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Positioning your card program for success…and funding

By Jeanine Brooks, Director Action Card, The University of Alabama

How can Auxiliary Services professionals empower their card/transaction system management, champion the services and programs driven by these campus enterprise level systems and secure funding to support campus-wide programming? Campus card programs serve as part of your university’s branding strategy, as well as a trusted data source and access tool for campus services. The tool may change with the next technology iteration but your program’s mission remains the same  – streamline campus operations and enhance customer service.

How can you best drive administrative awareness and promote future funding for your operations?

For administrators program value is driven by enhanced customer service, stable operations, cross campus systems integration for consistent data sources, and strong problem solving for departmental or campus-wide solutions.

Driving Program Funding

Card/transaction systems vary by institution for funding solutions. There are fully institutionally funded operations, fully self-funded operations as well as others that are a blend with some services generating revenue and others funded from institutional sources. Below are strategies that can assist you in highlighting your program’s value to campus administration for funding requests.

Step one: Build your office and your brand

You need a unique department staffed by full-time employees dedicated to utilizing the power of these systems to bring solutions to campus. When transaction systems are lumped under another department name with only shared staff or part-time employees and student workers, you have limited your ability to brand the programs and services, limited administrative recognition for budgeting, limited the time employees can spend installing standard services, and limited employees ability to focus on important custom solutions that solve unique issues for your campus environment.

If internal departmental expertise is not available in your office structure, strong campus partnerships are critical for support expertise. At The University of Alabama, we have a formal, contracted relationship with OIT for full support, and they are a critical partner in our program development. They have also become a program champion, recognizing and communicating value to a wide base of campus contacts and administrators.

You also need a convenient office location with operational space, as well as a strong branded online presence. When you make the campus community dependent on the card program for basic daily services such as dining, door access, library check-out, campus event access, etc., your customers need to be able to find you and the information they need. When possible, self-managed access is beneficial, as today’s customers do not function on traditional business hours.

Establish clear mission and vision statements as your program foundation and post them online for your administrators and customers to view. When developing a program or service, identify the fit with your department, organization, and institutional mission and vision statements.

Step two: Get to work

Prove your program worth by providing a unique solution to a high profile issue. Examples at the University of Alabama include Online Photo Submittal and MyTickets, an online electronic ticketing system primarily used for student football tickets. Worth can be defined not only in dollars saved but enhanced customer service, improved efficiencies and secure operations.

Provide automated data and access tools for campus departments. Can your program help your institution manage growth? Can you provide critical usage data to departments and automate reporting? Can it be the tool to link multiple campus systems for an integrated service for customers?

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