Author:  Richard Twelvetrees, Experience & Value Enablement Director, de Novo Solutions

Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) today are heavily focused on achieving effective sustainable growth. Committing precious funding, resource, energy, and time toward exploring how best to ‘grow’ and strengthen the organisation’s various experiences to benefit Pupils, Staff, or other educational stakeholders alike.

Optimising Central Services: The Hub and Spoke Model

Digital technology is a critical conversation to hold when enabling MAT effective growth. However, technology is not a magic bullet.

To achieve meaningful growth, MATs must ensure efficient traction to journey successfully toward triumph. A MATs transformational process needs to confidently embrace a review of the existing operating model, challenging the evolution of central services (back-office) advancement to deliver meaningful change, increase value, and improve quality.

Balancing Finance and People Management for Efficient Growth

Revisiting the best approach for the MAT ‘Hub and Spoke’ service delivery mechanism will mean re-evaluating which services are performed centrally to save time, money, effort, and resource and which services remain at a federated school academy level. Balancing MAT Finance and People Management services execution is pivotal to deliver efficient growth, provide the best experiences moving forward and resulting in the most efficient leveraging of technology innovations.

At de Novo Solutions, we assist our MAT clients in fulfilling their ambitions for effective growth by providing expert advice on modern cloud-based digital technology transformation supporting the critical delivery of MAT-wide people and finance management services modernization. Our six-step growth planner will help MATA readers plan and execute effective conversations when exploring growth.

Developing a Unified Vision Across Academies

Ensure all academies within the MAT participate in the formulation and understanding of a unified vision that spans the complete organization. The vision is essential to guide all growth-related decisions. The vision should establish value markers (see the efficiency and utilization targets below), and through regular communication, the MAT’s vision is shared with stakeholders, including staff, pupils, and parents to foster vision adoption along with progression monitoring markers

Operational Efficiency

KPI: Cost per Student

Below Average Savings: 3-5% (low of £142,200)
Average Savings: 5-10%
Above Average Savings: 10-15% (high of £711,000)

Example: A MAT spends £5,000 per student annually. Below average savings would result in savings of £150-£250 per student Average savings would result in savings of £250-£500 per student Above average savings would result in savings of £500-£750 per student.

Multiplier is 948. 948 is average number of pupils per secondary school (Department for Education (DfE) for the academic year 2022/2023

Resource Utilisation

KPI: Utilisation Rate of Shared Resources

Below Average Savings: 5-10% (low of £SOK)
Average Savings: 10-15%
Above Average Savings: 15-20% (high of £200K+)

Example: A MAT annual budget for shared resources is £1m. Below average savings would result in savings of £50K-£100K. Average savings would result in savings of £100K-£150K. Above average savings would result in savings of £1S0K-£200K+. 

Tailoring Growth Strategies to Address Specific Need

Identify specific needs and gaps across the MAT organisation to tailor and right-size the growth strategy. Establishing priorities and goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) will lead to effective strategic goal progress monitoring. Growth plans must connect technology, process, and people alongside service delivery to deliver a flexible and resilient strategic framework that can accommodate expansion and innovation without compromising the quality of educational service experiences.

Enhancing Engagement and Learning Outcomes through Technology

Deploying robust People and Finance Management services will improve efficiency and transparency. Cloud-based technologies such as Oracle Cloud or ServiceNow are powerful and play a vital role in supporting growth and improvement of MAT operations. Process simplification, adopting leading delivered best practices, and harnessing Odyssea (de Novo Solutions MAT Industry ready solution) will help expedite delivery, reduce cost, and improve the efficiency of People and Finance Management services.

Collaborating for Realistic Growth Scenario Planning

Exploring and evaluating new technology will enhance engagement and improve learning outcomes for all. The delivery of quality, consistent experiences across academies and central services is important for successful People and Finance Management services. Growth plans that are enriched with structured, engaging, and personalised experiences will ensure the diverse and evolving needs of stakeholders are addressed, promoting MAT inclusivity and equal opportunities at every stage.

Work in partnership with other local MAT organisations to learn about their own digital transformation journey experiences will assist with realistic growth scenario planning. Providing regular communication across the community on academy and MAT growth ambition will continuously improve and strengthen flexible development strategies and help people understand the traction achieved and the distance on the journey that remains.

Embracing Digital Transformation for MATs

Conducting regular reviews on the plan for effective growth will assist in identifying areas for improvement, areas to be replicated and cascaded and those to be ended. Data and analytics will inform decision-making processes and measure the impact of growth. Feedback will assist with service improvement; help deliver course correction to ensure the navigation remains on path and arrives on time and on budget securing the right organisational outcomes for all.

To learn more about de Novo Solutions or our leading services that include: Odyssea™ for Multi-Academy Trusts -for’ fixed price, fixed scope, and fixed timescale digital transformations (People / HR Management, Payroll, Talent Management, Finance Management, Procurement, Financial Planning and Reporting) powered by Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies support service.  Or to explore Value as a Service™ (VaaS™) our managed support service that enables our MAT clients to maximise their Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technology investments using four dimensions to monitor value and benefit spanning – optimisation, efficiency, adoption and innovation.  Please visit: Odyssea™ for Multi-Academy Trusts or follow de Novo on Linkedin and Twitter.

Ready to embark on your journey to sustainable MAT growth?

Unlock MAT Excellence with Odyssea™

Experience Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)

Making a Digital Difference with Odyssea™ for MATs

Typically, 75% of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) budget today is spent on people costs.  It begs the question:  Is your MAT modernising its approach to people management, investing in its most valuable (and expensive) asset?  Are your skilled people benefiting from a progressive digital revolution or evolution journey, or is your trust experiencing inertia—confused, stuck, or unsure how to begin.

No matter your MAT situation, de Novo is here to help.  This article showcases the capabilities of Odyssea™ for MATs and emphasises the crucial role of people management in achieving overall MAT goals.

Learn how de Novo’s expertise, recently recognised with a ‘HR Tech Innovation’ award commendation, can support you on your journey to a digitally optimised future.

With the emphasis today placed upon quality pupil education and engaging pupil experiences, Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) across the nation are under pressure like never before. Expected to simultaneously ‘juggle’ other operational MAT priorities alongside the needs of their pupils with an aim to deliver a well-respected, compliant, successful, safe, and performant MAT that the community is proud of.

To achieve those aims the role of people management should not be forgotten, understated, or delayed in lieu of other items on the MAT agenda as it is the people working within a MAT that impact pupils and contribute to the goals of the organisation.

The seemingly never-ending list of operational priorities and activities that MAT leadership teams are expected to focus on can often cause an inadvertent negative impact on other equally important aspects, such as people management.

The Pressures Facing MATs Today

These classical MAT priorities will not be going away anytime soon, and no doubt the average MAT Leaders’ to-do list runs the risk of expanding still further and with a potential change in UK Government who knows what the future will bring.

To help dispel a few urban myths that may exist it is important to confirm that a large slice of MAT priorities and focus areas can be better addressed through the effective deployment and use of cloud enabled digital technology to complete much of the heavy lifting.

Without balancing the time and effort spent on the ‘digital agenda’ versus other operational matters a MAT might well run the risk of missing out on the advantages that a modern cloud enabled people solution brings to the operation but more importantly to the people.

The heavy lifting typically associated with preparing and executing a digital transformation can be reduced by de Novo’s Odyssea™ for MATs, a purpose-built strategic HR / Payroll people management solution powered by Oracle Cloud.

With such a high proportion (75%) of MAT operational budgets spent on people related costs it is essential that such a precious and valuable investment (MAT people) is properly managed alongside well thought out people experiences.

Odyssea™ for MATs brings industry ready profiles, functionality and default settings that are specifically purpose designed to enable a MAT to make a fast start to their people transformation. de Novo’s experience in the industry has been gained through other MAT people and finance focused transformation projects. That knowledge means that de Novo is essentially simplifying and breaking the barriers of inertia that might on occasion paralyse people management progress within a MAT.

Navigate your Cloud Journey with Confidence

This is where our Cloud Readiness Assessment (CRA) becomes invaluable. CRA is performed in partnership with a MAT and reviews the existing working approaches related to people management, with that research in mind de Novo can advise on recommended way forward – be that revolution or evolution. de Novo’s team of experts can guide a MAT on project delivery approaches, future target operating models, functional capability discussions, cloud solution demonstrations alongside building the funding business case and value proposition.

People management and strategic HR is an imperative benefiting those working in a MAT enterprise whether they are Employees, Teaching Professionals, Operational Managers, Governors, or Volunteers. People working in a MAT environment have an impact daily on pupils – the next generation that will guide the way – and it is vital that these people feel valued, connected, and aligned with the MAT vision.

Supported at every stage of their employment journey with connected HR solutions that are modern and engaging ensures a person record is entered once and leveraged across the employment lifecycle.

People Management Lifecycle

Introducing Odyssea™ for MATs

Odyssea™ for MATs is a fast start, modular solution for people management – a solution that comes predesigned to support the needs of the education industry to ease the burden and expedite the digital transformation journey.

Partnering with several MAT clients has enabled de Novo to co-design Odyssea™ for MAT to be a solution that enables a digital people transformation strategy supporting either a one-step revolution or a more pragmatic and phased evolution journey.

Key People Management Capabilities

Navigating the Digital Transformation Journey

Advancing and modernising MAT people strategy or people management services will without doubt save time, money, improve efficiency, communication and collaboration across the organisation.

Whether the digital transformation is done in a single leap (revolution) or a series of purposeful steps (evolution) it is essential that progress occurs. Inertia is not acceptable.

Progress can begin with a CRA, a conversation that is supportive and not judgemental – it is about supporting a MAT on their own unique digital journey so that the organisation can better focus on delivering better educational outcomes for all.

It takes time to develop a mature, high performing people management strategy and that elevated view and ambition should not be set as a success measure from day one.

The digital people management journey takes time and requires the regular input of multiple parties to help ensure adoption, innovation, efficiency do not ‘scare or destabilise’ the MAT’s primary activities – namely, pupil education.

Value as a Service™ (VaaS™): Supporting MATs Beyond Implementation

de Novo provides additional aftercare and managed support services for MATs beyond the implementation process and the point of go-live with Value as a Service™ (VaaS™). VaaS™ helps MATs to continue maximising their Oracle Cloud solution capability beyond go-live de Novo’s innovative approach to delivery excellence continues forward into expert aftercare designed to ensure MATs feel supported at every step.

Unlocking Efficiency and Substantial Cost Savings for Multi-Academy Trusts

An optimised people management strategy will impact that 75% spend ensuring you are getting the most from that investment.  Helping a MAT to save on:

A modern people management strategy is the future, but it is not always easy to achieve or even prioritise. With de Novo, MATs can navigate the path toward a digitally transformed and optimised future for people management. Our proficiency and expertise in HR/People Management systems have earned us industry recognition, notably with de Novo Solutions receiving Commendation in the ‘HR Tech Innovation’ award category at the prestigious ERP Today Awards.

So, why not have a discussion with de Novos’ MAT experts and hear more about Odyssea™ for MATs, our past projects and learn how the CRA first step can ensure evolution becomes revolution and inertia is bypassed successfully.

Ready to embark on your journey to leading-edge People Management?

Unlock MAT Excellence with Odyssea™

Experience Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)

Author:  Richard Twelvetrees, Experience & Value Enablement Director, de Novo Solutions

de Novo Solutions are passionate about the end-to-end experience. 

We support Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) in achieving their goal of implementing modern cloud based, back-office and shared service finance management software.

UK Government articles such as Moving your school to the cloud – April 2019 have been painting the picture of why a cloud enabled school is a likely better operated business that one remaining with an outdated approach to finance.

Odyssea™ by de Novo Solutions is powered by Oracle Cloud – one of the worlds most renowned and trusted technology platforms for finance management.  Odyssea™ focuses on harnessing those UK Government way markers such as:

Cloud enabled finance management is the future – it is that simple.

Odyssea™ will enable your MAT to experience a myriad of benefits for not only the core back-office finance management and shared service team but also the wider extended MAT community spanning Senior Leadership Teams, Governors all the way to active academic staff.

Financial Challenges Facing MATs

MATs are facing a complex landscape of financial challenges that demand strategic navigation and innovative solutions:

Key Benefits of Odyssea™

Odyssea™, powered by Oracle Cloud, offers a range of features and advantages for MATs including:

Odyssea™ can help your MAT with:

Financial Transparency & Control

Choose Odyssea™ for a Best-in-Class Finance Solution
Embrace a Culture of Continuous Innovation with Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)

Only with de Novo Solutions can your MAT speed its way to a modern finance digital transformation – improving operational agility, transparency, scalability, and competitiveness, providing your MAT with proven businesses tools that will thrive in your organisation’s financial landscape. 

Ready to embark on your journey to leading-edge finance management?

Unlock MAT Excellence with Odyssea™

Experience Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)