ISD advisory committee issues first report

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In its first report, the improved service delivery (ISD) advisory committee outlined the accomplishments, challenges and future goals for what it called "arguably the largest administrative endeavor ever at Iowa State."

The advisory committee was appointed to assess and support ISD, a reorganization of financial and human resources staff launched simultaneously last summer with the Workday enterprise platform. Under ISD, most finance and HR work shifted from employees stationed in individual units to finance and HR specialists hired internally for 10 centralized service teams.

The co-chairs of the 15-member committee are the leaders of the respective ISD organizations, finance manager Kyle Briese and associate vice president for human resources services and strategy Dwaine Heppler. Briese and Heppler spoke about the report during a presentation at the Professional and Scientific Council's Feb. 6 meeting.

Establishing ISD

Given the sweeping nature of the changes, the committee cited the creation and development of the 150-person operation as the chief success for ISD in its first six months. Specialists learned how to use Workday, which replaced more than 100 programs and systems and prompted improvements to nearly 50 business processes, and ServiceNow, a digital workflow management tool adopted last year by ISD and information technology services.

The specialists trained for their new roles while still fulfilling their existing ones and often continued to support their former departments for a period after go-live. In addition, finance specialists had to adapt to a more modern method of accounting.

"Take a second to think about all that was established," Briese said. "Getting to this point is really an accomplishment in itself."

Typical turnover

About 85% of the projected positions were filled when ISD went live, and hiring remained an ongoing need throughout the first six months, Heppler said. Two temporary recruitment coordinators were brought on to help speed the process. But between July 1 and Dec. 31, only 4% of HR specialists left Iowa State, while 10% took other jobs at the university, Heppler said. Four finance specialists left the institution, said Briese, who didn't have a turnover rate for specialists who left ISD for other ISU jobs.

The attrition and turnover rates aren't unusual, Heppler said.

"Those percentages aren't that vastly different than what we see across campus," he said.  


The report lists some of the challenges identified in the months following ISD's launch, many which leaders have acknowledged and are working to address, including difficulties with graduate assistant appointments, training needs and faculty impact. It aimed to focus on ISD-specific problems separate from Workday.

Several issues are related to the level of service local departments receive from ISD teams. Heppler said improving customer service interactions and strengthening relationships between service teams and local units is an emphasis.

"It takes a human touch," he said.


One of the advisory committee's roles is to set and monitor key performance indicators for ISD. The report outlines potential performance indicators in the areas of campus satisfaction, ISD employee engagement and operational efficiency, though it's too early to gauge the data. 

Improving customer satisfaction, as determined by surveys employees receive after they've completed a ServiceNow interaction, is one of the goals for the next six months. The committee also aims to analyze performance indicators, continue ISD staff training, and ensure faculty and supervisors are delegating administrative tasks. Soliciting feedback also is important, and Briese and Heppler urged employees with concerns to contact them directly.

"Every single piece of feedback we've received, positive or negative, has been appreciated," Heppler said.