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Operational Excellence and Financial Stewardship

Like many public universities, the University of Massachusetts system is consistently challenged to maintain a commitment to both excellence and affordability in the face of rising costs and competition for resources. One way the University is addressing this imperative is by examining a shared services model that can achieve cost savings while improving the services we provide to students, faculty, staff, vendors and other partners throughout the University system.

According to the Education Advisory Board, implementing shared services can achieve a 10-15 percent reduction in operating costs in some areas, freeing up resources for faculty hiring, student financial aid and other core mission priorities. Building on the work already completed through the system-wide “Better Together” initiative, this new, ongoing shared services project will focus on accounts payable, payroll and some aspects of procurement.

Shared services models are not equivalent to centralization; rather, they aim to put the customer at the center of the delivery of routine transaction processing services, allowing administrative staff to focus more on strategy and analysis. A primary objective of the project will be minimizing impact on staff.

The University President, the five chancellors, the provosts and the vice chancellors for administration and finance support this project. A team of representatives from each UMass campus is working collaboratively with the President’s Office to identify the best business processes to be considered for shared services.

The team will meet regularly, culminating in a plan to be delivered to President Meehan and the chancellors in December. In addition to Provost Terence R. Flotte and me, UMass Medical School will be represented on the project by director of purchasing Brian Girard; associate vice chancellor for human resources Deborah Harnois; accounts payable manager Rob Hyde; and assistant vice chancellor for grants and contracting Amy Miarecki.

Updates regarding decision-making and outcomes will be shared as they become available.

While change can be difficult, our goal is to ensure a thoughtful and collaborative process that is sensitive to the Medical School’s needs. If you or colleagues have specific questions or would like to offer feedback throughout the planning process, you are encouraged to email bettertogether@umassp.edu.

Thank you for your support of this project and for all that you do in support of the University’s mission.