As the Rapid Response Team for Shared Services continues its work, the team’s leadership is providing an update on what has happened so far and what can be expected in the weeks ahead.
Mary Ellen Heuton, senior vice president for finance and Chief Financial Officer, has spoken to several groups about the vision for the shared services effort, and the Shared Services Implementation team continues frequent meetings. In addition, two travel positions have been posted; interviews will begin soon.
Meetings also have occurred with deans and vice presidents to discuss shared services, the budget work ahead, and the staff that will initially be working with Mark Robinson and the Budget Office on developing the FY17 budget, looking for additional savings for FY16 and learning about new tools to help us monitor the university’s financial activity.
A variety of focus group meetings will take place in order to explore specific processes, with the goal of understanding how different areas handle a particular process; who is involved in the process; what the outcomes of the process are, particularly how directly or indirectly the process may affect faculty, students and staff; and challenges encountered with the process. The groups will also “brainstorm” on possible changes to improve the process in question.
The initial meetings will include the following processes: Candidate Travel, Student/Team Travel, Purchasing Card and Honorariums. Invitations will be coming out soon. Participant lists are being generated based on those who appear to be the most involved in the particular process. If you feel you have a unique perspective on the process in one of the areas listed, please contact Miriah Young (firstname.lastname@example.org) to see if you can be included in the focus group or follow-up discussions. Also, if you have suggestions for areas to look at for future focus groups, please let her know as well.
“As we move through this we expect to get a better picture of how we can best use our most important asset, our human resources,” Heuton said. “We can use this in combination with process improvement to minimize effort on the necessary administrative tasks in order to to focus more resources on those tasks more directly affecting our mission, particularly those that involve students.”
Representatives from Human Resources and Finance will also continue meetings to look at staffing as vacancies occur and as part of the overall process to understand the staffing situation university wide.
“A key to the success of this initiative is going to be communication, so we encourage participation in any meetings you are invited to, providing feedback to those who are participating in other sessions, and reading the newsletter,” Heuton said.