Central Business Office Phase-Out: FAQ
What is the new plan for what was referred to as the Shared Services program and how should its two units – the Central Business Office (CBO) and Academic Technology Support (ATS) – expect to be affected in the short and long term?
It is necessary to phase out the CBO in its current structure. We are working with CBO staffers and its respective clients within several colleges, schools, and units (CSUs) to determine whether current financial and administrative processes might be better allocated to serve our core academic mission and improve our operational efficiency within each CSU. Moving forward, we will continue exploring new methods and programs that serve the CBO’s remaining clients across campus and assess whether that should be done through centralized business units or provided at the local level.
The ATS unit will continue serving more than 90 units across campus, including academic, research, and staff units.
Does this affect Accounts Payable and Travel services?
No. Accounts Payable and Travel services were not part of the Shared Services pilot program and will continue to operate and serve the University community in the same capacity.
How many employees are affected and will there be layoffs?
The CBO pilot program has approximately 30 full-time employees. During the next few months, we will work with the CBO’s clients across campus to assess their needs. We hope to avoid layoffs moving forward by reassigning the CBO employees elsewhere.
Why is this happening now?
Periodically, the University needs to review and assess its structures and administrative processes to ensure that we continue to operate efficiently and effectively within changing environments and growing needs or demands. Due to a recent review of its current format, we have found the CBO pilot program is not producing the savings we had anticipated when it was launched.
Trying new things may not always work as planned, but we move forward and learn from these pilot initiatives with similar goals to always seek innovative ways to improve our operational efficiencies.
What CSUs left the CBO and why did these clients decide to do so?
The nature of the organization is to manage financial and administrative services (procurement, accounting, inventory, human resources, payments, and revenue collection) for clients that include multiple CSUs. The Provost’s Office and the ITS group will no longer be using these CBO services. During the next few months, we will be working closely with the remaining CBO clients to assess their financial and administrative service needs.
Did the pilot program save money?
No. Although it was designed to save money, the program instead resulted in net additional costs in excess of $600,000 per fiscal year. This lack of efficiency is the principal reason we are ending the pilot.
What are the next steps?
We remain focused on reviewing and assessing the University’s structures and administrative processes to ensure operational efficiency that meets the growing needs and changing environments across campus. We will continue to explore new methods and programs that serve the University.
Where can we expect to find related updates or ask additional questions?
Related updates will be posted on the CBO and Transforming UT websites.