Service design and delivery: Service design and delivery is a review of the way we deliver administrative services at the U of S to ensure that we are supporting the university community in achieving teaching and research goals.
ConnectionPoint: Launched as a result of the work undertaken in service design and delivery, ConnectionPoint is a one-stop service centre providing certain finance, human resources, and research administrative services you need, when you need them.
Knowledge Base: Used like Google, you can search for information on university processes and policies for travel and expense, research and human resources. You can find Knowledge Base in the ConnectionPoint channel in PAWS.
Strategic business advisor (SBA): SBAs serve as a strategic professional for a college/school/unit or group of colleges/schools/units. SBAs have strong university expertise and functional knowledge to guide the development of strategies, and can act as a senior consultant, advising leaders and executing strongly integrated strategies and initiatives for their assigned college/school/unit (or a cluster of colleges, schools or units).
Functional central office: The functional central office is responsible for leading university-wide initiatives, including creation of policies and procedures, strategic planning, special projects, and program design.
Questions about ConnectionPoint and how it works
- general questions
- travel and expense requests
- pre- and post-award administrative support
- tri-agency institutional approval
- human resources general inquiries
- purchasing and payments (including: vendor sourcing, vendor contract review and development, request for quotations, purchase order requisitions, purchase order receiving, invoice processing)
- human resources services (including: recruitment, onboarding, off boarding, benefits and leaves)
- data processing services (e.g., journal vouchers and electronic job submissions)
ConnectionPoint will provide support based on your needs and requirements. This may include answering questions and providing guidance, or could include completing a transaction on your behalf (e.g., travel expense claim).
This is the model that administrative services at the university are moving towards for financial services, human resources services and research services beginning in 2016. Many of the provided transactional services will be required to be accessed through ConnectionPoint as they will no longer be offered through the traditional central office.
For the foreseeable future, Concur will remain available to staff via PAWS to complete your own claims. However, ConnectionPoint staff are available to provide assistance with the completion of the claim or complete the claim on your behalf.
Yes, ConnectionPoint staff as part of their processes look into factors including fund balances and eligibility of expenditures.
Faculty and staff can reach out directly for services, or, if colleges/departments prefer, administrative staff can access services on behalf of colleagues.
ConnectionPoint staff will answer questions, provide requested support or connect faculty and staff with the right unit/individual to provide the information and support required.
Documentation is stored in a case management system, and faculty and staff have access to see their requests and associated correspondence in PAWS, including the status of their request. The goal of this system is to create a higher level of transparency into the process for the customer, as well as a higher level of accountability and nimbleness to respond from ConnectionPoint staff. This system tracks all correspondence between ConnectionPoint and the faculty/staff member and can be accessed at any time.
ConnectionPoint staff are able to determine who someone’s supervisor is through PeopleSoft, which is the system that also feeds this information into Concur.
ConnectionPoint will do the validating, following institutional policies and procedures. ConnectionPoint staff, as part of their processes, look into factors including fund balances and appropriate use of accounts codes. ConnectionPoint staff will work in co-ordination with the fund manager and/or finance staff in the college, school, unit or department, where required.
ConnectionPoint staff will work in co-ordination with the individual/department making the request to fix the error.
Approval processes in Concur do not change for travel requests or expense reports. The fund manager does not need to review the request prior to submission to ConnectionPoint as they will be prompted for approval by Concur. If ConnectionPoint staff need to contact fund managers, they will do so by email or phone.
ConnectionPoint staff, as part of their processes, look into factors including eligibility, which may include a review of university policies and information pertaining to a particular award in UnivRS. There are also research support specialists located in ConnectionPoint to provide guidance on eligibility.
Questions about strategic business advisors and the functional central office
There will be two separate SBAs: one for finance and one for human resources. For some of the larger colleges/units, there may be multiple SBAs assigned to ensure appropriate support is provided.
Staff in Human Resources and Financial Services are meeting with deans and leadership teams to discuss the role of SBAs and how this looks for each college, school and unit. There is not a one size fits all approach. In some cases, there may be a person within the unit that makes sense to be re-assigned to an SBA role. In others, it may be a new staff person. HR SBAs will be announced shortly. Due to the complexities within finance through the current service delivery model, finance SBA roles will be assigned as it makes sense. As these are staff located within the unit to support the unit, announcements will be made by your college leadership team.
It is not expected the SBA join the leadership or faculty council team; however, it may be beneficial to have finance and human resource experts in attendance at meetings to better support leaders and to respond to “in the moment” questions or concerns. If they do not sit on your leadership or faculty council team, you may wish to invite SBAs as guests when an agenda item is specific to finance or human resource functions.
The functional central offices in the current implementation of service design and delivery are: Financial Services, Human Resources and the Office of the Vice-President Research. There are staff in place in the functional central offices as they are existing units. The functional central office is responsible for leading university-wide initiatives, including creation of policies and procedures, strategic planning, special projects and program design. For example, we will continue to have Financial Services at a central level to support institutional budgeting, controls and reporting.
ConnectionPoint is an institutional initiative that will provide efficient and enhanced service to the entire campus community. Our first goal is to provide the administrative services required for a U15 research intensive university to support and facilitate its academic mission. We know there will be costs involved in making this change. Longer term, we will look at attrition to ensure our administrative staff numbers don’t grow in excess of what is needed to support our academic and research missions.