Operational Excellence @ Illinois in Brief
As defined in The Next 150 strategic plan, Operational Excellence is a campus-wide initiative to streamline, innovate, improve services, and coordinate administrative processes at all levels. To achieve these objectives, we began efforts in May 2021 to reimagine how administrative services in seven functional areas (Budget, Procurement, IT, Data, Human Resources, Space, and Marketing & Communications) can most effectively support the University’s core missions and vision of preeminence, hiring Huron Consulting Group (Huron) to support our work.
Through a series of activities and candid discussions, the Illinois community has explored opportunities for improvements in organizational structures, service delivery, business processes, and technology enablement related to the identified functions. This work has led to the approval of a redesigned, high-level organizational model, which we are now translating into a specific operating structure for each function.
Operational Excellence is made possible by the efforts of functionally-specific Work and Design Teams under the oversight and guidance of the Chancellor, Provost, Executive Sponsors, and other leaders (see Project Governance for team and leadership composition). We are immensely grateful for their invaluable service to the University and this initiative.
Case for Change
In June 2021, the Operational Excellence @ Illinois Task Force developed a case for change, a thoughtful and intentional articulation of the value and necessity of the initiative. Since then, the case for change has served as a guiding principle for key decision-making.
Our response to the pressures of the pandemic proved we have extraordinary capability to collaborate and innovate. We have always had an appetite for greatness, and at this moment, we are rethinking business as usual to maximize our missions.
We will adopt a “maximizing our missions through operational excellence” mindset. Reducing duplicated effort, streamlining processes, and realizing cost savings maximizes our ability to carry out our missions. In line with “maximizing our missions,” we will realize cost savings not by achieving financial gain immediately through cost-cutting but by developing strategies to avoid unnecessary spending in the future.
Our pursuit of operational excellence will bring our campus community together. Collaborative relationships will be formed; frustrations will ease as processes are streamlined; and individuals will see how their valuable work is connected to maximizing our university’s missions.
We have no option but to succeed. We’re all in because if we do not change, we risk the ability to deliver on our missions, public trust, and our vision of preeminence.