About the Report Introduction The New Business Architecture Next Steps Appendices
The New Business Architecture  
Business Portal
Processes and Policies
Enabling Technology
Financial Systems and Reporting
Organizational Performance and Controls

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away."


Business processes at the University of California reflect the complexity of our organizational structures. Processes wind circuitously through work groups and departments, each of which assumes responsibility for its specific contribution to the end result.

UC process redesign efforts over the past decade have focused on improving the performance of administrative processes by analyzing workflow; reducing hand-offs, delay intervals, process variants, and unnecessary approvals; measuring rework and elapsed times; and weighing policy constraints. Process redesign has produced benefits that are broad in scope and significant in their impact on operational effectiveness.

While the UC campuses and the Office of the President have engaged in process redesign activity in many areas within business administration and operations, not surprisingly, the financial and human resources functions have received the greatest attention.

The strategies described above, as valuable as they have proven to be in the past, will not provide the strategic breakthrough the University needs to meet the growth and complexity challenges of the future. Since the vast majority of administrative costs occur in the departments of the University, (as distinguished from central administration), improving the effectiveness of the University's business processes must begin in the departments.6 A new business model will need to do more than present users with new windows into old processes.

"Putting a Web site in front of a flawed process merely advertises its flaws — just as important as having smooth, efficient processes is being able to redesign those processes on the fly. From order fulfillment to customer service to procurement, operating processes are rarely fixed anymore. They must change their shape as markets change, as new technologies become available, as new competitors arrive." 7

Over the next decade, UC staff will fundamentally change the way they perform their work. The bureaucratic, civil service model of repetitive tasks and highly specialized staff is no longer applicable to the knowledge-based economy in which the University operates today. This report confirms the need for UC business administration and operations to transition to an information-based work environment, where staff can easily find the information they need, learn how to accomplish critical tasks and exercise the judgement necessary to perform their work.

The chart on the following page provides a general characterization of the business process environment at the University of California today. It also identifies the kinds of changes that will occur as the University increasingly associates employee productivity with better access to information, better use of technology and evolving know-how and expertise.

UC Business Processes
Past   Future Direction
Core business processes:
Optimized to central office needs
Are paper-driven and labor-intensive
Are characterized by extreme complexity
Resist delegation and simplification
  Core business processes will:
Be streamlined to meet campus customer needs
Deliver & process information in electronic format
Focus content delivery and application design on the departmental user
Eliminate costly bureaucracy
Processes are designed to:
Rely on complex procedures to ensure compliance and eliminate risk of failure or fraud
Address exceptions without validating the cost and benefits of doing so
  Processes will be designed to:
Emphasize simplicity over excessive controls
Accommodate acceptable risk thresholds
Accommodate 98% of standard transactions with exceptions handled outside of process
Systems supporting business processes require users to:
Learn and use applications with no common design or user interface
Remember a list of log-on ID's and passwords,
Wade through information they do not (and may never) need
  A Web-based business model will allow users to create a personalized desktop in which:
Processes are presented in a series of simple, intuitive steps with templates supported by expert help
Navigation is easy and obvious
A single authentication/authorization is supported
Training is integrated into the application
The user determines what information to receive on the desktop
Updating of business processes to incorporate industry best practices occurs infrequently   UC will keep its fingers on the pulse of changing business practices in business, education and other industries
UC campuses and Office of the President share new and better ways of working on an ad hoc basis  
UC business area "communities" systematically will share information and innovative business processes and practices
Best-practices databases and other shared knowledge sources will be included in the content delivered to departmental users
Organizational barriers create obstacles to process improvement   A new business model will present content and functionality to the user that is not restricted to departmental views and ownership

Policy provides institutional guidance for effective decision-making and ensures that mechanisms for regulatory compliance are embedded into business practices of the University. The University can do much to improve the maze of complexity that staff must negotiate today in order to determine what is and is not acceptable. The following table contrasts the policy challenges within UC today against the recommended changes required to support the new business model.

Policies and Policy Development
Past   Future Direction
Policies are difficult for staff to locate and access   UC policies will be incorporated into business processes through decision technologies and rule- based systems
Policies are overly detailed and complex. They are difficult for staff to understand and to use as guidance in decision-making   Simple rules and "how-to's," built into applications, will guide employee decision-making. Full text policy will be available when required via online links to the source documents
Policies are often outdated and irrelevant due to infrequency of update activity  
–  Policies will be simplified and more flexible, requiring less frequent review and update
–  Technology will automate the dissemination and updating of "how to" directories, including policy revisions
Policy development and implementation is a complicated and lengthy process   UC will reengineer the process and structure for developing and implementing policies
Government regulatory compliance requirements inhibit policy simplification   UC will engage in active collaboration with government agencies to implement regulatory reform

"Our HR Web is designed to be a single gateway for access to all related programs, policies and practices. This offers information, interactive tools and the ability to transact — on a 24 x 7 basis. A new- hire Web portal and our technology- enabled telephone service center get employees up and running quickly."

Silvio Lanaro, Director
IBM HR Technology

A new UC business architecture will reinvent the way faculty, staff and students accomplish administrative tasks. The Business Portal will make administrative processes and policies accessible to new and existing staff in a context that includes the necessary tools to allow them to learn and do their jobs more effectively.

The University's ability to pursue the future direction described above will also require a workplace culture characterized by recruitment and retention of appropriately skilled staff, clear definitions of roles and responsibilities, just-in- time delivery of training, effective communications and risk management within the departments.

Processes & Policies Strategies:
  • Engage an external consultant to assist UC in an aggressive examination of current processes, policies and procedures for relevancy and value to the UC mission. Identify the simplest, most effective processes among UC campuses and replicate them Universitywide

  • Redesign key business processes to the 80/20 rule and estimate the risk-exposure levels that need to be accommodated

  • Incorporate simplified policies into the "how to" and "expert help" components of the New Business Architecture

  • Delegate authority and responsibility to the most-informed level of decision-making in the organization

Employee Systems Initiative (ESI) Report developed by UC and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
How Process Enterprises Really Work," Michael Hammer and Steven Stanton, Harvard Business Review, November-December, 1999 p. 118.
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