A lean-driven transformation

Founded in 1850, the University of Sydney is Australia’s oldest university and one of the most prestigious in the country. Ranked as the 27th most reputable university in the world, it comprises 16 faculties and schools.

Datacom transformed the University of Sydney's contact centres.

The Challenge

The university’s administration Campus Infrastructure Services (CIS) is responsible for 13 campuses and their 720 buildings and grounds. CIS covers building engineering, maintenance, leasing, security, car parking, lost property and building works, as well as student services.

In early 2013, CIS was suffering a negative reputation; clients considered its processes inefficient and its suppliers inaccessible. Specifically, the customer contact centre had abandon rates of more than 30 percent, repeat enquiry numbers were high, and wait times for requested services were up to three weeks. The eight-member contact centre dealt with up to 300 enquiries per day and resolution was highly dependent on the knowledge of individual staff. Processes were inconsistent and not documented. CIS Operations Manager, Kevin Duffy, recognised that the key to great customer service is providing an accessible first point of contact. He also wanted a system that would support ongoing improvement and independently measure and proactively manage third-party performance.

The Solution

The Datacom project team worked closely with CIS stakeholders to fully understand contact centre requirements; reviewing processes, procedures and existing data. Problem areas and customer needs were identified for improvement, as well as immediate and future opportunities for change. As a result, the project established two contact teams – one processing calls and emails, the other managing the front desk.

All procedures were formally documented and supported with industry-leading COPC best-practice principles. Performance management, recruitment and training identified the best staff to manage the front desk and contact centre and a system was implemented to measure efficiency and resolution rates. Technically, the IVR (phone menu) was redesigned and re-scripted to improve customer experience. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system was introduced, as were real-time monitoring and reporting tools, knowledge sharing structures and live-process performance software.

“Datacom went out of their way to understand how Sydney University CIS services work and how they could best support the business. The result has been a collaborative team effort. Datacom walked us through each phase of the process and provided ongoing communication through regular project meetings. Their closed-loop solution offers us a great degree of flexibility and has improved the efficiency of our operations, eliminating past bottlenecks and helping us to retain key staff.”

Kevin Duffy – CIS Operations Manager, Sydney University


The CIS project delivered a holistic management approach in aligning service-to-resolution processes, and customer and organisational needs. It delivered a platform that constantly provides the opportunity to improve business effectiveness and efficiency, as well as the capability to strive for innovation and integration with technology.

In a vote of confidence in the CIS contact centre, 40 percent of the venue services workload was successfully incorporated with no increase of headcount. This has freed up venues staff to focus on increasing lease occupancy rates, which is forecast to generate $10 million per annum for the University.

Employees have reported increased job satisfaction due to greater knowledge and capabilities to self-resolve issues – this is supported by the retention of all employees identified as desired talent.

The Partnership

In reviewing the university’s short and long-term objectives, Datacom worked closely with CIS stakeholders to fully understand their requirements. From that point through to implementing a broadly successful new contact centre, the two teams became closely aligned. Sydney University is now looking at extending the partnership into a second phase in which the two teams will collaborate to increase the efficiency of on-campus venues.