Frequently Asked Questions

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Open Forums FAQs (Staff Specific)
The ISS Project Open Forums held on August 14th and August 16th has a FAQs page with frequently asked questions answered during the open forum sessions. (Staff specific)


Here you will find a few of the most frequently asked questions we encounter.

If your question is not answered here, please feel free to reach out to us by visiting our Contact Us page!

More FAQs to come as the project’s work progresses.

Project Background

(1) What does it mean that the ISS Project Executive Sponsors have approved the Business Case?
The Business Case outlines the general concepts of a new service delivery model that will address the needs identified in the As-Is Report. It also provides considerations and recommendations for decisions to be made in the next phase of the project (Detailed Design and Implementation Planning). The Executive Sponsors, Vice Chancellor Robin Van Harpen and Provost Johannes Britz, approved the project team’s recommendation to seek support from campus leadership to move into the next phase of the project.
(2) What will happen in the Detailed Design and Implementation Planning Phase of the project?
In the next phase of the project, newly defined project teams will work with campus experts and stakeholders to answer many questions about how the service delivery model will be designed for UWM. Building upon the concepts in the high-level design, decisions will be made about: 1) the structure for the ISS organization; 2) which services will be provided by ISS teams; 3) how the campus schools/colleges/divisions be aligned with ISS teams; 4) how service quality and performance of the ISS teams will be measured; 5) how the ISS teams will be staffed; 6) how divisions and departments may reorganize out-of-scope support services to maintain necessary support levels after the ISS implementation; 7) how the organizational changes and new service delivery model will be funded. You can find more information about the details of this project phase on the ISS Project web site at
(3) What is the ISS Project intended to accomplish?
The Integrated Support Services project is an effort to design and implement an administrative structure that provides excellence across UWM, focusing on the functions of Finance & Accounting, Procurement, Human Resources, and Information Technology. Among other goals, it is intended to accomplish long-term service efficiencies’, increase effectiveness, make better use of technology, and enhance professional development opportunities in administrative areas.

Among other things, it is expected to reduce costs through simplification and standardization, concentrate resources on higher core value activities, improve the quality of service to the academic and administrative units, improve response to organizational changes, and facilitate technology deployment. For a comprehensive list of benefits, please visit the About Us page on the ISSP website.


(4) Are reductions in force contemplated? Is there a budget estimate or goal for savings?
At this writing, the Functional Teams are in the “As-Is” phase; that is to say, they are attempting to ascertain how functions are being performed now. The next phase is the “to-be” design phase, to make decisions about how services should be offered on campus. These two phases will take most of 2016. Once the planning is done the implementation phase is scheduled for late 2016, into early 2018.

All that is to say is that there is much work to be done before we consider the details of how the ultimate (not yet completed) design will be implemented. Reductions in force are possible, but there are other ways to meet staffing goals. No specific strategies will be considered until the project reaches the design and implementation phases.

Cost savings is one of the many expected benefits from the ISS Project. at this time, there is no specific goal or estimate of a savings amount.

(5) Does the proposed model save UWM money? How?
In a publication, Making the Case for Shared Services, The Educational Advisory Board found that “Shared services routinely achieve 10 – 30% cost reduction through automation-led headcount reduction and decreases in error-related rework.”

Staff turnover and budget cuts have created lean staffing situations for administrative functions across the campus. The model takes into account scalability of services and process improvement changes that will be beneficial. This is also intended to reduce exposure to risk.

Staff Reorganization

(6) Will the project recognize the importance of staff who perform transactions in the planning and decision-making process?
Yes. The project’s Functional Teams understand that employees that perform the functions and process transactions may know the most about how individual processes really work, and how best to improve upon them. The four Functional Teams will be consulting with individuals at all levels of the institution and all stages of the various functions.

Individuals that have responsibilities within any of the functions (Finance and Accounting, Procurement, HR, and IT) may contribute by completing the stakeholder survey. Anyone may provide input, ask questions or volunteer to assist the project by contacting the team through the Contact Us page on the ISSP website.

(7) Many employees perform multiple functions for a unit; some in the four functions of the project and some outside of them. How will this be taken into account?
While at this time it is too early to know exactly how everything will be designed, by the time of the completion of the “as is” phase, the Project Team will have a thorough understanding of who performs what functions on campus, how other duties are distributed, and the possible impact of changes. It is the objective of the ISSP to make administrative processes more efficient and effective without negatively affecting other functions outside the scope of the project.
(8) What will happen to existing staff?
There will be an open recruitment for key ISS managers, while other existing staff will be transitioned over. Affected staff will participate in planning for transition. We will analyze skill sets and interests to determine staff assignments, develop transition plan for activities in and out of scope for ISS, and assist with process improvement efforts. After transitioning to their new roles, staff will have clear role, responsibilities, and reporting lines, in addition to training and development.
(9) How do Deans, Division Heads and other leaders keep critical strategic or other support roles in their units?
Development/maintenance of administrative leadership roles in units will occur. Responsibilities may include budget planning and development, strategic planning, providing administrative support for academic programs, and organizational planning. Roles may include participation on the ISS Accountability Board, facilitation of communication and planning with ISS, and approval of transactions executed by ISS.
(10) What will happen with the central units and central unit leaders?
Central units and unit leaders will:

  • Support and ensure functional service excellence
  • Advise and counsel on specific/complex matters
  • Consult with hub personnel will require deep subject matter expertise
  • Provide institution-wide development and maintenance of programs, policies, platforms, and standards (training)
  • Act as thought leaders, establish vision for the functions, interface throughout UWM/UWSA on policy and strategic direction, and ensure functional success
(11) How will the Hubs be decided?

Work and Business Process Reorganization

(12) What will happen to existing business processes?
Existing business processes will be reviewed, redesigned, and improved, and changes will be implemented for efficiency and effectiveness. They will also be standardized and measured against performance metrics.
(13) Why does the plan include reorganization? Can we just improve processes and get the same results?
The plan includes reorganization because the current structure has a number of limitations:

  • Lack of formal accountability across all decentralized units
  • Inability to drive and require standardization of processes
  • Complexity for implementation of technology tools and automation
  • Disparity of resources at the unit level (people, technology, and knowledge)
  • Lack of resources for training and support
  • Inability to capture performance metrics
(14) What activities will stay in the units and how will that work be covered?
Shared Services Models

(15) Is the project team doing research in similar implementations at peer educational institutions? Is it incorporating any lessons learned into its planning effort?
Yes and yes. The Project team has researched the shared services experiences of many other institutions of higher education. Some of the information from other institutions is posted on the ISSP website, under Resources.• The Claremont Colleges (California)
• Thomas Jefferson University (Pennsylvania)
• University of Kansas and University of Kansas
• UC Berkeley (California): This site is a list of other institutions that have launched shared services in academia
(16) Is the project team doing research in similar implementations in the private sector? Is it incorporating any lessons learned into the planning effort?
Yes and yes. Although our focus has been on shared services initiatives in higher education, the Project team has also researched the data from private industry.

For information about some of the private industry resources, see:
Accenture (Global Computer System consulting)

Connecting to Other Campus Initiatives

(17) How is the project related to shared services initiatives that are underway on an ad hoc basis within various campus divisions and departments at this time?
The Project Team understands that UWM divisions and departments are currently exploring ways to share resources to create savings. While these efforts are not part of the ISS Project at this time, they will serve to inform the planning during the design phase of the project. We will endeavor to stay informed about these initiatives and consider their implications for the final recommendations.
(18) How does the ISS Project fit with other campus or agency initiatives?
The ISS Project is coordinating efforts with the UWM Budget Planning Task Force and the Chancellor’s Campus Organization & Effectiveness Team (CCOET). Members of the ISS Functional Leadership team and Project Core Team sit on or attend meetings of the Budget Planning Task Force and CCOET. It is hoped that the ISS Project will be a major component in the success of either of the other initiatives.

Project Evaluation

(19) How will it be determined if the project has been successful?
The Project will use metrics to set and meet process excellence and service delivery targets.
(20) How will you ensure service excellence?
Central unit leaders will be responsible for service excellence within each function, and Service and Accountability Assurance Boards will assist this drive for excellence. Other components include:

  • Customer Surveys
  • ISS Leadership Structure – focus on customer service
  • Communication path for questions/concerns
  • Performance Metrics

Communication and Staff Input

(21) What kind of communications are planned?
The presentation schedule and notes are available on the ISSP website under Stakeholder Communication Updates. Since June 2015, the project leadership has been making numerous campus presentations to stakeholders and governance groups.

In 2016-17, the Integrated Support Services (ISS) project team has begun sharing project findings and recommendations to a variety of stakeholders across campus. A schedule for broad campus communication has also been finalized and is included below.

Goals for the presentation meetings are:

  • Develop an understanding of the current state for in‐scope functions
  • Share the proposed model and how it will address challenges in the current state
  • Receive and respond to questions about the project or the proposed model

Project Open Forum sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes, with approximately 45 minutes for the presentation and 45 minutes for questions and discussion. Functional Open Forum sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss ISS as it relates to each of the in‐scope functions in more detail. Those sessions are scheduled for two hours in order to provide more function‐specific details in the presentation and more time for discussion.

The meetings scheduled below are open to all UWM faculty and staff. Please plan to attend one of the sessions and encourage others to attend with you. The project sponsors are very interested in hearing from as many people as possible to ensure questions and concerns are addressed as the project moves into the Detailed Design phase.

Project Open Forums:
December 19 (Monday) – 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ‐ Library 4th floor
December 29 (Thursday) – 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Library 4th floor
January 6 (Friday) – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Union 191
January 12 (Thursday) – 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Union 191 *New
January 20 (Friday) – 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Union 191 *New

Functional Open Forums:
Human Resources – December 21 (Wednesday) – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Union 191
Procurement – January 4 (Wednesday) – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Union 191
IT – January 4 (Wednesday) – 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Union 191
Accounting – January 5 (Thursday) – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Union 191

Monitor the Stakeholder Communication Updates page for future information about opportunities to learn more about the Project.

(22) How can someone learn more or provide input to the Project Team?
Use the Contact Us page on the ISSP website to offer suggestions, ask questions, or request further explanations. You can also offer your expertise in one of the four functions being Finance & Accounting, Procurement, Human Resources, and Information Technology by taking the stakeholder survey.