Savings in building maintenance contracts. Reduction of steps to fill a vacant position. Cost avoidance through expansion of cloud-based computing storage in Information Technology (IT).
These savings and process improvements are early results from work this summer on William & Mary's Business Innovation initiative. Through this initiative, the university is reviewing business processes in a comprehensive effort to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
The effort is guided by a 13-member steering committee, co-chaired by the provost and the vice president for strategic initiatives and including faculty, staff, a student and a member of the
"This is exactly what we hoped to find," said Provost
Since last spring, Facilities Management has used the Request for Proposal (RFP) process in procurement to engage specified contractors to do specialized work such as painting, HVAC, electrical and similar trades.
"This work began independently of the Business Innovation initiative, but it has become a model for what is possible by taking fuller advantage of procurement processes," said
"We were able to provide the same quantity of work, equal or better quality but lower prices by following industry best practices," he continued. "Additional analysis as part of the business innovation initiative suggested additional opportunities for savings can be found in other areas."
One of the goals of the overarching Business Innovation initiative, officials said, is to free-up resources and to create an operationally more effective institution with simpler processes and more responsive systems.
"Part of this effort is about finding ways to streamline processes without compromising quality" Halleran said. "The recent reduction in the number of steps necessary to fill a vacant position is an excellent example of this."
During the initial phase of the Business Innovation project, the consultants,
"If we can apply a similar pragmatic model to map workflow across campus with respect to other personnel actions," said
In addition to the HR process improvement and the contract cost savings, another summer pilot project identified opportunities for savings and cost-avoidance in IT.
"The university's need for data storage and computing capacity grows substantially every year," said Chief Information Officer
Carpenter added that estimates suggest that use of cloud-based systems in this manner eliminates the long-term need to build a data center that would cost several million dollars.
With the pilot projects completed, the Business Innovation effort will now be expanding with the launch of a campus-wide survey of the same kind completed by Advancement and the
"Based on the value of the exercises conducted this summer in Advancement and the
The campus-wide survey, like the pilot programs this summer, will be conducted with the assistance of Censeo. Prior to the launch of this summer's pilot projects, the
"The intent of the campus-wide survey," added Broaddus, "is to learn more about what people see as barriers to their effectiveness and to foster long-term thinking about organizational structure."
"This process has the potential to not only improve our financial health but to also improve faculty and staff satisfaction through streamlined processes and improved support systems," Halleran added.
While officials said the results of the campus-wide survey will be ready by the first of the year, they noted the overall Business Innovation effort is more long-term and will extend over several years.
"Throughout the process," Broaddus added, "the Steering Committee will be refining opportunities and tracking results. Members of the William & Mary community are invited to learn more about the initiative and to provide feedback through the Business Innovation website.
"Business processes are not the main things William & Mary does," said Broaddus, "but we want William & Mary to excel at them in order to support our educational mission that much better. We want to become the model for a university where opportunities for cost savings, process improvements and long-term efficiencies are discovered in a systematic and ongoing way."
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