Shared Services Steering Committee submits recommendations to President Powers

Madlin Mekelburg

The Shared Services Steering Committee sent a report to President William Powers Jr. on Wednesday with recommendations for the implementation of the Shared Services Plan. 

Powers is currently reviewing the report, which outlined the findings and recommendations produced by the committee through its exploration of Shared Services implementation at UT. The original Shared Services Plan called for the centralization of a variety of University procurement, information technology, human resources and finance services at various colleges, schools and units. 

According to Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, the logistics of Shared Services have changed based on feedback from campus dialogue sessions. 

“One of the things that we’ve learned as we’ve gone through this dialogue phase on campus, and in looking at a number of experiments that are already happening on our campus, is that maybe the approach ought to be different across different units,” Hegarty said. “I do think that the transformation from where we are today to where we ultimately get, it can’t be done [immediately] — it’s not logical and it’s too risky to take one giant step from a very decentralized model to a very centralized model. Maybe you two or three step it.” 

The report included a list of five common themes the committee heard from campus dialogue sessions. According to information provided in the report, campus feedback consisted primarily of concerns about transparency and community involvement in the plan’s development and the potential impact of implementation on people working at UT. 

In the report, the committee provided recommendations on how best to conduct a pilot version of implementation. According to the report, the committee will take a closer look at existing forms of Shared Services on campus, particularly those at the College of Liberal Arts and McCombs School of Business, as well as pursue test-runs in colleges, schools and units that volunteer and have structures conducive to centralization. 

In the report, the committee said it will determine the success of a pilot based on whether the centralized services maintain or improve service quality, based on feedback it receives from faculty and staff within a particular college, unit or school and through monitoring the volume, accuracy and cycle-time of a centralized service. 

According to the report, it will be difficult for the University to see financial benefits from the pilot programs, but UT will work to establish an accurate estimate of savings based on the other information obtained in a pilot program.

In a post on his blog, “Tower Talk,” Powers said he is currently reviewing the recommendations submitted to him by the committee. 

“Change is never easy, but I believe we must share services across the campus for three reasons,” Powers said in his post. “To improve service, to improve career paths for our staff, and to reduce costs, allowing us to better serve our core missions of teaching and research.”