group contribute to the development and delivery of Finance Strategy and day to day operations
  • The role-holder will lead the development, delivery and evaluation of the University’s Core Systems. They will be responsible for developing and delivering the strategic plans for the University’s Core systems and will be accountable for ensuring the University meets both internal (e.g. University strategy and customer service needs) and external requirements (e.g. legal changes), and benefits from the latest technological developments in systems.
  • The role holder will lead the CSOT team and shape Core systems to meet current and future needs of the University
  • The role holder will initiate and establish system enhancements and developments through appropriate consultation (for example, with internal University customers)
  • Providing strategic and operational advice in relation to Core to all stakeholders and users across the University, particularly Senior Officers and College Directors of Operations
  • Through Business Systems committee and CSOT Oversight, identify strategic interplay of Core with activities.
  • Understanding and promoting the University’s Strategic Framework and other University strategies and policies.
  • Other duties as determined from time-to-time by the line manager.

Team leadership

  • To lead and manage the CSOT team of c15 people to deliver the objectives in relation to Core, taking responsibility for their development, training and where appropriate professional accreditation
  • To liaise with associated IT Services staff who have responsibility for the application management aspects of Core to ensure overall support to the University is achieved
  • Ensuring that the team adheres to the requirements of University legislation and acting at all times in the best interests of the University and the Service
  • To engage with stakeholders across the University about the development of the team, its support to the business and the system, to derive appropriate strategies and development plans to respond to this.

Supplier relationship and enhancements

  • To lead on supplier relationship management; strategically planning and managing the relationship with all relevant suppliers to maximise the value of interactions, reducing risk, minimising cost and disruption to the University. Suppliers will include Oracle, the Managed Support Provider (PwC), Worktribe and other 3rd Party Suppliers
  • To create a close, collaborative working relationship with suppliers to maximise their value to the University, holding them accountable for their performance within the terms of the contract
  • To ensure that enhancements and developments are designed with the internal senior sponsors, appropriately costed, resources aligned and timelines for delivery are achieved. This will require the post holder to understand the wider strategic aims of the sponsor, the University’s overall position and the investment returns of the proposals. The post holder will need to translate business requirements into technical needs; to influence priorities and outcomes; and ensure all are aligned with the resources available from both CSOT and the supplier.

System and process management

  • Determining and implementing the internal road map for improvements to the systems managing competing priorities and conflicts and in support of the University’s business and its strategy
  • Ensure the operations of CSOT Oversight and the University wide Core champion network; oversee the processes for change and enhancement. Ensuring also that any approvals submitted have been properly crafted in all aspects and fully align to the University overall strategy.
  • Supporting and monitoring progress against the 10-year benefits realisation plan in conjunction with colleagues with the objective of realising the return on investment in Core systems in accordance with the business plan
  • To work with key process owners to prioritise the implementation of enhanced functionality within Core, reducing complexity and specificity in the system; delivering new module adoption and contributing to process improvement across the University.
  • To devise and implement a process for delivering continual learning to do more with system capabilities, to improve the user-experience and any associated business-processes
  • To manage the strategy and governance arrangements for future enhancements, new module adopting and changes in accordance with key stakeholders, supplier developments and the overall business need.
  • To lead on the prioritising system development and changes based on the University’s overall strategy
  • To work with key stakeholders across the University to develop the business intelligence capability of the system so that it develops into a world class information management system
  • To advise the University and stakeholders as to ERP / HRP industry developments and how other organisations are adopting functionality and the benefits that could be realised by the University

Networks and partnership working

  • Adopting a corporate and collegial approach to internal partnerships within the service, between Colleges and other Professional Services.
  • Managing and contributing to projects at both service and University level – from project design to delivery, working in collaboration as required.
  • Playing an active role in ensuring effective communications within Finance between teams and between Finance and other Professional Services or Colleges
  • Engaging with the relevant external user groups, forums and activities to learn from best practice, develop an effective external network and to seek opportunities to influence the development of the Oracle roadmap

Knowledge, Qualifications & Experience

  • Understanding and technical expertise in Oracle Cloud or similar system
  • Expertise in leading significant system development and management in a complex environment
  • Extensive knowledge of both Cloud and on-premise systems, including an ability to oversee integrations between multiple environments and systems
  • Relevant professional experience preferably in Higher Education, a comparable complex public sector body or significant commercial organisation.
  • Highly developed analytical skills with the ability to have a strategic view across business processes and change initiatives
  • Strong influencing and negotiation skills with the ability to obtain agreement to priorities, proposals, including with senior staff
  • Aptitude for the review of complex business processes and administrative systems and the ability to negotiate process improvements with system owns.
  • Ability to lead innovation and creativity, manage change and it motivate and lead staff through change processes
  • A creative, imaginative and enthusiastic approach to problem solving and process improvement activities
  • An understanding of and empathy for the activities/objectives of the University
  • Team leadership experience in a customer focussed environment, including proven ability to apply disciplined coaching and people management techniques to achieve key business objectives
  • Excellent communication and influencing skills, including proven track record of engaging effectively with senior colleagues and external organisations
  • Experience of championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in own work area.
  • Ability to monitor and evaluate the extent to which equality and diversity legislation, policies, procedures are applied.

Skills and abilities

  • Intellectually confident, credible, and experienced in leading and managing significant resources
  • An open manner with a clear and straightforward management style which will build trust and respect among colleagues at all levels throughout the University
  • The appropriate style, stature and interpersonal and communication skills to work collegially and as a team player with the Finance Director, academics, Registrar’s Leadership Group and other staff
  • The ability personally to write clear and persuasive Board papers and business plans and to use fact-based evidence as part of influencing skills
  • An intelligent, flexible and proportionate approach to implementing regulation and a preparedness to take ownership in this area
  • Commitment to lifelong learning through continued personal development of self and team members

Informal enquires to Ashleah Gill, email: a.gill.4@bham.ac.uk

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We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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