How long has Operational Excellence been in progress and when will it finish?
  • Operational Excellence @ Illinois efforts began in May 2021 and is structured to occur in five phases.
  • Operational Excellence is not a one-and-done initiative, but rather a continuous improvement effort. Even as the new operating model takes effect, we will continue to improve administrative services and adjust as needed on an ongoing basis. 
Why are there multiple phases to Operational Excellence?
  • A phased approach is being used due to the large scope of the project.
  • By handling the project in phases, it helps us manage our resources efficiently to complete the work needed in each phase and ensure that the new operating structure is set up well from inception to implementation.
  • The initiative is focused on implementing effectively rather than speeding through the process.
Why are IT, HR and MarCom currently working with Huron, while other areas are not?
  • Based on Work Team efforts during previous phases, HR and IT were identified as the two areas most in need of immediate support to strengthen the foundation for Operational Excellence in other functional areas. As a result, HR and IT have moved into the Detailed Design phase with direct involvement and support from Huron working on service delivery design.
  • The HR and IT Service Delivery Design initiatives are the most comprehensive of ongoing Operational Excellence initiatives, impacting the entirety of each functional area through organizational design work, structural changes and/or other enhancements to their service delivery models.
  • MarCom has been identified as another area for Huron support to help accelerate achievement of Operational Excellence goals.
  • Other initiatives requiring less direct support have progressed forward as well, leveraging past team efforts, previous recommendations and SPMO support.
Is this an effort to centralize services?
  • This model does not centralize the day-to-day unit functions nor the strategic functions specific to certain disciplines and areas of research. Units will have full oversight of specialized, discipline-specific operations.
  • Operational Excellence @ Illinois seeks to designate teams on campus as Centers of Expertise that can provide skills in specific functional areas. These changes will help staff work across university teams while allowing units to focus their time and effort on their specific missions, disciplines, and priorities. 
Will positions be eliminated?
  • Reduction in force is not an expectation of this initiative
  • In fact, an important goal of Operational Excellence is to define roles so individuals will have clearer career paths and opportunities for professional growth, advancement and specialization. 
  • Some job responsibilities may change for certain positions, but these details have not yet been defined. Following definition, individuals directly impacted will work with their direct supervisors and HR to discuss and consider the specifics of change. 
Will my reporting line change?
  • At this point, detailed reporting lines have not been determined.
  • As Centers of Expertise and unit-level Functional Support Teams are formed, role/position/reporting line changes will be made clear depending on school, college and centrally budgeted unit needs.
Will I have opportunities for professional growth and/or advancement?
  • It is a goal that each functional area (HR, IT, Data, Space, Budget, Procurement, and MarCom) will have a new structure of defined roles that will provide an opportunity for individuals to prepare and move into new and potentially specialized roles.
  • As part of this initiative, we will also be looking at titles, classification of positions impacted, and compensation with a goal of improving equity of similar functional positions across the university.
Are structural changes going to be implemented at the same time?
  • Implementation details will be identified towards the end of the Detailed Design phase. Certain units may enter implementation before others.
What is the Strategic Project Management Office (SPMO)?
  • The SPMO is a unit within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations. The SPMO is charged with providing project management excellence and leadership expertise in the execution of university-wide strategic initiatives, including Operational Excellence.
  • For more details, visit the SPMO website.
What is the Operational Excellence Office (OEO)?
  • The Operational Excellence Office is the SPMO’s Operational Excellence oversight structure. This structure includes executive leadership, functional area leadership and representation, cross-functional enablement teams, and unit-specific transition teams.
  • The SPMO leads OEO by providing sponsorship, acting as the public-facing owner of the initiative and fostering active collaboration and communication.
  • For more details, see the Campuswide Teams page.
What opportunities exist for employees not involved in the current work to talk to someone on the project? Who do we contact with questions?
  • For comments, questions or feedback about Operational Excellence @ Illinois, please email operationalexcellence@illinois.edu. The team will ensure that your message is routed to the right initiative leader or representative so that they may follow up with you.
How can I get involved with Operational Excellence?
  • University leadership will share opportunities for individuals to get involved with the initiative as they arise.
  • Continue to visit the website for real-time updates on the project’s progress.

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