The Shared Services Survey Results

About one year ago, SMU implemented Shared Services in Finance, Facilities and OIT  based on recommendations of the OE2C initiative teams in each of these areas. The past 12 months have been a time of change and development for faculty and staff in all areas of the University.

With major transitions complete, the next step in our pursuit of operational excellence was to understand more about how the new workflows impact all employees. To that end, a survey was conducted to obtain confidential feedback regarding your awareness of and satisfaction with these three functional areas.

The Shared Services satisfaction survey results are below.

The User Satisfaction Survey Results

Preliminary Findings +

  • Monday, September 26 – Survey distributed to 2236 faculty/faculty administrators and staff
  • Friday, September 30 – Reminder e-mail to those who had started survey, but had not completed it
  • Monday, October 3 – Survey mentioned in August/September Operational Excellence News & Highlights e-mail that went to all faculty and staff (usually only goes to subscribers)
  • Tuesday, October 4 – Survey closed at 6 p.m.
  • 663 total number of surveys completed (30%) – 201 faculty/faculty administrator and 462 staff
  • Less than 10 technical issues reported


  • A total of 2,236 employees were invited to participate in the survey; 807 faculty/faculty administrator members and 1429 staff members.
  • A total of 663 employees (30%) responded to the survey; 201 faculty/faculty administrator members and 462 staff members.
  • Response percentage by group: 25% of faculty/faculty administrators and 32% of staff responded to the survey.


  • The numbers located inside the pie chart segments represent the actual number of faculty/faculty administrators that responded to the survey.
  • The percentages indicated on the pie chart are based on a total of 201 faculty/faculty administrator respondents.



  • The numbers located inside the pie chart segments represent the actual number of employees that responded to the survey.
  • The percentages indicated on the pie chart are based on a total of 462 staff respondents.


Finance Results +

What is Finance doing well? (*direct quotes)

  • “Check requests and ePAF have been improved and the time to process has been reduced”
  • “Concur has been a fantastic improvement!…Reimbursement process is VERY efficient and fast”
  • “Conversion to electronic processing is a plus and the goal should be to continue to make this conversion with all processes. The streamlining of processes has also been very effective.”
  • “I am very happy with the way A/P notifies me when a process is completed and also notifies me if something is done incorrectly instead of having to wait until the vendor calls looking for their payment.”
  • “Great customer service and knowledgeable employees!”
  • “I have found Financial Shared Services very responsive to my requests or my department’s needs.”
  • “JE’s being done quickly and efficiently!”

Finance themes: What are they doing well?

  • The Financial Services Center has a number of individual employees who are viewed as very helpful and knowledgeable. 1:1 support was cited often
  • Concur as a tool for reimbursement was noted for being very fast once expense reports were entered and approved
  • General Concur features were mentioned often as being helpful
  • e-PAF process was mentioned often, specifically as an improvement
  • The sense that better online tools have been introduced and that respondents were receptive to this
  • Invoices being paid faster (separate from Concur reimbursement)
  • Responsiveness of the overall staff was noted



  • The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the usage of services, in terms of the relative proportion of each of the services as a percentage of the total combined six services included herein.




  • The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the usage of services, in terms of the relative proportion of each of the services as a percentage of the total combined four services included herein.




  • The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the usage of services, in terms of the relative proportion of each of the services as a percentage of the total combined four services included herein.




Suggestions to improve Finance Shared Services (direct quotes):

  • “Back and forth communication is key. Do not make changes without consulting or at least notifying the staff members of those changes.”
  • “Meet with users prior to developing and implementing a major change”
  • “Would like to see invoices get paid quicker so that we are not getting vendors repeatedly asking us about getting paid and from having (vendor) holding our shipments due to too many outstanding invoices that have been submitted.”
  • “A directory of people in Shared Services and what they do…who does what…it should be easy to find who to contact for what issue…”
  • “Provide more training for staff and users”
  • “We need to find a way to have more electronic processes”

Finance Shared Services Themes: Suggestions for improvement

  • Communicate processes and any changes to processes widely via more than one method (training, emails, website, etc.)
  • Communicate clearly who does what within Finance
  • Simplify Concur, allow travel booking outside of Concur or eliminate it completely
  • Manage financial staff workload issues; add personnel if needed
  • Improve overall responsiveness and customer service levels
  • Decentralize – give back FO and Assistant FO to schools
  • Empower department coordinators to manage administrative tasks; too much of a burden is being placed on faculty whose primary job is to teach and do research
  • Improve timeliness in terms of payments and other transactions
  • Improve the e-PAF process
  • Continue to automate more processes
  • Train the financial staff better
  • Improve purchasing (IT equipment most often noted)
  • Allow more local flexibility (purchasing supplies, etc.)

Facilities Results +

What is Facilities Shared Services doing well? (direct quotes)

  • “Attention has been paid to our facility when none was paid in the past”
  • “Individual Facilities Shared Services staff go out of their way to be helpful”
  • “I liked that an information session was held”
  • “I think that the changes that they are in the middle of implementing have good intention and goals behind them, and that a lot of thought and effort went into updating the Facilities business model. The actual follow-up on these plans will be key.”
  • “Looks like they are working hard to streamline the confusing work order process
  • “Professional attitude; good communications”
  • “The new website is a plus, as is the new easy to remember number”

Facilities Shared Services Themes: What are they doing well?

  • The individuals serving as Facilities Managers are doing their best and developing good relationships with their end-users
  • Facility managers and some others were seen as responsive to end-users
  • Some Facilities staff – including numerous Aramark employees – were recognized as doing good work
  • System was recognized as being more efficient than before
  • Communication has improved for some end-users
  • Website and phone number are improved
  • Some respondents felt there was more proactivity with regard to facilities than before
  • Some respondents appreciated their environments – clean and comfortable


*Calculation is based on the number of respondents that answered “yes” to the question asking whether they had knowledge of who their Facilities Manager is.


*Refers to the Facilities Manager’s knowledge about available resources and processes that could help solve an issue or answer a question at hand.


Serve as Aramark contract experts on in-scope and project work; Validating billing, answering questions and mediating work requests that are not addressed in the contract.

Validate that work orders are classified correctly and are completed according to contract standards.

Perform regular quality inspection walks with Custodial, Grounds, and Operations and Maintenance personnel.

Collaborate with Project Management Services on all construction related to the buildings they oversee.

Collaborate with Custodial/Housekeeping Services to confirm that cleaning schedules complement the use and schedule of the building.

Regularly meet with Deans/VPs to provide updates and overviews of their associated buildings.



Suggestions to improve Facilities Shared Services (direct quotes):

  • “Call before coming to respond to a work order”
  • “Be proactive…fix things that are broken…head off future problems”
  • “We really need someone to do rounds more than once or twice a week…walk the building more often”
  • “More frequent interaction with a broader set of stakeholders, beyond deans”
  • “Perhaps have mini “this is who we are” sessions around campus”
  • “Post some signs telling us who is the manager and how to get to them”
  • “Someone needs to follow-up with contractors”

Facilities Shared Services Themes: Suggestions for improvement

  • Improve the timeliness of repairs: promised 10-12 days often becomes months
  • Improve responsiveness to requests
  • Improve the ticketing system – complete information isn’t shared, no way to get progress updates, and tickets are closed without being complete
  • Stop changing personnel around. It’s confusing to clients…
  • Listen to and collaborate with your end-users better. Stop saying “that’s not my job.”
  • Communicate changes to processes and people assignments better; communicate who does what better and how to contact the right person for help; communicate progress on jobs more effectively and often
  • Coordinate work better so that it doesn’t interfere with other scheduled activities or interrupt clients
  • Walk around more often and do quality inspections on work more often
  • Support event preparation better
  • End the Aramark contract and bring facilities back in-house for better coordination and accountability
  • Develop a better system that is more responsive to after-hours needs

OIT Results +

What is OIT Shared Services doing well? (*direct quotes)

  • “Customer service has been great! Always willing to help with any issues and response has been quick.”
  • “I am a good teacher and scholar. I could not be as good as I am without the technology. Keep it coming!”
  • “I believe they are doing a good job of recognizing the unique, specialized skills of certain staff and allowing them to serve the areas they are best equipped to serve.”
  • “Most everything. The best thing to come out of OE2C. These ladies and gentlemen are the model for customer service and solutions. The efficiency and professionalism within this group should be modeled by the other shared services centers.”
  • “OIT does a customer satisfaction survey for all help desk requests. This shows they truly care about their internal customers.”
  • “The embedded Academic Technology person is working well overall.”

OIT Shared Services Themes: What are they doing well?

  • The HelpDesk is responsive, helpful, and staffed with competent team members.
  • Onsite help – classroom and office were both noted as responsive and helpful.
  • The staff overall was seen as knowledgeable, competent, and friendly.
  • Overall responsiveness was noted as a strength.
  • Support with specific areas such as within some schools and with some products (Canvas) was noted as helpful.
  • Communication and training were both mentioned as very helpful.




  • The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the need for services, in terms of the relative proportion of each of the services as a percentage of the total combined five services included herein.



  • The Academic Technology Governance Council was created to ensure that technology services are more effectively aligned throughout the University and to enable the faculty and academic areas to participate directly in providing strategic direction in technology decision-making for the campus.



Suggestions to improve OIT Shared Services (direct quotes):

  • “Communication and transparency are the big issues. We need to know what is available and how to get help in a timely manner now that one year has passed since the reorgs”
  • “I am extremely dissatisfied with the new requirement that departments are now to handle their own website pages…the weak link I see is the web pages…”
  • “I think OIT needs to train faculty more on computers…a simple fix could have been taught in a beginning-of-the-year orientation session.”
  • “One size does not fit all departments. Different departments need more in house support than others.”
  • “Provide more information and orientation to faculty”
  • “Streamline Help Desk-make it easier for problems to be resolved”

OIT Shared Services Themes: Suggestions for Improvement

  • The desire to decentralize some support back to schools/units. The Law School was mentioned in several comments as experiencing less service as a result of the move to Shared Services.
  • The goal of managing websites better was a frequent topic and included suggestions for increasing specialist staff to serve units and considering different software.
  • The responsiveness of AV support with suggestions to increase staff and improve timeliness of repairs.
  • The idea to increase the staffing of OIT overall was mentioned in multiple comments with the goal of improved service-delivery.
  • Improve communication/transparency about roles with OIT – who is responsible for what.
  • Purchasing of technology was seen as problematic. Users don’t necessarily see that as a Finance/Purchasing function at this point.
  • Improve dialogue with faculty about HPC, Linux and other research tools.
  • Desires for updates to hardware and classroom technology were identified frequently.
  • The voicemail/email integration issues were of concern to several people. (This is not due to Shared Services.)


By Nick Rallo