Frequently Asked Questions 

 

  1. Why is this effort called the "Shared Services Program"
  2. Why is the State pursuing a "Shared Services Center" model for this reorganization?
  3. What authority permits the creation of the Shared Services Program?
  4. How did the State decide to pursue the Shared Services Program?
  5. Who will be responsible for developing the RFP for an IT solution?
  6. Will there be any short-term or interim improvements, or will all of the new processes and technologies "go-live" simultaneously at some point in the future?
  7. Will the staffing of the Shared Services Centers occur before or after the new systems and "to-be" processes have been implemented?
  8. If the new processes are going to be technology-based, couldn’t fiscal/HR employees be just as effective working from virtually anywhere, including current agency fiscal/HR offices? What advantages does reorganization of fiscal/HR resources provide?
  9. How will apparently "unique" needs of agencies be met with one statewide IT system and standardized processes?
  10. How will job responsibilities for various types of fiscal/HR employees be affected by the Shared Services Program?
  11. What processes are targeted ("in-scope") to be transitioned into the new Shared Services Program?
  12. How will the web-based hiring system (eRecruiting) recently announced by the Governor's Office impact or be impacted by, the hiring processes being redesigned by the Shared Services Program?
  13. Will the shared services reorganization re-locate fiscal/HR personnel into one location (be it one building or one office, etc.) for each SSC, or will there be satellite offices as well?
  14. The program website identifies 24 agencies to be transitioned to the Shared Services Program, but there is also talk about this being a “statewide” program. To what extent will the other 24 state agencies, boards and commissions be involved with the program, and when?



Why is this effort called the "Shared Services Program"?

The Shared Services Program is named after its structural design. As many project participants know, the Shared Services Program will transition specific fiscal/HR support services away from the agencies so that they can be provided in a more efficient and effective common service environment. The key distinction that makes this program different from other reorganizations or consolidations is that these fiscal/HR support services would not be relocated to a single source of production, i.e. a single, centralized agency or department. Rather, the State is creating five Shared Services Centers (SSC), each of which will be responsible for providing specific fiscal/HR support services to only a limited number of agencies that share similar policy missions and face similar fiscal/HR service needs.

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Why is the State pursuing a "Shared Services Center" model for this reorganization?

After careful analysis and consultation, the State realized that many fiscal and HR services could be provided more efficiently and effectively if the processes were standardized, streamlined and supported by powerful enabling technologies. The question then became what type of structure would best support the implementation of these improvements and the sustained operations of the new processes and systems.

One option would have been to keep the same decentralized structure and to individually improve each agencies’ processes and IT systems. This option posed two major challenges. First, with dozens of unique fiscal and HR systems currently in use, upgrading all IT systems individually would be extremely time consuming and far too expensive. Second, this option would have kept all fiscal and HR employees and resources spread across all state agencies, which would impede collaboration and effective knowledge sharing. Another option would have been to centralize the State’s fiscal and HR resources and personnel into one large statewide office. However, a single centralized consolidated office would have difficulty effectively responding to the diverse and evolving needs of the various state agencies.

Instead, the State has chosen to implement a "shared services center model," in which several centers would be created, with each one dedicated to serving only those agencies who share a common "policy mission" and common needs for similar fiscal and HR services. This hybrid model will provide the benefits of the current decentralized system (e.g., ability to respond to individual agency priorities), while also providing the benefits of a "traditional" centralized consolidation (such as efficient and standardized processes and integrated IT systems producing uniform information).

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What authority permits the creation of the Shared Services Program?

Illinois law grants the Governor broad authority to reorganize the operations of agencies reporting to him. A full explanation of the legal authority pursuant to which the Shared Services Centers can be created is set forth in Executive Order 2006-6.

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How did the State decide to pursue the Shared Services Program?

The Shared Services Program was initiated by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), which recognized the service problems inherent in the current decentralized system for providing fiscal/HR services.

In order to help specifically identify both the nuances of these problems and possible solutions, GOMB issued several publicly-bid RFPs for professional consulting services. Working together, GOMB and the winning consultants began a dialogue with various agencies, boards, and commissions to (1) identify areas that needed improvement (2) debate the benefits/drawbacks of several different organization models (3) decide upon the "Shared Services Center" model, and (4) assemble a plan for implementation of the Shared Services Program.

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Who will be responsible for developing the RFP for an IT solution?

Jack Munzer, Shared Services Project Director and Associate Director (GOMB), and Doug Kasamis, Acting Deputy Director for BCCS-CMS, will be coordinating the gathering of all functional requirements and technical requirements that must be met for the newly designed fiscal/HR processes. They will be working in conjunction with the Shared Services Information Technology Advisory Committee and other key stakeholders to draft the RFP, which will be issued by GOMB.

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Will there be any short-term or interim improvements, or will all of the new processes and technologies "go-live" simultaneously at some point in the future?

Service improvements are based on the full implementation of three program elements: improved processes, better technologies, and the creation of the Shared Services Centers (housing fiscal & HR employees) to perform these functions. In the long term, major overall service enhancements will only be possible with the implementation of all three program elements. However, in the short-term it may be possible that the combination of redesigned processes and SSC staffing might be able to produce appreciable short-term service improvements, even without the implementation of the IT support systems. Furthermore, there may be opportunities to implement some enabling technologies ahead of schedule for a few specific fiscal/HR processes – such as timekeeping – which could then seamlessly be rolled into the future Illinois Statewide Information System and Shared Services Program at-large. However, the cost/benefit of these interim solutions is still being analyzed. The Shared Services Team will continue to monitor and review these options as design work continues, and will provide updates where possible.

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Will the staffing of the Shared Services Centers occur before or after the new systems and "to-be" processes have been implemented?

The staffing of the Shared Services Centers will be based on logical sequencing of project activities. Once the detailed design sessions have been completed, the Shared Services Team will have an improved understanding of staffing needs and issues related to the Shared Services Centers, as well as what would be the most appropriate timing for staffing to occur. Until this critical planning work has been completed, it will be too early to say what staffing will need to occur and when.

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If the new processes are going to be technology-based, couldn’t fiscal/HR employees be just as effective working from virtually anywhere, including current agency fiscal/HR offices? What advantages does reorganization of fiscal/HR resources provide?

The Shared Services Program aims to create high-performance work environments in which fiscal/HR employees can learn, build skills and share resources, responsibilities and information to be even more proficient workers. Ultimately, the extent to which fiscal/HR employees can work effectively is closely related to their ability to collaborate with and learn from each other. While information technologies such as email and intranet sites allow workers to share information over large geographical distances as never before possible, employees simply cannot be as effective working in isolation as they can when working together in close proximity in a dynamic, focused environment. For example, a recent well-known MIT employment study documented what many people take for granted: that workers are much more likely (fives times more likely, in fact) to ask a coworker for information and assistance than they are to consult an intranet, database, training manual or other company computer system.

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How will apparently "unique" needs of agencies be met with one statewide IT system and standardized processes?

Standardization of fiscal/HR data will require standardized systems, which will require standardized processes. Ultimately, the Shared Services Team will have to address which stated "needs" of a given agency must be met to ensure business continuity, versus which stated "needs" are more closely associated with simply supporting current fiscal and HR processes. The Shared Services Team will try to keep this process as collaborative as possible, to ease the strain of transition on agency personnel and to ensure that agency services will not be adversely affected.

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How will job responsibilities for various types of fiscal/HR employees be affected by the Shared Services Program?

As part of the "Phase II- Design" work, the Shared Services Team is producing Process Design Books which describe how fiscal and HR services might be performed in a future Shared Services environment. These Design Books are in draft form, and are continually being updated. Additionally, while these process designs map-out how a process might work generally, the final shape of each process will depend upon various factors, including IT systems and outstanding administrative policies. All of these factors are still being analyzed. Until more design work is completed, it will be very difficult to predict what resources will be needed to perform various duties, services, and tasks, let alone which employees, employee groups, or types of employees will be best suited to perform these services in the new Shared Services environment. While the Shared Services Team understands that this might be a cause of concern among some employees, employees should keep in mind that the Shared Services Program is aimed primarily at increasing the quality of fiscal and HR services, not eliminating the resources available to perform these services. This program will have major benefits for various people involved in performing and supporting fiscal and HR services. (See Benefits for State Employees for more information.)

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What processes are targeted ("in-scope") to be transitioned into the new Shared Services Program?

The following process groups related to fiscal services and human resources services are being analyzed to determine if and how they could be delivered in a common Shared Services environment.

Fiscal Processes:

  • Fixed Assets
  • Procure to Payment
  • Financial Statements
  • General Accounting
  • Grant Accounting
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Locally-Held Funds

HR Processes:

  • Timekeeping
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Hiring
  • Administrative
  • Training
  • Transactions
  • Labor Relations
  • Leave
  • Classification
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How will the web-based hiring system (eRecruiting) recently announced by the Governor's Office impact or be impacted by, the hiring processes being redesigned by the Shared Services Program?

The eRecruiting Initiative is really part of the larger Shared Services Program, aimed at not only increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of fiscal and HR processes, but also improving process transparency. To date, the Shared Services Team has been working to ensure that the "to-be" Hiring Processes being designed as a part of the Shared Services Program will be in compliance with eRecruiting initiative mandates. As the eRecruiting initiative’s web-based user-interface and the Shared Services Program’s ISIS (Illinois Statewide Information System) are rolled out and implemented, they will integrated to create mutual functionality. To ensure smooth integration, the eRecruiting RFP and ISIS RFP will require mutual compatibility. eRecruiting systems and integrated HR/Payroll systems often have similar functionality, so integrating the two systems should not be technically difficult. Also, other state and local government organizations similar to Illinois have already successfully integrated web-based eRecruiting solutions with their organization-wide HR/Payroll systems, providing a successful precedent for Illinois.

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Will the shared services reorganization re-locate fiscal/HR personnel into one location (be it one building or one office, etc.) for each SSC, or will there be satellite offices as well?

The vision for the Shared Services Program is for service improvement, which the Shared Services Team feels cannot be achieved with new systems alone. Rather, employees fulfilling similar roles need to work together, in close relationship and in close proximity, to foster the sharing of responsibilities, resources and ideas. The conceptual goal of the program is to have as many fiscal/HR employees working together in centralized SSC offices as possible. However, the program also realizes that many fiscal/HR functions require close interaction with agency program staff, which might require some in-scope fiscal/HR employees to remain at agency offices. Additionally, as much as possible, the Shared Services Team does not wish to unduly burden state employees by requiring them to transfer from satellite locations.

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The program website identifies 24 agencies to be transitioned to the Shared Services Program, but there is also talk about this being a “statewide” program. To what extent will the other 24 state agencies, boards and commissions be involved with the program, and when?

The goal is to move as many agencies into the Shared Services Program as possible. Engaging only some agencies at a time allows the program to remain manageable. As design and implementation work for the 24 in-scope agencies continues, the Shared Services Team will begin to engage other agencies to assess their readiness to move into the program.

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