Kinetic Solutions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Kinetic Solutions's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Kinetic Solutions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.kineticsolutions.co.uk

47KINETIC SOLUTIONS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Robert Turner, managing
director
Accommodation now needs to enhance
the student and customer experiences
Kinetic Solutions formed in 1998, with the aim of delivering
the best student and customer experiences within the
higher education industry with innovative software
solutions. Twentyyears and 300 customers later, their focus
remains the same, with a customer base stretching across the
UK, North America, Australasia, Europe and Malaysia. Managing
director Rob Turner describes the impact and opportunities
from three key developments within the higher education
industry, namely the increasing focus on the entire student
experience, the demand for strategic revenue generation tactics
for commercial operations within higher education institutions
(HEIs) and the continued influence of private property providers.
Kinetic Solutions produces Kx software and has two core products: KxConferencing,
enabling event and venue teams to manage events from initial enquiry to final
invoice; and KxStudent, allowing student accommodation teams to manage all
aspects of the student experience from application through to graduation in one
integrated system. Complementing their core systems is a suite of additional products
allowing customers to manage business processes including parcel management,
online delegate registration and guarantor functionality for overseas students.
With global headquarters in Milton Keynes, Kinetic Solutions enjoys an enviable
market share within the UK higher education sector, with 21 of 24 Russell Group
universities and 72 per cent of the UK’s top 100 universities using Kx software
solutions. There is also a growing base in North America where the Boston-based
team continue to support and grow their customer portfolio. The US team recently
secured an exclusive vendor agreement to supply Sodexo Campus Conferencing
FACTS ABOUT
KINETIC SOLUTIONS
»Managing director: Robert
Turner
»Established in 1998
»Global headquarters
based in Milton Keynes,
Buckinghamshire, and office
inBoston, Massachusetts
»Services: Market-leading
student accommodation
and event management
software for higher education
institutions
»No. of employees: 65
»Clients: 300 customers, the
majority being within the UK
and North America
»Around 180 million bed nights
managed in 2017
Kinetic Solutions
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
48 | KINETIC SOLUTIONS
with our KxConferencing suite,
providing a single software system
for implementation across multiple
conferencing campuses.
In 2014, Kinetic Solutions was
acquired by the Volaris Group, part of
Constellation Software, who specialise in
strengthening and growing technology
companies. This has afforded us
fantastic opportunities for investing
in the building and development of
our teams and products, as well as for
working closely with other members of
the Volaris Group – all industry market
leaders. The sharing of best practice
between different teams equips Kinetic
Solutions with the necessary insight
to continue delivering better service
andproducts.
The continued influence of
private property providers
Despite increasing debt levels, it is
evident that students still recognise
the value in a university education.
Moreover, with 1.04 million students
studying away from home, the demand
for accommodation within the UK
higher education sector continues to
grow. Indeed, Cushman and Wakefield
report that 602,000 purpose-built bed
spaces were available to students for
the 2017-2018 academic year. Bringing
a more consumer-driven approach to
the student accommodation selection
process, private property providers
(PPPs) have driven radical change in
the way that our Kx software has
needed to interact with not only the
management of the bed space and
the student billing, but also the full
sales and marketing cycle of these
providers’services.
By introducing custom-made application
websites that incorporate a more hotel-
like booking process, we have been
able to provide reassurance to students
and parents about the options and
facilities on campus. These responsive
sites, coupled with integrated
guarantor functionality, enable the
KxStudent software to create an
engagement level with students at the
beginning of their university experience
– something that the HEIs and PPPs
can continue to build upon during the
student’s time with them.
PPPs continue to strive for excellence
across the wider aspects of the student
experience, one of the most notable
being technology and the accessibility
of a fast and reliable internet service.
With most students now arriving
at university with an average of
five wireless devices, today’s 18- to
24-year-olds have a lifestyle built
upon internet use and an expectation
that information is always to hand.
The systems we produce at Kinetic
Solutions must meet these demands,
whether in the design of responsive
websites or the need for students to
make online requests and digitally
interact with accommodation teams.
The increasing focus on the
entire student experience
Cushman and Wakefield note that
the marketisation of the student
accommodation sector has led to a
greater level of university competition.
Two key areas of focus are the
importance of future employability and
the quality of the student experience.
Student experience historically
encapsulated three key areas: teaching
Our US team
recently secured
an exclusive
vendor
agreement to
supply Sodexo
Campus
Conferencing
with our
KxConferencing
suite
Students need their
technology quite literally
at hand
49KINETIC SOLUTIONS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
quality, accommodation quality and
the price of beer! These narrow areas
of focus are now dwarfed by the
expectations of today’s consumer-
focused students who look for the
maximum experiential return for the
top-level tuition and accommodation
fees now faced.
HEIs, while driven by the quality of their
teaching and their students’ future
employability, must ensure multiple
needs are met, including the diversity of
learning surroundings, environmental
consciousness, social integration and
a focus on mental health awareness.
Consequently, the Kinetic Solutions
team continues to work closely with
customers via initiatives such as the
Ideas Forum – an online portal allowing
customer teams to suggest and vote
on future functionality – ensuring that
we address the issues where they have
the greatest needs.
As the full impact of the Higher
Education Bill is still being digested,
it is expected that the higher
education marketplace will start to
see new providers emerging that offer
accelerated two-year degrees – an
even shorter window for institutions to
deliver the “best” student experience
in. With much of that experience
governed by the ease of technological
solutions, we look forward to engaging
with these new challenges to keep our
customers ahead of the expectations
of tomorrow’s students.
The demand for revenue
generation strategies
Research by the Association of
University Directors of Estates reveals
that UK universities continue to face
funding challenges and are looking to
their commercial outlets to generate
additional revenue streams. One
commercial avenue representing the
greatest opportunities for HEIs includes
segmented and targeted transient
accommodation sales and international
feeder-market business.
UK HEI revenue generation strategies
aligned with the commercial
opportunities that their facilities
provide is critical in ensuring that selling
opportunity windows are maximised.
An underpinning element of the
revenue generation strategies now being
implemented by our HEI customers is
the confident, commercial attitude that
they take to their markets. No longer
are universities offering “budget”
accommodation; instead some offer
market-leading rooms in enviable central
locations that they sell smartly, utilising
online travel agents and flexible selling
rate structures driving the highest
yield. This is only made accessible using
software that enables scaled selling
through multiple channels without
additional staffing requirements.
As the UK higher education sector
continues to respond robustly to
the challenges it faces – be that
uncertainty surrounding Brexit, funding
challenges or the increased focus on
the value of the student experience
– the team at Kinetic Solutions share
the optimism and determination of
our customers. There is undoubtedly
significant ambition within our HEI
customer teams, and Kinetic Solutions
anticipate continuing to build on our
original aim from 1998 – to deliver
software solutions that provide
the best customer and student
experiences.
We look
forward to
engaging with
new
challenges to
keep our
customers
ahead of the
expectations
of tomorrow’s
students
2014/15 2016/17
Funding body
grants
Research grants
and contracts
Other income
5,000 5,100
Income of UK Higher Education Providers
Data source: www.hesa.ac.uk
5,200 5,300 5,400 5,500 5,600 5,700 5,800 5,900 6,000
£ millions

www.kineticsolutions.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Kinetic Solutions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy