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September 11, 2000

New Business Architecture will support campus growth

By Francine Tyler

Tangible manifestations of campus growth are apparent across the UCSC campus: student enrollment rising, buildings under construction, new colleges opening their doors.

Why is this growth necessary?
Behind the scenes, the campus is preparing to support that growth with a new business model, dubbed "UC 2010--A New Business Architecture."

An example of a business portal that could be developed as part of the New Business Architecture (view active version)
"With the New Business Architecture, we're making sure that the administrative infrastructure keeps pace with the growth of UCSC and all the campuses as well as with new technologies," said Tom Vani, vice chancellor of Business and Administrative Services.

"The idea is that as we continue to grow and make changes to technology, we use this tool to make life as simple as possible," he added.

Vani is part of the New Business Architecture Planning Group, a group of vice chancellors and other top administrators from throughout the UC system that presented a report to the UC Regents in July.

The New Business Architecture is expected to enable the university to manage growth, control costs, improve the work environment, and implement best business practices, according to the report.

The group consulted a number of UC's corporate partners, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cisco Systems, IBM, and Gateway Computers, for help in designing key elements of the plan.

The New Business Architecture makes six recommendations for UC:

  • Develop "business portals"--personalized web sites that will help individuals carry out their jobs and access training
  • Apply new approaches to recruitment, retention, and development of employees
  • Streamline the university's policies and processes
  • Leverage new technology to contain costs and improve services
  • Integrate campus financial systems and provide enhanced financial reporting
  • Embed performance management systems in UC business processes and focus on the most important financial controls

The plan is expected to be carried out over the next decade, with completion scheduled for 2010. Creation of a UC-wide steering committee will be one of the first steps.

One of the most important features of the New Business Architecture is the attention it pays to recruiting, retaining, and developing UC staff, said Vani.

The report outlines new approaches to recruitment and retention which include:

  • Developing and promoting UC as an employer of choice
  • Making the application and recruitment process more user-friendly
  • Expanding diversity efforts
  • Exploring flexible benefits programs, including a retirement plan that would benefit staff with less than five years service
  • Changing job classification systems and defining jobs more broadly
  • Improving and assessing UC's compensation packages

The report proposes that UC provide opportunities for staff to build leadership skills and enjoy career mobility. In addition, the report recommends that UC hire additional staff when needed to help the campus grow, and that it should improve its relationships with employee unions.

To further sustain and develop the university's workforce, the report recommends that campuses invest deeply in employee training and development. Part of this training and development could be provided by the business portal--another essential part of the New Business Architecture plan.

The business portal--essentially a web page customized to particular campuses, jobs, and people--can provide initial and continual training to the staff member who uses it, Vani said. It will also provide links to data warehouses and web pages that will help staff perform their jobs more efficiently.

Parts of the business portal model will be standardized across the UC system, but much of it will be customized to particular users.

For example, staff who purchase goods and services for their units may have links to suppliers they use most often. They'll be able to research the best prices and have access to standard purchasing contracts. Policies, procedures, and financial reports will also be available online.

Eventually, Vani foresees staff having the ability to complete time sheets at their business portal. Expense reports may also be online.

"This is more than a web page. It is the tool for you to be able to do your job and navigate through the business of our university," Vani said.

The sweeping changes proposed under the New Business Architecture will affect every unit on campus, with the least impact to grounds, facilities, and crafts, Vani said. Academic and centralized units, such as Business and Administrative Services (BAS) will be the most affected.

In addition to Vani, other UCSC people who assisted with the report were Kirk Lew, assistant vice chancellor for financial affairs, and Catherine Faris, Business and Administrative Services' former assistant vice chancellor.

A copy of the report may be found on the web at uc2010.ucsd.edu/

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