Background of Initiative

Division leaders began the framework implementation by looking at peers to assess operational simplification models used elsewhere.  After reviewing peer data and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of prior process review efforts, BAS utilized seven steps to advance simplification:

  • Gathering comprehensive feedback
  • Prioritizing (if everything is important then nothing is)
  • Understanding the intent and background of processes
  • Verifying that the problem had been defined correctly
  • Developing communication and work plans
  • Identifying positive reinforcement mechanisms
  • Charging solution development teams

The division utilized a series of mechanisms by which to collect client feedback about current BAS operations, including interviews, surveys and business process roundtables.

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) survey was sent to clients and was administered in person to various units. The six questions contained in the SWOT were:

  1. What do you view to be the greatest strength of the division of Business and Administrative Services (BAS)?           
  2. What do you view to be the greatest weakness of the division of Business and Administrative Services (BAS)?        
  3. What do you view to be the greatest opportunity for the division of Business and Administrative Services (BAS)?        
  4. What do you view to be the greatest threat for the division of Business and Administrative Services (BAS)?           
  5. What BAS processes or procedures do you find to be excessively cumbersome due to the steps involved or the tools used?
  6. What other feedback do you have that can assist the BAS team as they plan for the future?

Business process roundtables were utilized to gather process-specific feedback. The following Neff & Citrin (2005) quote was used at the beginning of each session to frame the desire to ask fresh questions about operations:

“But the advantages of being an insider are counterbalanced by two major drawbacks.  First, you cannot possibly have the clarity and fresh perspective of an outsider.  Longtime habits and perceptions may blind you to inefficient processes or misplaced assumptions.  Without even realizing it, you may have fallen into the ‘that’s not how we do things around here’ trap, which cuts off the possibility of doing things differently.  By contrast, when you are  new to a company or an industry, you have the ability to ask the ‘dumb’ questions – questions that ultimately and frequently turn out to be not so dumb after all.”                                                                                                                                                    
Three questions were posed in each roundtable to generate discussion.
  1. What are examples (real or perceived) where BAS adds additional steps/requirements/approvals beyond UC policy? (focus is internal BAS operations)
  2. What are examples (real or perceived) where UCSC adds additional steps/requirements/approvals beyond UC policy?  (focus is on campus operations that BAS oversees)
  3. What are examples of BAS processes that are cumbersome not because of policy, but because of the manual/onerous nature of them?

After the business process roundtables were complete, feedback was categorized and themes were identified. Feedback was broken out into BAS internal operations and BAS external operations. For internal operations, an analysis was done to compare BAS internal operations and levels of approval with those of other UCSC divisions. For external operations, four areas emerged as the most frequently referenced operational areas: procurement, recruitment, travel and the ERF. The concerns identified for each of the four areas differed and to better understand the feedback at set of follow-up questions were posed to clients. As a result of the feedback received, four Solution Development Teams were formed to review the areas of concern and provide recommendations for consideration.