Most recent feedback
Questions (in bold blue) have been edited slightly for clarification, grammar or punctuation. Specific names or references to people have been removed.
There has been a lot of focus recently on the new "Campaign for UC Davis" to raise 1 Billion from 100,000 Donors, but to accomplish this, UCD needs to raise its Gift Processing function out of the dark ages and move from an essentially manual process involving ENORMOUSLY DUPLICATIVE shadow control systems everywhere throughout the campus to a streamlined state of the art automated online, and centralized system. Much waste of human resources, duplication of effort and paperwork documentation, and tracking of the same information numerous times would be the benefit. However, waiting for a commitment of this magnitude, given the cost, timing, scarcity of resources, in this budget crunching environment, does nothing to alleviate the current problem short term. There are many avenues of short term enhancements and experimentations untried and agreed unproven, but which could make significant inroads in the meantime. One for instance, is to train and allow the larger gift processing functions access to AIS to input their own gift processing information, do away with their shadow systems, and let them stand on their own two legs and prove their capability and worth to the University. If unable to do so, then just move the function back to UR and proceed as "Status Quo" until automation comes. But in the meantime, there is a chance for solid progress with solid leadership! [July 2011]
Thank you for your comments. We will forward them to the “Campaign for UC Davis” leadership.
Since main account (A/P) went through a remodel about 1-2 years ago, why not have the SSC for the A/P staff relocate to the bottom floor of Research Park, paper work wouldn't have to be routed to and from mail division. [July 2011]
Thank you for your comment. We will forward it to the shared service center finance project team.
Hi, Please improve the TRAVEL PROCESS. Check this process out to, get this, book an airline ticket. http://travel.ucdavis.edu/Connexxus/Making_Reservations.cfm. Several weeks ago, after seeing an $800 ticket a co-worker had booked to Philadelphia, I searched HARD online and found a $400 ticket on US Airways to the same destination. However US Airways offers $24.50 Travel Insurance *because* they charge a MANDATORY $150 should you need a ticket change. Although I did not plan to change the reservations, I thought I should protect UC Davis from this charge. Now I am told that it is against UC Davis policy to buy travel insurance that our department should be using that site above to book tickets. I will have to pay the $24.50 myself. So: jus' sayin'--- how darn professional is THAT process. it's crazy. No private enterprise CEO would stand for this nonsense for one day... [June 2011]
Thank you for your comments. We will forward them to the shared service center finance project team and the leadership in travel and entertainment.
Through the SSC classes, we have learned that employees are already working in Shared Service Centers. Will these employees have to apply for the job openings that will be announced in September, 2011, or are their present positions permanent? [May 2011]
The new administrative shared service center will be a new department, separate and apart from any service unit or department that currently exists. Since it is a new department, and since all the positions will be new positions with new position descriptions, all positions, both management and staff will be filled through a recruitment process. This includes positing the positions, applying for the positions, and completing a selection process.
I would like to see more vendors and their catalogs added to UCDbuy so that we have more choices not just between Fisher and VWR. For example, the UCDMC has the ollie system where many vendors have been added. The Davis campus should implement something like that as well. [May 2011]
Thank you for this suggestion. We will forward it to the shared service center finance project team and the leadership in the purchasing unit.
Do not limit mail delivery to 3 days per week. To be a top notch research facility, how can we limit when our research is picked up or delivered? We NEED to have a dial mail pick up and we need to continue to not worry when the mail will be picked up. 3 day mail pick-up will lead to ultimate FAIL. [May 2011]
Thank you for your comments. We have made a note of your suggestion and will forward it to the leadership in Administrative and Resource Management as they continue their budget planning.
I have seen a situation where two employees are close to retirement. One is extremely effective works in a high traffic office and the units must replace her. the other one has not been an effective and instead difficult employee. She is the one that will get the VSP as she will not be replaced. That was hard for the effective employee as she would have like to do this program, but could not because her position is so important. [May 2011]
VSP parameters state that positions vacated through voluntary separation cannot be backfilled so that the department can realize the full savings of the reduction in staff. Unfortunately, not every employee is able to take advantage of the VSP for this reason. The university is fortunate to retain effective workers like your colleague.
Get rid of all of the upper management jobs and all of all the types that are doing little to no work and wasting money that could be spent in other ways to help improve the problem with the budget and to help give the staff a raise that do all of the work. [May 2011]
One of the tenets of the Chancellor’s new budget proposal for campus is to “flatten” the organization by removing unnecessary management layers. In addition, through the Organizational Excellence Initiative, staff are working to remove inefficiencies at all levels of the administrative organization.
Referring to the recent posting by IET for a Faculty director (http://vpiet.ucdavis.edu/faculty_director.cfm).
a. The Shared Services center seems to be moving IET into a more focused IT model. IET has never done a good job with the "E" or educational part of their service and largely because they are not connected with the academic community. Before IET invests further in trying to re-invent their educational arm, shouldn't the Shared Services project look at the organizational advantages of placing educational technology resources in a more focused unit, separate from IT, and more appropriately placed to be responsive to faculty?
b. As a faculty member, I can't see myself either directing IET staff or being directed by IET upper management in an environment conducive to academic advancement. This is a different culture than our academic departments. [May 2011]
Campus leadership is very committed to a strong educational technologies program closely driven by faculty leadership. In fact, there has been a sea change on campus in the past few years, as the Educational Technology arm of IET has evolved from a set of services engaging early adopters and technology-oriented faculty to become an essential core program supporting large lectures, as well as more core courses critical to reducing the time to degree. In the face of critical budget cuts, this has required a number of critical planning changes. In addition to growing partnerships with the Academic Senate, IET has moved to strengthen its alignment with the faculty to create additional efficiency and effectiveness currently outside the scope of the shared service center initiative. We have announced a new position for a Senate faculty director, developed in close consultation with the Senate leadership and a wide range of faculty; we are expanding the Senate participation in oversight on CCFIT and through the Senate Committee on IT; and we have recruited a faculty member from the Academic Federation join us in order to help us build bridges to the range of faculty who use our services. All this has been done in ways that have led to real cost savings.
I suggest we look at a phased retirement program. A lot of people are retiring early. This puts added burden on the retirement system and loses a lot of expertise from UC. If a partial retirement program were rolled out, the cost burden of retaining the expertise could be coupled with the retirement system only having to pay out some, but not all, of what a person would make at retirement. And the person would be able to work part time. Conditions could be set to make this option favorable to all 3 parties, such as continued withdrawal of retirement contributions from salary, locking in a monthly income vs. allowing a cash out at full retirement, and continued valuable expertise to get the campus through a crucial reorganization period. I know 3 people who are on call-back. This program is working for them and for the programs they work for. Yet, as an official program this is not even talked about. I believe a regular program would be attractive to employees, beneficial to departments, and could be designed for a favorable impact for the budget. [May 2011]
Thank you for providing this thoughtful suggestion. Chief Human Resource Officers throughout the UC system in partnership with the Office of the President are evaluating a potential phased retirement program. We will keep you informed as these discussions continue.
Can I be bumped by somebody who does not want to go to SSC? [May 2011]
Thank you for your question. When you refer to “bumping”, our assumption is that you are referring to potential layoffs within the departments and or units. When the shared service center staff is identified, it will be up to department leadership to reorganize the way work is done in the department. If there is less work than people (because activities moved to the shared service center) or if the department has to implement staff reductions due to budget circumstances, then layoffs would be determined based on employee seniority, by layoff unit and by employee title code.
For more information about campus policy and procedure concerning layoff units, layoffs and seniority visit the HR website at http://www.hr.ucdavis.edu/supervisor/Er/Layoff/layoff-faqs.
I just received your email about the shared service center. Someone actually wrote, "Pendulums are so 20th century. There’s no place for them in our new business model." Sounds to me like you don't really want to hear from anyone unless they agree with you. Some of us remember when things WERE centralized and that wasn't efficient. Things were decentralized because it was more efficient! The tone of the email was a bit snippy. Perhaps someone could do a tone check before the next one goes out. [April 2011]
Thank you for your feedback. The comment about pendulums was not intended to be snippy but simply representative of the fact that we are moving in a new direction, rather than returning to a centralized structure. Shared Service Centers are different from the historical centralized model, in that they combine the best aspects of both a centralized and a decentralized work environment. Those administrative transactions which are done on a more regular basis and can be standardized will move into the Shared Service Center while unique or complex queries or processes that cannot easily be standardized will remain at the local or central unit level. Budget circumstances are such that we have to find a more efficient, effective way to deliver administrative services. Re-engineering and standardizing current processes, implementing enabling technologies and consolidating staff and services where appropriate will help us achieve that goal.
Would you please keep a running tab of job descriptions and salaries of those jobs which are lost due to consolidation? It would be useful for staff to see that information. Thanks. [April 2011]
The shared service center initiative is one of many important strategies being utilized by the campus to manage budget reductions. Campus leadership , through the office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, will track the effect of its various budget reduction strategies (including that of the shared service center initiative), on staff positions lost.
The email describing the "donut" purchase process is confusing and seems to make light of a serious situation. This message would have been more effective if it started with the "Consolidating employees..." paragraph and just got to the point. If an example is needed, use something more practical. Or, if you must use food, at least spell it correctly - doughnut - rather than using slang in an official message. While I realize the value of a positive attitude and sense of humor, the process we're going through right now, what things will look like, and who will still have a job is still pretty much a mystery for us. Messages like this make some of us wonder if the work and the impact it will have on so many people is being taken seriously. I want to have confidence in the people working on this. Please help me with that by sending clear, practical and concise messages. [April 2011]
Thank you for providing specific feedback on how our communications can be improved. We can assure you that the implementation of the Shared Service Center and the impact it will have on so many people is being taken quite seriously. The “doughnut” example was the reflection of an existing process that was recently mapped for the purpose of identifying inefficiencies in our purchase and reimbursement practices.
Could travel expenses be more streamlined for approval. (i.e. direct supervisor or direct department manager). Right now my expense report goes through several steps before approved. I receive 6 emails for every trip, meaning 6 different people are looking at these things. That seems a little redundant and inefficient. [April 2011]
Travel and entertainment expense reimbursement is just one of the activities that the project teams and campus subject matter experts are looking at to identify opportunities for streamlining and standardization.
This morning I received this email from one of my staff members who handles purchasing and payment of bills (re: the payment for a hotel stay): “We are NOT to pay hotel’s invoices on VI’s (Vendor Invoices) anymore. We are to create the hotel arrangements for a speaker/traveler on a PO, then cancel the PO after the person stays at the hotel. We then pay the hotel stay on a hard copy TEV (Travel/Entertainment Voucher), AND on a Dafis doc TEV. Route the hard copy TEV to the department head for signature. Bundle the hotel invoice (marked with the Dafis TEV number), hard copy TEV (after signatures are secured) and send to Accounting for payment.” the breakdown of this process: 1. Create a purchase order in Dafis 2. Create a hard copy Travel/Entertainment Voucher 3. Create a Dafis Travel/Entertainment Voucher 4. Route the hard copy to department head (manually) for signature 5. After signature is secured bundle the hotel invoice (with the Dafis TEV document number written on it) and hard copy TEV and send to Accounting 6. Go back into Dafis and cancel the original PO This is unbelievably labor-intensive and there must be an easier way. [April 2011]
Thank you for pointing out this specific process in need of streamlining, as process improvement is a primary goal of the Shared Service Center (SSC) initiative. Travel and entertainment expense reimbursement is one of the areas that project teams and subject matter experts are looking at for standardization and redesign.
I would like to suggest that when creating the shared services you keep in mind the importance of quality service and the importance of training staff so they have an opportunity to move up in their career and not get stuck learning only one area of expertise.
Hire staff that want to work and will buy into the new format. Service to your colleagues and whomever you support is a key area.
I think the idea of a shared service center is a good one provided: staff can learn more than one area of expertise, that respect and service oriented staff are hired and that recognition to be trail blazers in this new work culture be rewarded. Just as a side note I think it is very important to hire people that want to work in a shared service as enthusiasm is quite contagious and helps put people in the correct frame of mind to learn and succeed. [April 2011]
Thank you for your suggestions. We also believe that adequate training is imperative to the success of the shared service center. Our team will be working with subject matter experts and Staff Development to ensure that staff are trained so they are able to provide efficient and effective service to customers. By offering regular opportunities to increase employees’ depth of expertise, career paths become inherent to the work environment. However, we know that working in a shared service center is not for everyone. Future SSC employees will only be successful if they inherently believe in the service model and are comfortable working in an environment in which performance is aligned with service standards. SSC employees will be encouraged to focus on continuous process improvement and finding better ways to provide service at every opportunity. Innovation will be recognized and rewarded.
Where will the Shared Service Center be physically located? It seems like there will be a lot of people to staff the SSC and is there space on campus to house them. Some of the buzz I've heard is that the SSC will be located off campus somewhere. Seems in-efficient to put people far away from the people they serve. [April 2011]
The Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis is currently conducting an analysis to identify space options for the Shared Service Center. There are many variables to be considered – available space on and off campus, optimal layout, and budget to prepare the work environment. The SSC may be in one location or in multiple service “hubs”. As these determinations are made, we will send and post updates.
IET was to have participated in and Administrative Unit Review (AUR) over a year ago. What happened with this and how does it correlate to the “Blue Ribbon Panel” that was announced later? Are these reviews initiated and managed by IET? [March 2011]
In 2009, IET volunteered to participate in a traditional AUR and began organizing for this in collaboration with the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost. However, this effort was put on hold shortly after Chancellor Katehi began her tenure at UC Davis. Chancellor Katehi proposed an alternative review approach through blue ribbon committees that conduct high level, strategic reviews and planning for critical campus program areas like information technology and research. As a result, a blue ribbon committee on information technology excellence was established in October 2010, co-chaired by Dean Dennis Pendleton and Professor Peter Yellowlees. The committee reports to the Chancellor and is focused on creating a strategic vision for campus IT (extending far beyond the IET organization). The committee’s report is due to the chancellor at the end of April. For more information on the blue ribbon committee, go to http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/initiatives/information_technology/index.html.
Is it wise to continue work on internal IET systems and the consolidation of business functions in IET and other units when the campus is moving to a larger SSC model and will be using the new and different technologies implemented especially for the SSC? Will these local consolidations and technology investments be considered alternatives to participating in the larger SSC and using its “enabling” technologies? [March 2011]
IET investments in locally-deployed applications and centralization of functions such as business activities and desktop support have been made after extensive consultation with shared service center (SSC) initiative leadership and are meant to pave the way as we move to a SSC model. While SSC technologies will ultimately be implemented in support of administrative functions, there are situations in which it is appropriate for divisions to move forward with intermediary solutions and improvements. Collaboration and dialogue between division leadership and the SSC team is ongoing, and enables the decision-making around these approaches.
I believe the March 30 Brown Bag will focus on what was learned at SunGardHE Summit. Are there agendas or areas of focus for the other Brown Bags? [March 2011]
Each Shared Service Center (SSC) Brown Bag meeting has two primary goals. The first is to present up-to-date information on the SSC project while taking into consideration the latest questions posed via this feedback mechanism, the regular email updates from this office and the SSC-related articles posted in the Friday Updates from Dateline. The second goal is to provide an opportunity for staff to ask questions and have a dialogue with the project leaders about the SSC. We hope you and colleagues will take an opportunity to attend one of the upcoming meetings.
It would be most helpful if you would quit sending out advisory emails about the SSC until you have the concrete facts. It is extremely stressful for staff to receive many emails (one time we got 3 in one week, from 3 different entities) expressing nothing but conjecture, no facts. It is stressful to sit here and be constantly reminded we might soon be out of job-maybe so, maybe not ! It also makes for very poor morale! We know part of your plan is to get staff to quit but adding this constant stress level through freq. email updates is a poor way to do it. [March 2011]
Thank you for your message. It seems to reflect some of the general frustration and anxiety that our staff members are feeling during a time of great change on our campus. We certainly do not intend to cause additional stress through our communication strategies – just the opposite. During periods of significant change, one of our team’s primary goals and assignments is to keep communication lines flowing – even if we do not have all the answers; and we have received significant feedback from staff indicating that direct email is a preferred medium for communication. Of course, we are reaching out through other channels such as the Friday Update, Staff Development courses, town hall meetings, etc. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to glean information about the SSC initiative in whatever way is beneficial to you.