Questions (in bold blue) have been edited slightly for clarification, grammar or punctuation. Specific names or references to people have been removed.
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.
The chancellor frequently mentions metrics. Since virtually nothing done under the current system has been measured, how will you measure progress without a baseline? Will metrics be embedded in the SSC? What tools will you use? [Feb 2011]
One of the outcomes of the project team work is to create a current state assessment. This assessment will include the identification of those measures that currently exist within our current administrative activities. In addition, through data collection and process mapping, we will be able to demonstrate in detail the steps we currently take to do our work, the current volume of work we produce, and how many people it takes to do it. This data will provide the baseline around which we can measure improvement. Once we have implemented enabling technology as part of the SSC initiative (e.g. case management, time and attendance, telephone systems, etc.) we will have even greater opportunities to gather metrics that will demonstrate continuous improvement.
Would there be any difference in SSC processes for a self-supporting unit compared to a unit receiving general funds? [Oct 2010]
While services delivered through the SSC will be consistent, specific business needs also need to be supported. Project teams will evaluate common needs that dominate our business activities as well as identify needs unique to business operations. The resulting service model will support both needs regardless of funding source. Standardization of business functions, and streamlining and automation of processes will help us ensure that all shared services clients, receive the same quality and professional level of service.
As certain tasks are centralized, how do we measure the loss of productivity for the customers who need to track down their work or requests - specifically travel and entertainment expenses? [Oct 2010]
A central tenant of a shared service center is to build solutions that address workflow and the communication issues that result. As we design our SSC we will include processes and automation that track a job's progress, notify and update the customer of order status and deliver timely products. The implementation of a case management system and knowledge management system in collaboration with the new Kuali Financial System will be especially useful in this respect for travel and entertainment reconciliation. We will also have service level agreements and technology systems that allow us to evaluate how well we are meeting service standards. This information will be communicated to customers and specific will be actions taken address deficiencies in service, should they occur.
In the area of Purchasing, the "Proposed Roles and Responsibilities" document [presented at the October 11, 2010 Town Hall meeting] does not address who would be responsible for purchase coding (account, subaccount etc). [Oct 2010]
The proposed roles and responsibilities posted on the OE website are part of a "working document" developed by the ScottMadden Consultant Group in collaboration with UC Davis finance subject matter experts. It is meant to serve as a guide, not a final or complete protocol. The finance project team will, with the assistance of campus subject matter experts, refine these recommendations. They will identify the final list of roles and responsibilities, determine where the responsibility will be located (e.g. department, SSC, central finance, etc.) and address specific issues associated with workflow, processes, etc.
In the area of travel, the "Proposed Roles and Responsibilities" document does not address departmental approvals as far as I can see. [Oct 2010]
As required by UC policy (UC Davis Policy and Procedure Manual - Section 10, General Travel Policy), departmental authorizations will continue to be handled by the traveler's department head.
The HR and procurement service center models presented refer to Centers of Excellence where more complicated work will be escalated. Is there a similar planned Center of Excellence for Information Technology? [Oct 2010]
Yes. An IT Center of Excellence would most likely deal with data security issues and infrastructure design and maintenance.
Is there going to be ONE SSC for the campus admin units? In reading the feedback on the OE website and talk about the ARM pilot SSC, the understanding is that the ARM SSC will stay in place. Can it be made clear, how many SSCs we can expect for the admin units? I think it will help dispel the fear and sense of "injustice" if this important detail is shared with the campus. [Oct 2010]
UC Davis will establish one multi-functional shared service organization headed by one SSC director who will oversee the finance, HR and IT units within the center. This structural model will ensure that consistent philosophies, governance, service delivery approaches and integrated technologies are utilized across all functions. The first step toward the implementation of the shared service center will be the consolidation of work. A baseline service standard will be established that will help us determine the number of staff required to support that work activity. Then, for each common task (e.g. payroll processing, timekeeping) the university will bring together some but not all of the existing employees with expertise or capabilities in that functional area.
This newly consolidated workforce will serve as the foundation for the shared service center and support the next steps in the process: to standardize business processes, redesign processes and automate processes.
The goal is to staff the center with excellent employees who will excel in a shared services environment. A successful shared service center employee demonstrates the following attributes:
- High level of technical competence in the business function
- Customer service orientation
- High level of ability to adapt to changes in processes, practices and technology
- Team orientation
- Ability to be engaged and productive in an environment where work is aligned with service standards
No other schools have attempted to incorporate IT into an HR / Payroll shared service center. For a reason. Trying to add in IT to this mix is a disaster that will do nothing but cost more money and cause more grief and anger to the already mixed feelings about cuts to IT at UC Davis. To save money, cut from the top. No one should make more than 250,000 / year salary at a public university. [Oct 2010]
IT, HR and finance will be separate and distinct functional units that reside under one shared services organization to be led by one unifying director. They will be cooperative entities whose sum will be greater than their parts. By streamlining and coordinating data management and business processes across all 3 function areas, we will create consistency, accountability and economies of scale. Implementation of enabling technology, in combination with process redesign, is integral to the efficiencies and savings envisioned for the Shared Service Center. Another strategy to realize saving is through the increase in management “spans of control” in both the SSC and the departments. Through standardizing processes, reducing layers of approval, automating transactions and implementing effective training programs, we can maximize the number of employees a manager can effectively supervise.
One of our half-time employees applied online for a full-time position. The application was rejected as incomplete because the applicant was not computer literate and did not speak English as their primary language. When I contacted campus HR, no one could offer this employee any help. HR only stated that, "Staff in Human Resources are not available to assist applicants with applying online.” Will the shared service center provide better assistance under these circumstances? [Sept 2010]
It is yet to be determined if the shared service center will provide support for the situation you identify. It is worth noting that many employees who join the university do not have English as their primary language. These employees generally work through the application process with the assistance of family, friends and community resources. While central HR and departments are available to provide some level of support to employees who speak English as a second language, these employees also need to seek external support through other support networks.
The emphasis on shared service center productivity has a drone-like quality about it and does not touch on the expectation today and in the future that all employees should have a career development plan in place that is supported by management. Perhaps collaborations with Staff Development and Professional Services that allow for the development of internships and career pathways out of the shared service centers could also be explored. This is good timing for a reminder of that process as well as that expectation. [Aug 2010]
Thanks for bringing up this important topic. As you already know, one goal of moving to an shared service center model is to increase productivity through streamlined processes, elimination of redundancy and expansion of technological capabilities. However, that’s only one goal of this initiative. We also plan to create opportunities for staff members. We realize productive employees are engaged and stimulated by their work. Built into a shared service center environment is the opportunity to develop and refine skills that are customer focused, dynamic and interactive in nature. Through interactions with client departments, shared service center staff will develop in depth knowledge and expertise – in effect, becoming subject matter experts (SME) rather than generalists. Cross training and back-up assignments will further expand their understanding of processes, priorities, and functions related to other service delivery areas. Career development within the service center is an essential part of the model. Of course, maintaining an active IDP is an excellent idea for all UC Davis employees. We, like you, encourage managers and supervisors to help staff identify career goals and create paths to their attainment.
On the ARM website, it already has the org charts for the shared service center (HR, Accounting & IT) complete with directors for each shared service center. Why is ARM continuing to move forward with the shared service center when a completely different model has been proposed and is being reviewed? Isn't this counter-productive? What is going to happen to all the people who have been hired, transferred, reclassified into the current ARM shared service centers when that model clearly goes against the "proposed" mode for the rest of the admin units on campus? [Aug 2010]
Consolidation of select HR, IT and financial functions began as part of an OOA initiative. When Resource Management & Planning merged with OOA to form ARM, the new leadership decided to continue with the consolidation effort. By furthering the shared services concept ARM has been able to address some of its budgetary challenges and has realized savings within administrative units through streamlined processes and elimination of redundant positions. ARM’s shared service center, along with several other administrative consolidation efforts across campus have trail blazed the shared services approach and provided invaluable practical information and lessons learned. Although ScottMadden has proposed a different organizational model from ARM’s current shared service center design, this foundational work is immensely valuable. The last part of your question will be addressed when the hiring strategy is finalized before the end of September.
Please describe in detail how a simple payroll process, such as a new hire, will work? Please describe in detail how a simple accounting process, such as a DPO, will work? Please describe in detail how a simple IT process, such as computer troubleshooting for employee in a department, will work? Please give step-by-step details, from the department role to account manager to tier 1, 2, 3 etc... People need to know what to expect. [Aug 2010]
Your question reflects the issue many people have on their minds. Namely, how exactly will processes in the shared service center work. These are good questions. However, we are not a stage where we can answer them. The next stage of our process includes forming committees for finance, IT and HR. These committees will be composed of subject matter experts from administrative units and these teams will address the specific questions you raise as well as all other issues associated with workflow, processes, etc. within the shared service center. Stay tuned. The step-by-step detail you request will be coming. We also suggest you look at the project timeline (PDF) which shows the general order of our work. We will definitely keep you all informed as we move forward.
What will preclude customers (staff and students) from bypassing the Tier 1 of the shared service center and going straight to Tier 2 or 3? One reason this happens now (bypassing departmental personnel) is that it is allowed. Will Tiers 2 and 3 not work with the "general public" unless an issue is escalated to them? If this is the case, what message will that send to the customers re: customer service. If it's NOT the case, how will you avoid people bypassing Tier 1 and therefore undermining the "efficient" structure the shared service center is creating. [Aug 2010]
This is an important observation that reflects the need to have technical support in place to provide service using this approach. Just as important are the process and culture changes that require customers to enter the service system through a single portal. Inquiries that inappropriately enter at higher levels of the service system will need to be gently redirected back to the appropriate service level. This will require education and training of customers and service providers. Through education and training, we will be able to overcome this important hurdle.
I read that shared service centers are mandatory, but can a department be exempt from the shared service centers ? [July 2010]
Mandated participation applies only to non-academic administrative units, and no departments are being exempted from participation. Academic units are welcome to participate on a voluntary basis.
Local IT shared services have been unsuccessful by any reasonable measure. Service levels have suffered; customers’ needs are not being met. There is still no strategic plan, no project plan, no SLA. Technical resources are being under-utilized and money is being wasted. Skilled and experienced technical personnel are not working at their full potential. “Easy wins” are being pursued for PR purposes while the more important, higher priority technical needs are being ignored. What tactics will this endeavor employ to prevent more of the same? [July 2010]
Interestingly, some of the tactics that lead to successful implementation of shared services are mentioned in your comments. First, a very carefully researched and thought out business case has been provided by the ScottMadden Consultant group. They outline all facets of the shared service center project from the drivers for change and assessment of our current state, to recommendations, strategies and proposed sequencing of implementation. (Please see the webcast of the August 16 presentation.) Second, built into the core structure of the future shared service center is accountability. No service will be undertaken without a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that describes roles, responsibilities, transactions, procedures, costs and duration of the agreement. Since customer feedback and satisfaction are crucial for continual process improvement, (a tenant of shared services) client input will be aggressively sought. And beyond that, an operations review board composed of shared service center customers will be formed to monitor shared service center functions and suggest structural or procedural changes as necessary.
Which accounting processes will be part of the shared service center? [June 2010]
This has not been decided. Campus subject matter experts from Accounting & Financial Services and other campus departments have worked in collaboration with the OE team and the ScottMadden group. Their input will be factored into the recommendation that results from the data collection and best practices research before a final decision is made about the specific functions and processes that will move to the shared service center.
Will there be a shared service center for each administrative unit (i.e., IET, Student Affairs, ARM, etc) or, will there be one shared service center for all administrative units and the departments? If the latter is the case, how will the knowledge base be retained for those departments? For example, there are people who have worked in the departments for many years and have a great deal of knowledge about the specific needs of their departments. If those people are not selected for the shared service center then that knowledge will be lost. [June 2010]
One of the project goals is to retain as much of the departmental and institutional knowledge as possible while also achieving budgetary savings and improving process efficiency and service. One model under consideration identifies account managers or liaisons for each department served by the shared service center. Understanding departmental nuances would be a priority for these account managers.
Our consultants from the ScottMadden group will provide campus leadership with a recommendation for the design of the new shared service center based on the research we are conducting within the administrative divisions. Current technology limitations may call for a phased approach. In addition, we do not know where the shared service center (or centers) will be located.
Which exact functions will the shared service center handle? How much power will remain with the department? What does that mean for the director of each department? Will departmental directors no longer be needed when all finance, HR and IT functions and decisions are being handled by the shared service center? [June 2010]
The recommendations for the scope and structure of the shared service center will address these questions. It will include recommendations for:
- Specific services that might reside in the shared service center, in departments, in a vice-chancellor or deans office or another central service unit;
- Shared service center organizational structure;
- Governance strategy;
- Staffing model;
- Technology needs;
- Staffing and hiring strategy;
- Implementation plan.
The recommendations will then be vetted by the chancellor and her cabinet. They will collectively decide on the ways in which administrative units will move forward.
How do you expect process improvement to occur if you don't track process issues/failures? If there is something I don't like about, let's say, the travel system, how do you find out? In this specific case, there are things I would gladly tell you. But, there is no mechanism. You need to measure it before you can improve it. [June 2010]
One of the objectives of the Organizational Excellence initiative is to document current processes in order to identify their inherent problems. We will be meeting and talking with campus constituents to discuss and document the most problematic processes. We will then identify ways in which the processes can be improved and streamlined.
We should strengthen central accounting and central HR. [June 2010]
One of the goals of shared services is to strengthen central service providers by allowing them to focus more on strategic priorities. By providing the shared services staff with appropriate technology, information and decision-making authority, we will free up those with the highest levels of expertise to assist with the most complex questions and processes.
I'd like to propose a model which would staff the Student Affairs Technology Center (ATC) and require no money, and minimal impact. Have departments donate two or three days of their IT personnel. Even if they have two or more, have them donate half of their staff rather than all of them. The benefits are: No need for hiring/layoffs/funding. Departments would maintain the ability to support things not supported by ATC internally and maintain internal experience levels. Staff participating in both departments and ATC would create a unity, rather than create the "IET, those people on the other side of the freeway" paradigm since each department's staff will be involved in it and remain their staff. The ATC would be more aware of internal status of departments and potential security issues or bad practices, and it would also influence the departments since there will be technical cross pollination. The ATC would be staffed and could provide desktop support and primary servers for all departments with their interests in mind. It seems like an all around win win win, with no downfalls. [June 2010]
Thank you for your suggestion. We have forwarded this recommendation to the ScottMadden consulting team for consideration.
Our concerns about resources moving service further away from the units include the following:
- Ensuring proper delegations are in place "checks and balances". (Context- departments use their Purchasing and A/P groups for oversight and to watch for misuse)
The shared service center is not intended to hinder appropriate levels of transaction approval. However, campus constituents have confirmed that some processes currently require more levels of approval than necessary. In addition, the AP/Purchasing staff in the shared service center will be experts in AP and Purchasing and will have the ability to identify anomalies in practices.
- Decreased responsiveness, flexibility and turnaround times.
One of the primary goals of the SSC initiative is to maintain or increase responsiveness and turnaround time, while remaining flexible. This is one of the main differences between the shared services and a centralized model. Another difference between shared services and centralized services is the level of governance and accountability inherent in the structure and technology. If service levels do not meet the expectations agreed upon by the department and the shared service center, procedures are in place to enable response and action. (See About Shared Service Centers for a description of the shared service model.)
- Loss of expertise that has been built due to proximity and time, which will create issues regarding complicated purchase, commodity billing and oversight.
The staff in the AP/Purchasing shared service center will be fully trained in the services they provide to campus constituents. The goal is to increase, not decrease, the levels of staff expertise through co-location, process improvement and additional training.
Will all receivables go through the shared service center, or can units make a case to retain them in their units. Is there flexibility in the proposal allowing units to retain specific functions, such as billing and accounts payable if the department can demonstrate a business need? [June 2010]
There are bound to be "one-off" types of transactions that will not migrate to the shared service center based on very unique business needs. However, there is an expectation that the majority of billing and AP will be handled by the shared service center staff.
What is the supervisor's role in payroll/personnel actions, and when will they be included [in decision-making] regarding one of their employees? What is the department's role in travel and entertainment approval? Will departments still be able to process low-value DRO/DPO/PO's? [June 2010]
This is not yet decided. We will have more answers regarding specific services that will move to the shared service center after chancellor's cabinet makes a final decision as to how we are to move forward in the shared service center implementation. Part of the implementation process will include identifying processes that are appropriately "housed" in departments, the shared service center, a vice chancellor's office or other centralized unit. According to other organizations that have implemented shared service centers, we can expect lessons to be learned along the way that will require flexibility and adjustment. The ultimate goal is to provide exemplary customer service while maximizing and leveraging our resources.