Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences (Kyamk) and Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences (Mamk) merged in early 2017 to become the South-East Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk).
Research and development and innovation activities, known as R&D&I, are the core activities of universities of applied sciences. Indeed, such universities produce new studies and methods, as well as developing products and services that correspond with its local requirements.
Thinking Portfolio is a superior tool
At the South-East Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk), all R&D&I activities are managed using the Thinking Portfolio project portfolio referred to as HanSa. HanSa has a key role as a tool for managing R&D&I operations. Development Manager Hanna Kuninkaanniemi has been involved in developing HanSa since its initial integration when the Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences commissioned the system for providing structure to R&D&I activities. HanSa has established such a firm position in the organisation that Kuninkaanniemi cannot even imagine living without it, believing that project management would be simply impossible otherwise.
The merger has seen the number of R&D&I projects increase dramatically. HanSa is not only a project management tool, indeed, in addition to implementing different stages of the project, it is also a vital tool for assisting management, monitoring, assessing and managing risk.
“Thinking Portfolio, or HanSa as we call it, is a truly multifaceted tool. Once the project is opened as a concept in HanSa, any subsequent handling is examined and reported here. The R&D&I management and employees make wide use HanSa, so it is an important tool for us all and a superior tool for management.
If it isn’t in HanSa, it doesn’t exist!”
New users, new ideas
XAMK officially commenced activity in early 2017, but preparations for merging the two universities started much earlier. Once the new organisation was formed and HanSa was expanded, it had already become an irreplaceable tool for the R&D&I operations the year prior to the merger.
In addition to the active HanSa users, the entire organisation has access to the data it holds, thereby making it a highly efficient communications channel. With the merger, all new users have enthusiastically adopted the tool, even putting their projects on hold until they could use the tool to handle them after witnessing its benefits when collaborating with MAMK earlier on.
The new users also introduced new ideas for utilising HanSa, which have resulted in the improvement of content in the portfolio.
Rumours circulating about outstanding solutions
The processing, presentation, assessment and approval of projects sent to financing authorities also involves use of HanSa. In fact, in its quality evaluation statement, the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council found HanSa to be a prime example of good practice in educational establishments.
Kuninkaanniemi states that the tool generally inspires positive interest among XAMK partners.
“HanSa has always inspired great interest in the university network, as different bodies have either seen it in practice or heard rumours about what system we use.”
The interviewee was Development Manager Hanna Kuninkaanniemi from the South-East Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk).