Shared Services undergoes changes during pilot programs

Alex Wilts

After receiving harsh criticism from some students, faculty and staff members during the 2013-2014 school year, Shared Services has made some changes.

Kevin Hegarty, vice president and chief financial officer, said the pilot programs in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the College of Education look vastly different than the original Shared Services Plan first introduced to the UT community almost a year ago. 

The original Shared Services Plan, presented by the Shared Services Committee in October 2013, called for the elimination of 500 jobs and the centralization of University services such as finance, human resources and information technology services.

“The initial concept that we presented to campus was, ‘Let’s build a center, and, eventually, it’s going to have 500 people to provide all those services, and it’s probably going to be off-campus,’” Hegarty said. “That’s no longer the vision.” 

The Shared Services Committee held open forums on campus after releasing its plan for faculty and students to discuss and ask questions about the implementation of the program.

Hegarty said after engaging in these discussions, the committee decided to study different versions of Shared Services already being implemented by the McCombs School of Business and the College of Liberal Arts. After reviewing the results of these two programs, Hegarty said two pilot programs were created in the provost’s office and the College of Education.

“The implementation team went in and studied the provost’s portfolio,” Hegarty said. “[They] studied the College of Education, and they divided the implementation of Shared Services — what units get brought into the Shared Services center. We call it the Central Business Office, the CBO.”

The CBO, now located in the UT Administration Building on Guadalupe Street, used to be made up of small groups of people located in various offices on campus. Previously, the CBO provided services to small units, including the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and other organizations that could not afford to have large staffs. 

Hegarty said the CBO began offering its services to the College of Education and the provost’s office about six to eight weeks ago, after the smaller offices merged into one.

While the provost’s office has seen positive results, Hegarty said some departments in the College of Education have been disappointed with the services they have received from the CBO.

“We knew purchasing volume rises dramatically in August, and we knew that in the first 12 days of class, there are a lot of [human resources] transactions going on — appointments of faculty and appointments of staff, etc.,” Hegarty said. “While we tried to staff up ahead of that, we didn’t have enough staff. The service levels came down below quite honestly what CBO expected and certainly below what the college had expected.”

Hegarty said, since this occurrence, the College of Education asked his office to no longer expand the school’s services to the responsibilities of the CBO until quality of service levels are back up to speed. According to Hegarty, there have been no layoffs as a result of Shared Services. 

“Where a position has been displaced, we’ve been able to offer an opportunity in the CBO or elsewhere on campus to make sure that person lands on their feet,” Hegarty said.