In response to a growing statewide budget shortfall and troubling economic indicators at state and national levels, the members of the UNT System Board of Regents asked the system’s member institutions in November 2009 to work together to improve the cost-effective delivery of business services. The initial focus is on a shared services model for human resources, payroll and information technology functions.
Terry Pankratz, left, who joined the UNT System in April as vice chancellor for finance, is heading the effort. He has launched a blog to provide regular updates on the system-wide initiative to all employees. You can view the blog and automatically receive new posts by subscribing through Outlook or by copying the URL into your favorite RSS reader.
What are shared services?
Pankratz said shared services is a collaborative method of performing everyday business functions by optimizing resources – people, expertise, capital, time and technology. Goals are to promote efficiencies, achieve cost savings and improve services for internal customers, which for the UNT System means students, faculty and staff members and administrators.
Who uses the shared services model?
The shared services model is used by many large non-profits, corporations and governments, and is being actively implemented by many large university systems including the statewide systems in Tennessee and Missouri. Determining exactly what a UNT System shared services program will look like, how it will operate and how it will be implemented has not been determined.
Who is collaborating on shared services?
Pankratz meets regularly with representatives from the system office, all three member institutions and the future law school. A working committee is reviewing specific human resources, payroll and information technology processes on all the campuses that could be improved by implementing a shared services model.
A Shared Services Council - whose members include the president, chief academic officer and chief financial officer from each member institution – meets monthly to review the committee’s progress, and will recommend plans and budgets to the chancellor. The UNT System also has contracted with Accenture Consulting, a global management consulting company, to help develop interim and multi-year shared services implementation plans.
“If we can successfully create a value proposition for our business services that includes increased quality and decreased costs, we are headed in the right direction,” Pankratz said. “As we have all heard before, every dollar we can save on processing costs behind the scenes equates to an extra dollar we can provide to the classroom, the laboratory and for our students.”