The pause has been lifted from the shared services initiative, and the project is moving forward with an engagement process that will involve faculty and staff as well as future members of the shared services team.

Thom Madden, who is leading the implementation phase of the initiative, met with the Administrative Services Transformation Advisory Committee on Wednesday to outline a framework for engaging campus input. This process may occur at multiple times in various ways across the units of the university, Madden explains, and the AST team is ready to support units in the process.

“Engaging faculty and staff to gather their advice on how best to move forward will be done primarily at the school, college and unit level,” Madden says.

Mark Burns, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering, is assisting in the overall faculty-engagement effort on behalf of the AST Advisory Committee.  

Both Madden and Burns say they expect the efforts over the next couple months will help faculty and staff develop a deeper understanding of which functions will be done in the Shared Services Center and which will remain in the units.

The development of a shared services center for some financial and human resources functions is one aspect of AST. The project also includes a strategic sourcing initiative to leverage the university’s purchases for reduced costs.¬†Combining resources to achieve lower costs with high levels of customer service is the aim of the new center. Savings are estimated at $5 million to $6 million a year once fully operational.

The first phase of work to be performed in the new center will include accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions, Madden explains. That work is expected to move to the center by Aug. 1. Additional work and staff will move to the center in additional phases. Madden says the center will not be fully operational until the winter of 2015.

Meanwhile, Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources, has been meeting with future shared services team members to help them prepare for their new assignments. She reports that about 130 future team members participated in two recent forums and a third session is scheduled for today.

Thomas and members of the Shared Services Workforce Transition Team covered a range of information including the physical arrangement of the center, how the final placement process will work and options for ongoing participation in the project.

“The future team members are very engaged in this process and some are quite anxious to start work as part of this new team,”Thomas says.

Meanwhile, work continues to prepare space in the leased facility at 1000 Victors Way, near Wolverine Tower. When fully staffed, up to 275 employees are expected to work at the center.