Office of Operational Excellence Assesses Shared Services Transition

On April 12, 2016, three separate focus groups were conducted to solicit feedback about each of the Shared Service Centers. The focus groups included both faculty and staff members from schools and business units throughout campus (29 participants total):

  • Facilities (0 Faculty; 10 Staff)
  • Finance (1 Faculty; 7 Staff)
  • OIT (7 Faculty; 4 Staff)

Each session concentrated on only one Shared Service Center and generally took about an hour to conduct. Participants were asked to answer the following three questions about their assigned Shared Service Center:

  • What is going well that you want to ensure continues?
  • What should the Center start doing that it is not currently doing?
  • What should the Center stop doing or change significantly?

Each individual was asked to write down their responses, which were then shared, collected and grouped to form themes. Though much of the feedback was specific to each area, some common themes emerged across all three Shared Service Centers:

  • Shared Service Centers (SSCs) have become somewhat siloed, not working in collaboration with other business units and schools on campus as well as hoped.
  • Schools and units have some unique business needs; one size does not fit all. Collaborative problem-solving can ensure processes are consistent while also meeting unit needs. We are “One SMU.”
  • Communication and change management processes are lacking.
  • Confusion about roles still remains in some areas.
  • Changes in processes are not thoroughly communicated with units.
  • Using just one form of communication doesn’t work.
  • SSCs are not seeking to understand needs of units enough.
  • Units want consistent ways to provide feedback.
  • There is general recognition that Shared Service Centers make sense, but that time and effort are needed for them to be truly effective.
  • Efforts to eliminate paper processes are appreciated.

The leadership of Finance, Facilities and OIT was given the feedback from the focus groups and each has developed a plan of action for addressing concerns that were expressed. The plans will be implemented this summer and during the fall semester.

The Office of Operational Excellence also partnered with Human Resources to conduct an Employee Engagement Survey in all three Shared Service Centers. The results of the survey were shared with leadership in these areas in order to address issues related to employee development and retention.

A campus-wide Customer Satisfaction Survey will be sent to all faculty and staff later this fall to assess the Shared Service Centers after the first year of work.

By Nick Rallo