Friday, May 15, 2015

As the University of Iowa moves forward with the Board of Regents’ TIER (Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review) project, the UI TIER leadership team is committed to keeping the campus informed on the latest developments in connection with the initiative.

The team will be sharing updates in Iowa Now on the 1st and 15th of each month through June. Information on the initiative can also be found on the UI TIER website.

Here are the latest developments on the UI’s academic and business cases:


  • Pappas Consulting will return to campus twice in June to discuss the e-learning and enrollment management academic cases in greater detail. Meeting dates are being identified and schedules are in development. More information about the visits will be available in the coming weeks.  
  • Members of the Office of the Provost continued to engage with Ad Astra regarding classroom utilization at the UI.   


Finance 01: Revise Distributed Finance Delivery Model

  • The beta shared services site for Athletics began on April 27. The staff is excited to have been given this opportunity and are quickly learning the business process at Athletics. Gary Barta has welcomed the staff into their “family” by introducing them at a staff meeting.
  • TIER updates were provided to the campus budget officers on May 11.
  • On May 12, Sue Sager and Rachel Napoli, UI organizational change administrators, met with the FN-01 project team for introductions and to share ways in which they can provide help to us as change management consultants.
  • Debby Zumbach presented updates to staff council on May 13 and to the HR reps on May 14.
  • The team has a conference call with Jason Hornberger, associate vice provost for shared services at the University of Kansas, on June 9.

Human Resources:  

As the HR Project Team and senior HR leaders continue to plan for the realignment of unit HR representative responsibilities, we have identified improvements we expect to create through this redesign project:

  • For leaders:  
    • More effective HR strategic partner, change agent, and risk manager
    • Ability to utilize HR strategy to support department and college/division success, both now and in the future
    • Additional capacity to understand and shape a positive and engaging workplace culture
  • For fellow faculty and staff:
    • An advocate for an engaging and productive workplace culture
    • An effective communicator and source of information, particularly in times of change
    • A knowledgeable resource, with increased capacity to support consistent policy applications and best practices
  • For unit HR representatives:
    • Opportunity to grow professionally, building upon their skills and past experience
    • Opportunity to focus on an area of expertise and make a greater contribution toward organizational success
    • Opportunity to contribute and be recognized as a leader among peers and colleagues

As changes are made in how HR services are delivered, it will be important for all those impacted to understand the goals, the benefits, and the process used to accomplish the changes. Therefore, effective communications will be an important component of the project plan. 

Initial redesign work in two organizations is expected to begin yet this month. 

Additional organizations will begin work in July, with the goal to complete the realignment of HR responsibilities in each college and division by the fall of 2016. 

Information Technology:

Project Charters: Drafts of eight OneIT project charters will be available Monday, May 18, on the project pages of the OneIT website for public comment. Feedback should be directed to the Program Office and individual project leaders. The rest of the draft charters will be added as soon as they are ready. The Steering Committee is expected to approve the revised charters in early June.

Project-Management Workshop: Last week, about 60 OneIT project leaders and managers took part in a project-management workshop led by experts in the College of Business. The workshop was a success; the team-building and change-management sessions seemed to be particularly well received. It was great to see people energized and ready to focus on the tasks at hand.

Data Center and Server Project Progress: Some projects, especially those initiated prior to the efficiency review, already have progress to report. The Data Centers and Servers Project is a good example. Two servers from a physics research group were moved to the Information Technology Facility, along with five racks of hardware that were housed in MacLean Hall. The ITF will soon house data storage for the art and journalism departments so old servers can be decommissioned, and a high-performance computing cluster is being installed for chemistry.

ISU/UNI Collaboration Discussions: IT leaders from the three schools will meet June 10 in Ames to continue discussing collaboration opportunities.

Sourcing and Procurement:

On April 30, Huron Consulting presented their findings and recommendations for three commodity areas: janitorial supplies, MRO, and IT peripherals. In addition, they expanded on the computers and peripherals commodity area.

  • Computer and peripherals: Standards pricing and discount levels analysis indicates that pricing for CY2015 standard configurations are market competitive and within Huron’s range of experience. In addition, the UI Purchasing and ITS departments worked together in January to commit to a purchase of 1000 units of the OptiPlex 7020 SFF model configuration.
    • The pricing from this competitive negotiation received the highest discount level at 61 percent off list price, demonstrating the cost savings potential of standardization and volume commitment. This is one example of the how UI departments can work together to achieve great success. Future savings in this category can be found through additional standardization.
  • Janitorial supplies: Huron’s analysis of regents’ universities purchasing data revealed opportunities exist to achieve pricing and discount improvements on products currently being purchased by leveraging the entire regents’ spend.
  • MRO supplies: Huron’s discovery shows that roughly 5 percent of the joint regent spend in this category is for similar items, making standardization of products difficult.  However, a couple of MRO commodity management strategies show the potential for additional savings at each institution.
  • IT Peripherals: Upon review of the purchases in this category, Huron shows additional savings by a more aggressively priced contract as well as directing the various categories of purchases to the more appropriate contract as well as standardizing on specific models of printers.

Later this month, Huron will present on the prime food and scientific supply contracts.