As an organization, NSHE institutions will collectively deliver more efficient and effective processes for administrative and other support services.
Since 2008, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) has seen a real dollar decline in funding for higher education as a result of reductions in state support and lost investment income. System-wide, the reductions have totaled almost $104M with the loss of approximately 1000 positions, many of which have been in areas of administrative support. It is not anticipated that state appropriations will return to pre-recession levels in the foreseeable future.
Spurred by these events, the NSHE System Office undertook a high-level review of the various ways in which administrative services could be reorganized to provide improved services, consistent and improved administrative efficiency, and an opportunity for cost efficiency. An initial report was prepared for the Board of Regents outlining the extent of this evaluation. The June 10, 2011 Efficiency and Effectiveness Phase 2 Recommendations can be found on the NSHE System website.
In conjunction with this preliminary, high-level study, the Nevada System of Higher Education began preparing to migrate its centralized legacy mainframe Financial and Human Resources/Payroll applications to a modern ERP solution. NSHE implemented three instances of Oracle/PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, which was placed in full production in Fall 2011.
The current legacy financial application is Advantage Financial and the current Payroll/Human Resource application is from PeopleStrategy (formerly Integral’s HRMS). Additionally, NHSE acknowledges that current practices, policies, and organizations have evolved incrementally over several decades of unprecedented growth in higher education in Nevada. This growth has resulted in incompatible or even duplicative functions and services or organizational layers that result in inefficiencies or complicate decision making and may require organizational change. Many services in the System and on the campuses remain paper-intensive and are frequently decried as overly bureaucratic by users. These factors, along with the shortcomings of legacy information and data systems, have resulted in numerous shadow systems and their attendant costs.
We expect that replacement of the finance and HR systems will provide the opportunity to modernize business processes by taking advantage of available automation and workflow technologies that do not exist in the legacy systems. This may include opportunities to centralize or decentralize activities with the objective being to make processes more efficient but also to better serve the institutions.
In August, 2012, NSHE contracted with Huron Consulting Group, Inc. for services to assist the System in reviewing all major financial and HR business processes and recommending the most efficient and effective options to deliver those services in the future.
The analysis took into consideration the best practices of comparable institutions and within comparable systems of higher education, and made recommendations regarding administrative policy as well as organizational workflow to deliver exemplary administrative services, with an emphasis on how NSHE can best coordinate such processes for the benefit of the System’s institutions.
In July 2013, Huron delivered its final report and redesigned process flows for the NSHE’s Human Resource, Payroll and Financial business process. Their work included a recommendation on 10 key business process areas that are candidates for shared services within the System.