Apr 12, 2011
By George Mauzy
Ohio University is one of 14 Ohio public universities participating in the Inter-University Council (IUC)* Institutional Excellence and Shared Services (IESS) project.
The IESS project is an IUC collaborative assessment that aims to examine potential shared-service opportunities among the participating universities. The goals are to elevate areas of excellence and explore potential areas of collaboration that would lower costs, increase service effectiveness, and/or lower operating risk to universities.
The project serves as a strategic plan for Ohio universities to maximize the collective opportunities for increased efficiencies, better service, and shared savings during a difficult economic climate.
"We must create efficiencies and increase savings and customer satisfaction," said Laura Nowicki, Ohio University Director of Procurement Services. "You can improve processes by cutting costs because it enables people to work more efficiently. This project is one for which we are proud to partner with our colleagues across the state."
In December 2010, the 14 IUC university presidents unanimously voted to guide the state's first multi-institutional collaborative effort to evaluate shared services opportunities in the areas of finance, information technology, procurement, and human resource functions.
During the past several months, the IESS Project Teams at each institution have gathered quantitative data related to each university's functional areas for fiscal year 2010. National consulting companies Accenture and The Hackett Group are assisting the IUC with the project by providing benchmarking and consulting services.
Final findings have been shared with each IUC-member institution along with a comprehensive report to the IUC. The comprehensive report will identify potential opportunities for partnership between the universities for cost savings across the financial and information technology functional areas.
Ohio's cost-saving efforts received a big boost in November 2009 when the Lumina Foundation for Education awarded a major, multi-year investment that will help the state deliver higher education in new ways and at lower expense to students and taxpayers. The grant is allowing the state to consolidate support operations at its institutions in an effort to save more than $100 million that can be redirected to improve student services and stabilize tuition costs.
Ohio University is already participating in the following shared services programs in an attempt to save money:
Premier purchasing agreements are providing improved purchasing rates for participating universities.
The Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC) was established in 1939 as a voluntary educational association of Ohio's public universities. The association represents Ohio's 14 public universities.