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Davis, California

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Efforts to increase administrative efficiency underway

In order to streamline the administrative process, UC Davis is developing a new Shared Service Center. This new center will house four departments: Payroll, Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology (IT).

“My bias is to promptly implement changes which improve administrative systems and provide greater support to our academic mission,” said Chancellor Linda Katehi in a letter to the Organizational Excellence steering committee.

The idea with the shared service center was to condense areas of work that are done frequently, routine in nature and are transactional, said Karen Hull, project leader for the new center.

As of now, staff members who work in these four areas are doing a variety of unrelated jobs due to budget cuts, Hull said. For example, someone who works in payroll might also work on web design and administrative support. However, these other jobs are not ones they do on a regular basis – due to the infrequency, people don’t always remember how to do certain jobs and they have to relearn the process all the time.

“The way jobs are structured, the work is more consolidated around specific tasks,” Hull said. “You do six things a lot and do them really [well].”

The $6.7 million project provides new technology to make the administrative process more efficient. This project modernizes technology that is outdated or doesn’t exist at all, including a modern payroll system – the current one was built in 1984.

“This project is being implemented only for the administrative unit, but most of the technology will be available across the campus,” Hull said. “Academic departments will [also] benefit from the technology.”

The total budget covers both startup costs as well as the costs of implementing each phase of the four areas. The implementation of all four areas is scheduled to be complete in 2.5 years. The current plan predicts that by 2015, the project will generate $15 million in savings and save $10 million each year after that.

Though the full effect on jobs is yet to be determined, Hull said that about 120 to 170 jobs would be cut.

“This is going to be a very thoughtful process,” Mike Iadanza, the program manager, told Dateline in response to concerns about how the project would affect jobs.

Hull is still working on finding a space for this project. Though it has yet to be determined if the Shared Service Center will be on campus or not, it will be somewhere in Davis.

Hull hopes to expand this project to eventually include more services.

“Once we get these service areas up and running we should certainly be looking at other opportunities,” Hull said.

AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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