A number of UC folks from most campuses attended the Shared Services & Process Improvement for Higher Education & Government Summit, November 17-18, in San Diego. The sessions were all about understanding the potential for and optimizing the implementation of shared services to “increase accountability, enhance service quality and, ultimately, enable the re-distribution of savings back to the organization’s core mission.” Doesn’t that sound perfect for us?
I spoke with people from more than 20 universities and agencies across the country. Government agencies seem to be well ahead of higher education in terms of implementing shared services. The federal government in particular does a good job of delivering services across federal agencies. For example, Health and Human Services delivers payroll, HR, procurement, and IT services to the State Department.
Higher education is still very challenged when it comes to implementing shared services, and really only a few university systems have been able to make it work on a larger scale. I was specifically impressed with the discussions I had with State University of New York (SUNY), but they were one of a few and nowhere near the scope of what we have planned with UCPath. So UC is leading the way (as we should). At UC about half of the locations are doing something, though only a small portion of what is possible. So the IT Leadership Council (ITLC) is seeking to develop a model of campus-led, system-supported shared IT services to make shared services really feasible. Right now, the ITLC is planning a small Shared Services Colloquium in February at UCD to highlight current best practices and identify gaps in the current model for future improvement. All this is to say that UCPath, while challenging, remains the right initiative for UC for a shared services future.