Saturday, March 29, 2014

UI Says, 'Deloitted to Meet You'

March 29, 2014, 10:00 p.m.

And see: "Delight Consultants: How to Increase UI's Iowans," June 14, 2014; and "April 1 Update: Early Deloitte Efficiency Proposals; Early Revelations Shock UI Faculty, Staff," April 1, 2014 -- and, at the bottom of this blog essay, a chronological listing of newspaper articles covering this saga from February 11 through August 22, 2014, with links to full text.

June 12 Update: Deloitte's report turns out to be even worse than I predicted in March. Today's [June 12] Press-Citizen reveals Deloitte's "efficiency" report to the Regents is pathetic. So this is what $2.5 million looks like?! (Soon to be $3.45 million.) Had a grad student been given, and accepted, this assignment and come back with this flimsy 4 pages it would have been given a D or F. Not only was Deloitte paid $2.5 million for it, but it was rewarded with another million before the report was even seen. Looking for "efficiencies" Regents? Try a mirror. The sad thing is that not only could this outcome have been predicted, it was. Right here. See, Sara Agnew, "Summary of Regents efficiency study gives few details," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 12, 2014, p. A1; and Editorial, "Looking for far more specifics on efficiency study," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 12, 2014, p. A7.

There were but three of the four pages devoted to the "accomplishments" of the $2.5 million "Phase One." If you don't believe my characterization of them, the "report" is reproduced at the very bottom of this blog essay. Read it and decide for yourself.

June 19 Update: The four-page report has now been expanded to 97 pages, while retaining many of the earlier document's deficiencies. Here's a link to it: "Iowa Board of Regents Efficiency Study: Catalogue and Prioritized List of Opportunities," Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, June 16, 2014,

And here is some of the ongoing news coverage:

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents' Longer Efficiency Report Lists 175 'Improvement Opportunities,'" The Gazette, June 18, 2014, p. A7

Sara Agnew, "Deloitte: Greatest Savings Could be in Sourcing, Procurement," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 19, 2014, p. A1

Vanessa Miller, "Board of Regents Consultant: There Could Be Job Adjustments, Consolidations," The Gazette, June 19, 2014, p. A1

Erin Marshall, "Efficiency Study Shifts to New Phase," The Daily Iowan, June 19, 2014, p. A1

Sara Agnew, "UI College of Liberal Arts Facing Savings Review This Fall," Iowa City Press-Citizen," June 20, 2014, p. A3 [hard copy headline: "Deloitte Outlines Next Phase; Consultants to Begin Closer Review of UI College of Liberal Arts in September"]

Table of Contents
Presumed Innocent
1. What's the Problem?
2. Preliminaries
3. Incrementalism
4. Implementation
5. Process
What is really needed
6. Iowa's Accomplishments
We have found the enemy

Executive Summary: This blog essay discusses some of the issues raised by the Iowa Board of Regents $2.5 million contract with Deloitte to improve "efficiency" at the state's public universities. It can be read in its entirety, or by individual sections (linked from the Table of Contents, above).
"Presumed innocent" explores motive, and states this essay's working hypothesis that "efficiency" is the actual purpose.
"1. What's the Problem?" questions the project's assumption that the UI is inefficient.
"2. Preliminaries" notes that what educators effectively do, and why they do it, needs to be addressed and agreed to by educators before there are efforts by anyone to do whatever "it" is more efficiently.
"3. Incrementalism" makes the point that there's an enormous body of literature regarding "efficiency" in general, and in higher education in particular -- available for free. It asks, what "incremental" suggestions beyond that will our $2.5 million buy?
"4. Implementation," not "good ideas," is the real challenge.
"5. Process" questions how sincere, and effective, are the offers to be "inclusive," including, in "What is really needed," a suggestion.
"6. Iowa's Accomplishments" is a reminder of some of "1. What's the Problem?" and examines the alternatives for reducing tuition and student debt, concluding with "We have found the enemy."

Iowa's Board of Regents wants more "efficiency" from its three universities -- University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa.

To assist them in this quest they have enlisted a subsidiary of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited -- a very big business advising other big businesses. Deloitte's global parent understandably brags that, "Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals at member firms delivering services in audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory in more than 150 countries. Revenues for fiscal year 2013 were US$32.4 billion." "About Deloitte," The firm has divided the surface of Planet Earth, and its 150 countries, into five regions, and discourages what are in effect their subsidiaries from competing with each other.

The Regents have decided to add an additional $2.5 million to Deloitte's $32.4 billion.

"Opening night" for this show (morning actually) was last Friday, March 28, at an hour-long presentation in a packed UI auditorium. The cast is now taking the show on the road, where it will be performed in Ames and Cedar Falls. [Photo credit: Nicholas Johnson.]

We start, as in a criminal trial, with participants who are "presumed innocent." Until proven otherwise, I will assume that the Regents sincerely want to make higher education more affordable, and that the Deloitte folks will ultimately come up with some savings that neither we, nor any other university, has ever thought of before, savings that both make possible more affordable education and are so many multiples more than the $2.5 million we're paying for them that this will be seen to have been a very wise investment.

Indeed, it's always possible that the real purpose of this exercise is both commendable and hidden -- as is the case in a good many instances of institutional use of consultants. It may be the Regents' real purpose is primarily to convince the people of Iowa and their elected officials that their three state universities are already about as efficient and effective as any universities can be. Maybe they intend to explain why the state's economy and quality of life, its ability to attract business and retain its young people, is dependent on quality higher education. They may spread the news: earlier state support of what was truly public education -- in California free to all students, and in Iowa very nearly so -- has dropped, first to about 60% of the cost and by today to 30%, with a proportionate, inverse increase in tuition, and that we simply must do something about ever-rising tuition and the $1 trillion (national) student loan debt.

That might well be worth the $2.5 million. Until that becomes clearer to me than it now is, however, I will proceed on the assumption that the effort really is focused on "efficiency."

It's early in this process; too early to be forming any final judgments about the endeavor in general or its outcome in particular.

It is not, however, too early for some initial thoughts.

1. What's the problem? I am so far unaware of a case having been made as to why the University of Iowa's process, approach, and accomplishments regarding "efficiency" have been inadequate. Nor is it clear how the increases in tuition (necessitated by the radical decline in the Legislature's financial support of its public, "state universities") can be stopped, and tuition decreased, as a result of even more "efficiencies." If there are obvious, unused, suggestions of how the quality of education can be increased simultaneously with decreases in costs, they should certainly be discussed. It may be that such opportunities can be found. But unless and until they are, we are not only dealing with "a solution in search of a problem," but a "solution" that would be ineffective even if we had a problem.

Consider what the University of Iowa has already done. UI's President, Sally Mason, gave some examples in her opening remarks March 28 of
a number of successful efficiencies already on our campus. So let me mention just a few of these.
Example one: Our energy center, which manages campus-wide energy usage, and controls from a single site, plus the work of our "Energy Hawks Team" in Facilities Management. These two things have saved us about a half-million dollars in energy costs annually. And those numbers are expected to increase, as we implement more of our sustainability plan.
Second, building a consolidated computer server center for both the UI and the UI Hospitals and Clinics has resulted in more than $800,000 in savings in annual hardware and software costs.
Third, we have evaluated a number of our academic programs, and have closed some of the low-demand programs and consolidated others.
Fourth, our new, fully-integrated student information system, MAUI, has created significant efficiencies in registration, workflow, admissions, student records, financial aid, and billing.
And finally, we reduced fringe benefit costs through innovation in our UI health plans by about twenty million dollars annually.
Sally Mason, Opening Remarks, March 28, 2014, 10:00 a.m.; transcribed from video at And see, President Sally Mason, "College Affordability and the American Dream," Huffington Post, May 2, 2012; and "University of Iowa’s 2020 Vision nets real success; Waste Management helps UI achieve ambitious sustainability goals," University Business: Solutions for Higher Education Management, December 2012.

I assume that list is neither all that could be nor has been done. But the least that can be said is that it doesn't look like the behavior of a public institution that is insensitive to costs or unimaginative about potential "efficiencies."

2. Preliminaries. As I used to say to my school board colleagues as they rushed to the architect before talking about alternative methods of education, "Usually, before people go to an architect, they know whether they want to build a courthouse or an outhouse."

There is no such thing as stand-alone educational "efficiency." The University of Iowa is an educational institution. Before we can decide how to do something more efficiently, we need to think through what it is we want to do, and what our data and intuition as educators tell us is the most effective way to do it. Only then can we address how to improve our efficiency. For example, if there's an educational judgment that online lectures, for some part of some courses for some students, improve educational quality, we can then address the most efficient way to do that while maintaining the educational benefit. But it would be inconsistent with a university's educational mission and obligations, and the best interests of its students, to adopt a procedure merely because it would cut costs.

A major university is a complex institution of many parts, missions and budgets, unlike any other -- whether military, religious, non-governmental (NGO), or business. A for-profit public corporation, focused on its core competency, whether in manufacturing, retail, or the service sector, can view every dollar saved through increased efficiency as additional profit -- its goal and single measure of success -- so long as it can do so while increasing, or at least maintaining profit margins and market share. This is not to say that "money is no object" when it comes to public higher education. Of course it's important. But it is not, and should not become, the single measure of a school's performance.

3. Incrementalism. If you have a seven year old car, and you trade it in for a new one, you don't go from having no car to having a car. What you are purchasing are simply the incremental improvements over the car you had before, such as more safety features, or better gas mileage. So what is the incremental benefit Iowa's three universities will get from Deloitte?

(a) We already have the "efficiencies" that the University has created on its own without any outside help. There's no reason to pay Deloitte for those ideas.

(b) Deloitte may have 200,000 employees, but only a small portion claim any expertise in providing consulting services to universities. At the University of Iowa alone we have over 22,000 faculty and staff, many of whom have as good or better qualifications, education, experience and expertise as their Deloitte counterparts, and all of whom work in higher education.

(c) At a minimum, for $2.5 million we ought to insist on seeing (with such redaction for institutions' privacy as may be appropriate) the comparable reports they have prepared for other universities, including a handful in the Big Ten. (In President Mason's opening remarks March 28, she said Deloitte has done studies like this for "dozens of universities." Sally Mason, Opening Remarks, March 28, 2014, 10:00 a.m.; transcribed from video at How much more than the boilerplate suggestions they give to every university are we getting? [Photo credit: Des Moines Register.]

(d) It's not like others have never addressed issues of institutional efficiency in general, or efficiency in higher education in particular. Other universities, hospitals, consulting firms, think tanks, foundations, colleges of business, education and engineering, congressional and state legislative bodies, numerous federal and state agencies, and the authors of thousands of books have been contributing to an enormous body of literature since Frederick W. Taylor's work in the 1880s. Any able UI junior with some research and writing experience and a laptop with WiFi access to Google could find resources, and summarize the highlights, of ideas and procedures not yet known by any of our 22,000 employees.

This is not rocket science (although we have faculty and graduate students who can handle that as well). ABC's Evening News on March 29 had a story of a ninth grader who came up with a $400 million cost saving idea for the federal government. Even I have written numerous blog essays since 2006 regarding efficiency and management of our state university system: the most appropriate and effective (and "efficient") governance model and principles for the Board of Regents, ways to eliminate (or radically reduce) the burden of student debt (some of which are now being put forward by the Obama Administration), a rational cost-saving approach to college football, efficiencies in dealing with binge drinking (and its accompanying sexual assaults), the wasted multi-million-dollar asset of a statewide radio network for which the universities hold the licenses but seldom to never use, the best response to the coming threat "when the University of Iowa loses its monopoly [for granting college degrees]," or an improved relationship between the University and the gambling and alcohol industries. If even I, with no claim to special expertise, can think through such challenges, imagine what our universities' real experts could do with them. So why are we -- researchers and educators -- paying big bucks to a bunch of strangers to do our thinking for us? As Avis former CEO Robert Townsend described consultants: "Consultants borrow your watch to tell you the time, then they walk off with your watch." Rolex watches are never cheap, but the one we handed Deloitte cost us $2.5 million!

(e) In short, what we will receive from Deloitte is not going to take us from zero to whatever they provide. It will only take us from what we already have done, know about, or could find -- including the boilerplate suggestions that they have previously provided to "dozens of universities." What we are buying is the incremental addition from that to whatever they come up with that is new, formerly unknown, or perhaps in some way unique to Iowa. And good luck with that last one. As Deloitte Director Rick Ferraro candidly acknowledges, "We don't know Iowa . . .." (The full quote: "'The first stage is just to find out where the opportunities seem to be, we don’t know where they are,' Ferraro said. 'We don’t know Iowa well enough yet.'” Ian Murphy, "Officials Address Efficiency; Regent Officials Promise Transparency and Public Involvement in the Upcoming Efficiency Study," The Daily Iowan, March 31, 2014, p. A1.)

4. Implementation. Creative problem solving is fun. As Maritime Administrator, when I found out that 90% of the cost of moving goods across the Pacific Ocean is incurred within 10 miles of the ports on each end of that voyage, I pushed the idea of container ships (with containers that could also feed inland rail and truck transportation more efficiently). As FCC commissioner in the 1960s, I saw the need to convert the analog, single-purpose AT&T network into one that would be able to handle what I predicted would be a flood of multi-purpose digital traffic. But most of my thinking about such things, in the more than 1000 blog essays located here, and writing elsewhere, has been little more than a hobby -- such as my totally unsuccessful efforts to point out the folly of TIFs.

There are many impediments to the implementation of "good ideas" within any institution, segment of an economy, or entire society. But there are special difficulties in implementing change within the culture of "the academy." One of the many ways in which a university is not like a business is that the top quality faculties are not made up of members of a "team," all working toward a single, shared goal. They are made up of independent -- sometimes iconoclastic and curmudgeonly -- individuals, pursuing their own intellectual passions, research and teaching, with the occasional fiefdom cluster of researchers, and all protected with "tenure." This system has, on the whole and over time, worked well for America. But it poses special challenges to those who wish to "improve" it, or make it more "efficient."

So what is Deloitte offering us for our $2.5 million? Rick Ferraro, director of Deloitte Consulting, was very candid: “We can’t figure this out by September,” he said. “We can only find possible opportunities to discuss further by September. That what’s we’re doing.” Sara Agnew, “Regents launch major review at UI; Firm examining how to make state's public universities more efficient," Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 29, 2014, p. A1.

It has yet to be demonstrated either that the University of Iowa is not already in the process of implementing a significant proportion of such additional "efficiencies" as may be available, or even if that were not the case that the savings from those additional "efficiencies" would make a significant dent in solving the rising tuition, and student loan burden. But assume hypothetically that both propositions were demonstrated to everyone's satisfaction. What will we have "by September"? Some $2.5 million worth of Deloitte's "ideas" for greater efficiency -- which the universities are then left to figure out how to implement within the culture of the academy.

And as we have just seen from the section on "Incrementalism," immediately above, even if their ideas were to be easily implemented, it is highly likely that most to all of them are already available to us, for free, from a great many sources.

Want to know how to, more efficiently, find and implement "efficiencies"? Don't give the $2.5 million to a global corporation unfamiliar with Iowa and its universities. Give it to the employees. "What?!" you gasp. Well, not exactly "give." During the administration of President Lyndon Johnson we had what he called a "War on Waste." Civil servants were rewarded for their cost-saving ideas. As Maritime Administrator I obtained permission to reward my employees with cash bonuses, some of which were quite handsome. Give the UI faculty and staff the possibility of financial reward (geared to the savings) for solutions to bureaucratic frustrations in their unit -- things they have probably already identified and regularly complain about -- and you'll find some additional "efficiencies." The savings probably won't amount to enough to solve the $1 trillion student loan burden. But at least the "ideas" will be easier to implement.

5. Process. "Friday’s public forum was the first of what officials say will be many opportunities for the public to chime in on the process, ask questions about proposals and make suggestions on ways to save money, time and resources. . . . Officials have said the review will be a lengthy process that will provide plenty of opportunity for public input and dialogue." Vanessa Miller, “UI students, faculty express concerns about efficiency review; Forum is first of three,” The Gazette, March 29, 2014, p. A3.

Unfortunately, there is at this point a considerable disconnect between these assurances and the reality of what's available. As a result of prior experiences, there is widespread public cynicism regarding any institution's representation that it really cares about the opinions of employees, taxpayers, or consumers. There is often no meaningful way that stakeholders can share their "public input and dialogue." It would be a tragedy if the three universities' stakeholders would come away with that impression of this undertaking.

Each university has an "efficiency" Web site: University of Iowa,; Iowa State University,; and University of Northern Iowa, (One is tempted to observe that it might have been more efficient if (a) there was a parallelism between the URLs, and even (b) there was a single Web site with drop down menus for each school and each category of topics across the schools.

Iowa State and UNI provide an email address, or form, one may use to send comments and questions into the void. When I last looked, it was not apparent that the University of Iowa even provided that inadequate opportunity.

But what is really needed -- if "dialogue" is to even be permitted, let alone encouraged -- is a kind of online forum where stakeholders can post their comments and questions for all to see, and to truly engage in "dialogue" with other stakeholders as well as having one-on-one exchanges with university or Deloitte personnel (if that). If one truly wants a public dialogue, and the "efficiency" of modernization and technology, what could be more efficient than to utilize the numerous alternative ways of encouraging online group discussions?

Moreover, like the leadership in Turkey that tried, and ultimately abandoned, efforts to shut down Twitter, even if Deloitte and the Regents want to silence any possible exchange of views between stakeholders they will find they do not have the technological ability to do so. If they do not provide the forum that is needed, it will simply pop up elsewhere, even more out of their control.

One of the first written questions submitted to the individual reading questions to the Regents and Deloitte representatives on the March 28 panel involved this issue. Inexplicably, it was never asked of them.

6. Iowa's Accomplishments. And so I will close as I began -- for now, as there will undoubtedly be much more to come throughout the year. So far, I am unaware of a case having yet been made as to why the University of Iowa's accomplishments regarding "efficiency" have been inadequate, or not the product of an appropriate process. Iowa's President, Sally Mason, gave some examples in her opening remarks March 28 of
a number of successful efficiencies already on our campus. So let me mention just a few of these.
Example one: Our energy center, which manages campus-wide energy usage, and controls from a single site, plus the work of our "Energy Hawks Team" in Facilities Management. These two things have saved us about a half-million dollars in energy costs annually. And those numbers are expected to increase, as we implement more of our sustainability plan.
Second, building a consolidated computer server center for both the UI and the UI Hospitals and Clinics has resulted in more than $800,000 in savings in annual hardware and software costs.
Third, we have evaluated a number of our academic programs, and have closed some of the low-demand programs and consolidated others.
Fourth, our new, fully-integrated student information system, MAUI, has created significant efficiencies in registration, workflow, admissions, student records, financial aid, and billing.
And finally, we reduced fringe benefit costs through innovation in our UI health plans by about twenty million dollars annually.
Sally Mason, Opening Remarks, March 28, 2014, 10:00 a.m.; transcribed from video at And see, President Sally Mason, "College Affordability and the American Dream," Huffington Post, May 2, 2012; "University of Iowa’s 2020 Vision nets real success; Waste Management helps UI achieve ambitious sustainability goals," University Business: Solutions for Higher Education Management, December 2012.

Does this mean there's absolutely nothing more we could do that might enable us to deliver more and better education at less cost? Of course not. But what we have here may turn out to be little more than an inadequate solution in search of a non-existent problem. Business talks in terms of "profit centers" and "cost centers." Public universities are non-profit organizations. Their version of "profit centers" are cash flow: legislative appropriations, research grants, and tuition.

Even the Regents and Iowa's legislators seem to agree that we can't go on increasing tuition.

Research grants are very closely related to the quality of the faculty and their research. So cutting there is kind of a foot shooting exercise.

Public universities -- like the evolution of public K-12 schools centuries before -- were created to provide free or radically reduced-cost higher education to the people of their states, out of an awareness of the relationship between education, economic growth and quality of life.

California became the seventh largest economy in the world in large measure because of its three systems of free education for Californians: the universities of California, the California state universities, and its community colleges. The entire nation enjoyed the economic boost provided by the GI Bill -- that brought World War II veterans to the University of Iowa campus for a free education when I was growing up in Iowa City.

In short, like Walt Kelly's character in the comic strip "Pogo" once observed, "We have found the enemy and he is us" -- us and those we have chosen to elect to our legislature, which has refused to provide adequate public support for what has been historically recognized as an enviable and productive American public good.

# # #
End of Phase 1 Update

The Iowa Board of Regents (BOR) and Iowa’s three public universities (University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa) have been working alongside Deloitte Consulting as part of the Rising to the Next TIER (a Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review) program. TIER is a review of the academic and administrative areas across Iowa’s three public universities, as well as the Regent system as a whole. The goal of TIER is to transform Iowa’s public universities so the universities are sustainable for the long term and true to their core academic missions of education, research and service as well as learning, discovery and engagement.

Phase 1 of the TIER project included a broad review to identify preliminary opportunities to reduce costs, increase revenue, or improve service or outcomes. This review covered several areas at each university:

•Sourcing & Procurement relating to the purchasing of goods and services

•Academic Programs including student success, instructional research, organizational practices, and fiscal resources

•Information Technology (IT) Services ranging from IT strategy to data center manageme

•Facilities Management including building maintenance, custodial services, and energy consumption

•Construction relating to contracting and delivery practices and strategies

•Auxiliaries including areas such as power plants, parking and transportation, athletics, residence halls, and dining

•Finance ranging from transaction processing to budget formulation

•Research Administration relating to pre- and post-award activities

•Human Resources (HR) ranging from recruitment to retirement

•Marketing & Advertising including the development and distribution of materials

•Strategic Space Utilization relating to classroom scheduling and efficient space usage

•Student Services ranging from admissions to career services.

During the 10 weeks of Phase 1, Deloitte visited each campus twice, conducted more than 390 interview sessions and focus groups, and met with nearly 700 individuals across the three universities and BOR office. Additionally, Deloitte along with BOR subcommittee representatives, conducted Town Hall meetings at each campus to provide a forum for all community members to express ideas and ask questions. From each of these sources, Deloitte reviewed the information available and compared current practices and approaches to industry best practices to identify key themes and potential improvement opportunities.

As a result of this initial analysis, several strengths and challenges emerged:


•Dedicated and talented faculty and staff

•Highly engaged, motivated students

•Clear focus on the mission of each institution

•Strong desire to use resources effectively

•Keen interest in continuous improvement

• Challenges

• Limited cross-university collaboration

• Many siloes within and across universities leading to overlapping and duplication of roles, services, and programs

• High degree of complexity across functions, resulting in inefficient processes that cause time delays and frustration

• Difficulty accessing and using data to drive decision-making

Below is a summary of themes that emerged during Phase 1 within each of the analyzed functional areas.

• Sourcing and Procurement: The purchasing organizations within each university have been proactive in identifying savings opportunities relating to the procurement of goods and services. Relative to benchmarks, however, there appears to be opportunities to realize additional savings and sustain these savings through further investment in the procurement function (e.g., personnel and technology).

• Academic Programs: The three universities demonstrated a strong commitment to student success and are clearly a great asset to the state. Moving forward, there appear to be several opportunities to build on the academic strengths, including decreasing the time it takes for students to complete degrees, increasing collaboration, increasing access of non-traditional students to university offerings through Distance Education, using institutional research data to facilitate empirically based decision-making, and furthering enrollment management principles.

• Information Technology Services: IT practices generally follow industry standards and there are multiple examples of collaboration between the three universities. There appear to be opportunities, however, for a greater focus on IT strategic planning, enterprise architecture, sharing of technology infrastructure and usage of technological innovation.

• Facilities and Auxiliaries: A broad range of complex services are effectively provided to faculty, staff, and students by Facilities and the various university auxiliary units. Additional progress, however, can be made relating to energy management, contracting approaches, and facilities management practices.

• Finance: Many of the processes discussed with Finance staff appear to be in line with industry practices. Several staff and faculty, however, reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of finance areas they need to be proficient in, which indicates there may be an opportunity to simplify how finance processes are performed. Additionally, there may be an opportunity to review financial compliance and audit processes to balance compliance and effectiveness considerations.

• Research Administration: Services provided by Sponsored Programs and Sponsored Accounting are generally well received across campuses. There is a need for a more consistent approach, however, to provide support for proposal development and post-award management at the local level. Additionally, there may be opportunities to increase collaboration and support relating to technology transfer and economic development.

• Human Resources: In general, there has been a strong sense of collaboration between HR and university departments and functions. Additionally, there are many examples of the use of automation and employee self-service for routine transactions. Moving forward, there appear to be opportunities to optimize HR transactional processes (e.g., personnel action forms, I-9 processing) to improve quality and speed of service and to clarify roles and responsibilities of central HR and supporting staff.

• Marketing & Advertising: University departments and functions that conduct marketing and advertising generally are aware of brand guidelines and have started to transition from print to online distribution approaches. Going forward, there appear to be opportunities to further adhere to brand standards and collaborate within each university to better use available tools and resources.

• Strategic Space Utilization: The universities have taken steps to monitor classroom utilization and some progress has made in benchmarking classroom resource usage; however, more work can be done to analyze building usage and to schedule classes more efficiently to improve classroom usage rates.

• Student Services: There is a strong commitment to student success with a focus on retention and graduation rates. Going forward, there may be an opportunity to further coordinate student services within each university to provide a clearer view of services to students and to automate manual processes.

In the final week of Phase 1, Deloitte worked with members of the Board of Regents subcommittee to discuss observations and key themes, and to select areas of focus for Phase 2. During this next phase, Deloitte will conduct a more detailed analysis of the selected opportunities. This will include developing a business case of the costs, benefits, and estimated implementation timeframe for each opportunity to further gauge the potential to increase efficiency and effectiveness. These opportunities will then be sequenced across a timeline to show the all of the opportunities across a multi-month or, in some cases, multi-year, implementation horizon.

The areas that Deloitte will focus on during Phase 2 include:

• Sourcing & Procurement to analyze further improvements to purchasing practices

• Academic Programs to strengthen academic programs to achieve maximum competitiveness, to broaden non-traditional student access through Distance Education, and to better support institutional research practices and capabilities

• Information Technology Services to examine ways to optimize how IT services are provided

• Facilities to explore ways to more effectively use university infrastructure and reduce utility consumption

• Finance to determine ways to simplify the delivery of finance services

• Human Resources to optimizing how HR services are provided

• Strategic Space Utilization to improve building usage rates

• Student Services to evaluate if a common application portal across the three universities would benefit students and the universities


Chronological List of Newspaper Coverage, Feb. 11-Aug. 22, with Links to Full Text

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents Choose Consultant for Efficiency Review, Spend $2.5 Million; Study Seeks to Identify Ways to Maximize Scarce Resources, Find New Efficiencies, Seek Out Collaboration," The Gazette, February 11, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Protestors Interrupt Iowa Board of Regents Meeting; Protest Over Firm Hired to Audit Iowa's Public Universities," The Gazette, March 12, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa University Heads Pitch Performance-Based Funding Ideas; Performance-Funding Task Force to Make Recommendations in June," The Gazette, March 13, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Universities Take Part in Efficiency Review; Deloitte Representatives Will Participate in UI-Centered Public Forum on Friday," The Gazette, March 24, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "UI Students, Faculty Express Concerns About Efficiency Review; Forum Is First of Three," The Gazette, March 29, 2014, p. A3

Vanessa Miller, "Efficiency Review Consultant Requested 230-Plus Items From Universities; Deloitte Consulting LLP Delivered Its 'Initial Data Request' March 13," The Gazette, April 2, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents Have No Preconceived Notions About University Cuts, Efficiencies; Analysis Will Determine Core, Non-Core Elements to University's Mission," The Gazette, April 2, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Regents to Pay More to Find, Implement University Efficiencies; One Board Member Says He's Been Impressed With Consultant's Work," The Gazette, June 4, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Regent Efficiency Review Identifies Opportunities; Initial Report Provides Few Specifics," The Gazette, June 11, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents Expect to Save $30 to $80 Million a Year in Efficiencies; 17 Opportunities Identified as Having the Most Potential," The Gazette, June 16, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents' Longer Efficiency Report Lists 175 'Improvement Opportunities;' UI Hosts Public Forum Wednesday" The Gazette, June 17, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Board of Regents Consultant: There Could Be Job Adjustments, Consolidations," The Gazette, June 18, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regnt Task Force to Discuss Longer List of 'Opportunities' for Universities; Implementation Will Be Monitored, Officials Said," The Gazette, June 24, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents Could Approve Spending Money on Efficiency Review; Contractor Expected to Present 'Sourcing and Procurement' Strategies," The Gazette, July 29, 2014

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa's Public Universities Get $220K Bill Without Receipts from Consultant Firm; Iowa Regent Says Board 'Should Go Back and Review This,'" The Gazette, August 5, 2014, p. A1

Vanessa Miller, "Deloitte Projects Savings for Iowa's Three State Universities at $193 Million; Regent Concerned About Disadvantaging Iowa Companies," The Gazette, August 6, 2014, p. A1

Editorial, "Regents Should Seek Receipts," The Gazette, August 6, 2014, p. A8

Vanessa Miller, "Iowa Regents to Require Expense Receipts from Deloitte; Change Comes After Gazette Report on $220K Expenses to Date," The Gazette, August 7, 2014, p. A1

Vanessa Miller, "Regents' 'Transparent, Inclusive' Meetings Remain Closed; Open Meetings Proposal Could Cover More Advisory Groups," The Gazette, August 10, 2014, p. A1

Vanessa Miller, "Mason's Chief of Staff to Lead Efficiency Review of Iowa Universities; Braun Taking Leave of Absence for Temporary Role," The Gazette, August 22, 2014, p. A1

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for this blog entry