Practically every element in this program depends on extensive "customer involvement." Customers drive the selection of Business Process Innovation Projects, as outlined below, and customer input is utilized at the front end of every process improvement initiative. Customers are heavily involved in pilot projects, such as those summarized throughout this booklet, and "customer feedback" travels two directions -- both to and from customers of A&BS services -- especially during the analytical and redesign phases of process improvement/innovation. Newly implemented process improvements and current services are evaluated in terms of customer satisfaction outcomes. Many "key deliverables" (services) provided by A&BS units are accompanied by customer satisfaction instruments -- especially point-of-service surveys, designed according to a checklist included later in this section.

The Valuable Role of Academic Administrative Officers

A&BS utilizes two groups of administrators -- Campus Academic Business Officers (CABOs) and Health Sciences Administrators (HSAs) -- as "Customer Panels." As such, these groups comprise direct customers, themselves, or function as customer-surrogates for essentially all services delivered campuswide. As customer-surrogates, these department administrators coordinate and track central services provided for faculty and others in their organizations, including trouble-shooting problems that materialize and negotiating when intervention is needed. They provide a coherent, informed view of customer expectations and customer satisfaction. These departmental customer panels, which include more than forty people, are reliable and comprehensive in their feedback -- response rate is high, evaluations are well informed and "calibrated" based on a consistent level of expectations across various functions and services, and the groups' compositions are fairly consistent from year to year.

Department Administrators' Role in BPI Projects

In determining priorities for BPI (Business Process Innovation) projects -- cross-functional "re-engineering"* projects with broad campus impact -- the CABOs and HSAs participated in a multi-phase process:

1. Expensive process with substantial apparent or suspected waste, including pieces/steps with "no value added"

2. Process generates low "customer satisfaction"

3. Process regarded by knowledgeable users as "broken"

4. Process strategically linked to overall performance of the institution

5. Process affects other key business processes affecting much of the organization

*This term is sparingly used in this program, for it is not accurate when applied to processes that were not "engineered" in the first instance.

6. Process feasible to "re-engineer" -- not politically impossible, unbounded, or externally limited. (In other words, complex, yet simple enough to enable "re-engineering" to succeed.)

7. Improvement in this process can leverage other process improvements

8. Process produces or involves large quantities of defects, rework, redundancy, checking, rechecking

9. Process has muddy objectives and/or appears undefined or out-of-control

10. Process characterized by unanswerable performance questions

11. Process administration valued as an end unto itself, more than process performance

12. Exceptions and special cases contribute greater than 20 percent of workload

13. Process under widespread pressure to change

14. Process shadowed by a companion process that compensates for its quality gaps

15. Extensive, fragmented, and redundant information exchange with other business systems, processes, and "customers"

16. Process contains multiple check-points and approvals.

  • Priority was scored based on the following "formula":

  • Priority score is the product of four factor-classes:

    potential value (or savings)
    dysfunctionality of the process
    feasibility of redesign
    typical of re-engineering project

  • Scoring criteria (listed above) were categorized into four factor groups:

    1., 4., 5., and 7. pertain to potential value.
    2., 3., and 8. pertain to perceived dysfunctionality of the process.
    6. pertains to feasibility as a potential "re-engineering" project.
    Factors 9-16 are typical of opportune candidates for "re-engineering."

  • Scoring technique:

    Criteria were grouped (as noted above) into four factor-groups. Scores were added for each group and "normalized" to a 0-1 factor, producing four factors that could range from zero to one:
    Potential value
    Typical (of "re-engineering" project).

    These four factors were then multiplied to arrive at an overall priority score of zero or one.

  • This multiplicative scoring technique meant that if a "candidate" BPI project scored high on potential savings, dysfunctionality, and "typical of re-engineering" but low on feasibility, it would rank low. Or, if it scored high on the three latter factors but low on potential savings, it would similarly score low. This system reflects the logic that a decision-maker would actually use in allocating resources or effort. By contrast, an additive scheme (scores summed, rather than multiplied) could produce high scores for BPI candidates with low feasibility or low savings potential if all other scoring categories ranked high.

  • Despite the care exercised in developing and administering the scoring formula outlined above, the resulting priority rankings for the prospective Business Process Innovation projects were also reviewed on an intuitive basis -- to assure that they "made sense" -- with the Campus Academic Business Officers and the Health Science Administrators functioning as customer panels.

  • In order to determine whether our perceptions paralleled those of our customers, the same survey and scoring process were administered to A&BS managers. This effort produced similar rankings with a few exceptions, which were decided in the direction of customer preferences.

  • A number of CABOs and HSAs have participated on Business Process Innovation teams, providing in-depth customer perspectives. (Team participants and their affiliations are summarized in section 4.1.) These projects have collected customer input through interviews, focus groups, and surveys, as well as through the direct experience of customer-participants.

  • The Role of Customers in Pilot Projects

    Many process improvements and innovations summarized throughout this booklet started out as pilot projects. In these projects, customer input is utilized in three ways: