Shared Services FAQs

What is a shared services model and what does it mean at UT Austin?

  • For UT Austin, it will mean that some highly transactional services that take place at the college, department, and unit level, would be leveraged to support additional units and eventually support the whole university.
  • The next step for UT Austin will be to pilot a shared services model for HR, Finance, Procurement, and IT for select CSUs. The pilots will be supported via existing UT Austin capabilities. For administrative services, that will be via the CBO and for IT services it will be via Administrative Technical Support (ATS).
  • The pilots will focus on improving service and increasing efficiencies that will benefit the entire campus, improving the quality of jobs for staff through clearly defined career paths and professional development, and to nurture and grow a culture supportive of both the Central Business Office and Academic Technology Support.

Why is UT Austin looking to implement a shared services model?

UT Austin has engaged and will continue to engage in activities that reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve services. We are looking to gain the following advantages:

  • To improve services and increase campus-wide efficiency
  • To improve the quality of jobs for staff through clearly defined career paths, professional development, consistent business practices, and modern technical systems to help them accomplish more
  • To reduce costs. As a state university, UT Austin is expected to manage tax dollars responsibly
  • To enable the university to focus its resources on its core mission of teaching and research

What are some examples of shared services that already operate on the UT Austin campus?

The shared services model is already being used in certain areas of campus:

  • McCombs School of Business:  McCombs recently implemented a shared services approach to administrative activities across departments with an emphasis on customer service
  • College of Liberal Arts (CoLA): CoLA has implemented shared services for IT end user support and is in the process of implementing shared services for HR, Finance, and Procurement activities
  • Central Business Office (CBO): The CBO currently serves Information Technology Services (ITS), Dell Medical School, Legal Affairs, Marketing and Creative Services, Office of the President, and the University Development Office for HR, Finance, and Procurement activities
  • ITS Customer Support Services (CSS) and Data Center Services: ITS CSS responds to over 111,000 requests/inquiries from all CSUs on campus. ITS CSS also manages approximately 3,600 desktops each year through remote and on-site desktop support zones. Data Center Services currently support 39 UT Austin departments.

What units will participate in the pilots? 

College of Education: Administrative services 

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost: Administrative services & IT services

What is the scope of the pilots?

For Finance/Procurement:

  • Accounts payable processing
  • Travel & expense processing
  • Requisition-to-order processing

For Human Resources:

  • Recruitment  document processing
  • Employee data administration support

For Information Technology:

  • End-user services
  • Infrastructure as a service
  • Data center
  • Network

What is the timeline for the pilots?

As presented in the Findings and Recommendations of the Shared Services Steering Committee, pilot program activities began in the spring of 2014 and are scheduled to be completed in the spring to early summer of 2015.

How will pilot units be onboarded?

The College of Education and Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will be onboarded in phases. See below for a breakdown of each:

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost:

College of Education:

How will the success of the pilots be determined?

The Executive Steering Committee defined three high-level success criteria for the pilots:

  • Maintain and/or Improve Service Quality
  • Increase Career Opportunities for Staff
  • Reduce Costs

The pilot phase may also be assisted by a class of graduate students at the LBJ School. Their role is still to be determined, but it’s possible that they would assist in the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data among pilot units.

Will UT Austin employees lose their jobs as a result of administrative and IT pilots?

It is our hope and belief that much of the reduction in positions can be achieved through natural attrition (voluntary leaves and retirement). Historical retirement and turnover levels support this expectation. Historical attrition trends for UT Austin staff supporting HR, Finance, Procurement, IT ranges from 500-600 people per year.

The goal of improving the quality of jobs for staff remains key to the success of the pilots. During Campus Dialogue, a common complaint was that staff felt that they are currently unable to further their skills to pursue advancement opportunities inside and outside the university. The goal is to provide staff with clearly defined career paths, professional development, and consistent business practices, some of which is currently lacking. 

Does shared services include outsourcing?

No. UT Austin is planning for the implementation of a “shared” service approach that will be staffed by university employees, not a “managed” service approach that is outsourced.

The university is not looking to outsource the performance of administrative services to external third parties.

What is the Central Business Office (CBO)?

The CBO is a customer-focused, performance driven, centralized processing and reporting unit under the Office of the Vice President & Chief Financial Officer that organizes and manages financial and administrative operations. In partnering with the CBO you can expect:

  • Quality Services – The CBO assists units across campus with administrative functions such as purchasing, accounting, inventory, human resources and revenue collection
  • Collaborative Relationship – The CBO manages service delivery to customers through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that clearly document responsibilities of the CBO and the requesting unit, as well as the groups interact
  • Experienced & Knowledgeable Staff – The CBO has been providing administrative services to their clients since 2009

What units does the CBO currently serve?

  • Dell Medical School
  • University Development Office
  • Office of the President
  • Vice President for Legal Affairs
  • Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • University Marketing and Creative Services

What services does the CBO provide? 

Finance/Procurement

  • Accounting and reporting
  • Accounts payable processing
  • Travel and expense processing
  • Requisition-to-order processing
  • Inventory management
  • Financial management
  • Business contracts

Human Resources

  • Assignments
  • New hire/onboarding
  • Compensation
  • Separations
  • Payroll
  • Performance management
  • Employee relations
  • Records management
  • Timekeeping

Additional Services

  • Electronic office management
  • Training

What is Academic Technology Support (ATS)?

The College of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) and ITS Customer Support Services (ITS CSS) are working collaboratively to create a new capability, ATS, which will leverage historical success to provide IT end user support to the Executive Vice President and Provost portfolio. Units working with ATS should expect:

  • The Best of Both Worlds - During the pilot phase, ATS will continue to develop and redefine IT end user support to bring together the best of both worlds (LAITS and ITS CSS): customer services best practices, uniform IT support tools, consistent metrics for success, and other standardized policies and procedures.
  • High Services Satisfaction Rates - ATS's number one focus is on customer satisfaction. Over 90% of current LAITS and ITS CSS clients rate desktop support as "very satisfied." This high level of support will continue.
  • Team Oriented IT Department - Employees transitioning to ATS will join a highly collaborative team environment that boasts high morale, provides career opportunities and better access to support for network, service, and other backend services.

What services does ATS provide?

Basic services include:

  • Computer support
  • Service and storage administration
  • Network and VoIP telephone support
  • Computer support and set up for new employees

Additional services include:

  • Desktop computer lifecycle management and procurement
  • Network equipment lifecycle management and procurement
  • Computer and research lab support