Shared services stream

Shared services a key component of the new administrative operating model that is focused on cost effective service delivery without compromising service excellence. Comprising three elements: the Transaction Processing Hub, Staff Service Centre, and Continuous Improvement Team, shared services will deliver cross-functional, high-volume and transactional administrative processes for the university. It will consist of administrative professionals from across university administrative functions who leverage technology, systems, and processes in order to provide better outcomes to service users.

Latest updates

Shared services approach

The goal of shared services is to provide improved services for the university community, including greater efficiency and cost savings, transparency and accountability as well as rewarding work and career paths for staff. Services provided in the Transaction Processing Hub are guided by policy and strategy from the Centres of Expertise (CoE). They can also refer to the CoE for exceptions or additional help.


Want to learn more? Check out our briefing note or the slide deck from the Shared Services Ask SET Anything event.

Proposed activities within shared services

The following is a list of priority functions and processes to be delivered by shared services, based on current understanding. Functional reviews are planned for all workstreams which will provide a more detailed list of processes to be offered. We will continue to add information as we complete discovery for each stream and determine what services will be delivered by shared services.

These services are not finalized, and are subject to change as the final delivery model is established.

Staff Service Centre
Along with your service partner, the Staff Service Centre will be your entry point for all staff related services.
Hub services: finance
Accounts payable/receivable:
  • Processing of payments to suppliers
  • Raise and send invoices
Expenses & reimbursement
  • Employee and student reimbursement payments
  • Student fee refunding
Financial reporting support
  • Fulfilment of monthly/annual statutory financial reports
  • Fulfilment of tax obligations
Hub services: HR
  • Manage timesheet processing
  • Process employee-related transactions in HR systems
  • Process changes and notifications 
Talent acquisition and development
  • Recruitment process management
  • Process contract renewals, visas and probation
Connection with Student Service Centre
The Student Service Centre (and the in-college support) will be the entry point for all services for students.

Process redesign activities

Before staff and services are transitioned to the new operating model, a significant amount of work is done on "process redesign." The key objective of this step is to optimize processes for the new operating model and ensure a greater focus on the end user's needs and the value that services provide to the university community.

For more information, please visit the process redesign web page.

AVP Shared Services portfolio

While the SET shared services team is working to transition processes to the Shared Services portfolio, the structures must also be built. Here is the new leadership structure for the portfolio:

  • Ria Ames — AVP Shared Services
  • Tawheed Sadiq — Manager Staff Service Centre
  • Fatima Mirza — Director HR Process Services
  • Vacant — Director Finance Process Service
  • Vacant — Director Continuous Improvement

View the organizational chart here.

Career opportunities

The SET team has created an online resource which lists upcoming positions that are planned as part of the new administrative operating model. Once a position has been finalized and the competition launched, you can apply to it on the careers page.

SET stream membership

The shared services team consists of the following project team members:

  • Ria Ames — AVP Shared Services — Executive Sponsor
  • Cheryl Earle — Shared Services Initiative Lead
  • Abdel Al-Sharif — Project Manager
  • Rehan Malik — Project Manager
  • Raji Rajalakshmi — Business Analyst
  • Lynn Bell — Business Analyst
  • Wendy Abraniuk — Business Analyst
  • Kamal Ranaweera — System Analyst
  • LeeAnne Klein — Organizational Change Management Specialist
  • Annette MacPherson — HR Specialist

Consultation and engagement events

  • November 2021: Shared the Transaction Processing Hub Overview with Dean’s Council, FMC, APOs and HR Partners
  • November 30, December 1, 2020: Kicked-off HR discovery activities with HR Partners and HR discovery contacts
  • January 6, 2021: Shared preliminary HR discovery results with HR Partners
  • February 4, 2021: Issued call-out for workgroup nominations for the top priority HR processes
  • February 10: Shared HR discovery findings and priorities with HR Partners and HR discovery contacts
  • February 22, 2021: Selected and on boarded the Employee Appointment/Reappointment process redesign workgroup and feedback workgroup members
  • March 3, 2021: Kicked off the Employee Appointment/Reappoint process redesign activities
  • March 12, 2021: Ask SET Anything: Shared Services Edition 
  • May 3, 2021: Selected and onboarded process redesign workgroup and feedback workgroup members for two process redesigns: Job Evaluation and Time and Labour
  • May 10, 2021: Kicked off the Job Evaluation and Time and Labour process redesign activities
Keep an eye on the consultation page for upcoming events

Frequently asked questions

Transaction processing hub
Will there be a new reporting structure for the Transaction Processing Hub or do these "units" (IT, HR, Finance, etc.) continue to report to their existing structure from their own service unit?

The transaction processing hub is part of shared services and will have its own reporting structure. All functions within shared services will report to the AVP Shared Services. The various units will work collaboratively to ensure that all services are seamless and client-focused.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

Staff service centre
How are research administration services going to be reflected in the Staff Service Centre because students also need to access research services? How are SET and academic restructuring going to converge, particularly with respect to research administration.

The research administration workstream is just beginning its discovery phase and therefore has only just started to identify processes that could transition into shared services. We acknowledge that research administration is less-straightforward than the other workstreams in terms of finding appropriate processes that will benefit from the economies of scale that shared services offers. Through the discovery phase, we will find those processes to transition because ultimately, if we can take dollars that we currently spend on administration or transactional activities and use them to focus on research itself, it is to the benefit of the university's institutional research strategy.

It is also important to note that some work may have been referred to as "research administration" when it really is HR or finance functions done for researchers. Discovery will help us learn what are the core processes to research administration, regardless of who the service is delivered to, and we will separate those from the processes that are unique to supporting research.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

How are you ensuring that the Staff Service Centre provides timely services, and how will they determine which service requests are processed first?

The Staff Service Centre will utilize a service management platform and other technologies to support its operations. Initially the Staff Service Centre will leverage the same tools that will be utilized by the Student Service Centre. IST intends to release an RFP for an enterprise management solution that will provide a common platform that will support both centres, the service partners and the Centres of Expertise in all functional areas. This will enable the tracking of requests from initiation to resolution as well as provide the necessary data to measure and report on service delivery metrics.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

Where will internal communications live within the new administrative operating model? Will some of it reside in shared services?

The external engagement stream is most likely where internal communications will live in the new operating model under the Vice-President External Relations Portfolio. The external engagement stream is just getting underway and is beginning its discovery process. There may be transactions related to external engagement activities that will move to shared services, however we are too early on in the functional review to make that determination.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

When will in-house HR and finance services (for example, within Facilities and Operations) transition?

The transition of HR and finance processes is planned to occur over the next year, and will include not only the activity in the faculties but also those that occur in central units like IT and Facilities & Operations.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

Why are the IT Service Desk, IT Service Design and Improvement, and IT Service Delivery Process and Tools units not part of shared services? There seems to be equivalent units for HR and finance in shared services.

The continuous improvement unit within Shared Services will focus on all processes and services delivered by the Staff Service Centre and the Transaction Processing Hub. In the initial stages of rollout this is primarily HR and Finance related services. The IT Service Design and Improvement will be focused on the services delivered by IST. As for the operation of how clients will receive support, the Staff Service Centre will be the first level of contact for staff and the IT service desk is identified to transition into shared services. The IT Centres of Expertise will become Tier 2 support.

Updated March 18, 2021]

Why is there an IT Service Excellence Centre of Expertise if service excellence is the purpose of shared services? How do these differ?

Service excellence is the driving force of the entire SET initiative - it is not solely limited to the Shared Services portfolio. In regards to IT in particular, service excellence was made a specific component of the IST organizational structure so that it would exist as much more than an abstract concept. In IST, service excellence is now a set of roles designed to support service delivery. Within the IT Service Excellence portfolio, we will have service design specialists whose responsibility is to create and evolve IST services to meet the university's needs.

[Updated March 18, 2021]

Staff transitions
What kind of thought has been put into retaining top talent during these complex and challenging times? How are you ensuring that staff are supported during this transition?

There is a belief that moving to a more centralized model equates to less career opportunities and chance for growth. In fact, the new administrative operating model offers greater career potential as it provides exposure to different jobs and opportunities that either didn't exist before, or that in the previous structure, might not have been easily seen or pursued. Staff will have opportunities to seek fulfilling career opportunities and the university can retain the top talent that we have. The Position Opportunities Page is a new online tool that lists upcoming positions that are planned as part of the new administrative operating model. The intent of this resource is to provide our great staff with the information and resources they need to plan their career path for the future. We are dedicated to establishing an environment in this new model that will make the university a desired employer in the future, as it has been in the past.

We recognize that this is a period of high anxiety, particularly when it comes to the impact these changes have on our staff. There are supports in place at the university including many change and resilience resources, as well as the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). We are committed to making answers available to staff as soon as possible, and working to help you through the transition.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

If a job moves to the Transaction Processing Hub, will it be posted on the careers page for anyone to apply for, or do you keep your job and move locations?

As work is defined and positions in shared services are created, they will be filled through expressions of interest or recruitments. 

[Updated April 9, 2021]

When can we expect jobs such as faculty administrative positions or support positions to be posted to the Position Opportunities or careers pages?

We are currently working to identify priority positions in the new model and moving from the top of the organizational structure down. Process redesign work is just getting underway for HR and finance will begin theirs in late April to early May. This work will identify new roles that will be required along with timelines associated with implementation. As details regarding positions become known, they will be added to the Position Opportunities page.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

If an individual is chosen to move to one of the new positions, how will they be notified, and will this be in advance of job postings relevant to that work?

Positions created within shared services will be filled through expressions of interest. The process on how to apply and which employees are eligible to apply will be communicated once it is available

[Updated April 9, 2021]

How are you mitigating "brain drain," with staff in faculties applying to the new roles in shared services and diminishing expertise in the faculty/units remaining?

Positions posted in shared services will support processes and transactional activities, much of which currently is completed in facilities. The service will move with the role to shared services, and therefore will not be a loss to the university. Those roles or activities that remain in the faculties will be unique or specialized to that faculty and will not create efficiencies by centralizing them into the Centres of Expertise or shared services.

[Updated April 9, 2021]

What is the difference between Lean and business mapping? How will training opportunities be rolled out to staff?

A number of different tools are available for evaluating systems ultimately to make them more efficient and effective. Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste while increasing value added activity. With Lean, much of the focus is on the voice of the customer. Business mapping is a tool used to help identify and confirm activities within an organization and is an important tool for planning and designing new systems, services, and processes. It can identify gaps and areas for improvement, and illustrates the logical flow of activities.

We are reviewing different areas of training as well as developing onboarding processes and training around service culture, as this is a critical piece of the SET initiative. We have shared more information on training including modules on the process redesign web page, which will be updated as more become available.

[Updated April 22, 2021]

Process redesign
How did you determine who is selected for the redesign workgroups?
As the process design phase of the functional review gets underway, each stream will be issuing a call for working group members. These workgroups will help define future state processes, consult with other colleagues for feedback, identify opportunities to leverage technology to streamline and automate processes, and provide support with implementation activities. The open call is issued to leaders in each functional area to identify and nominate staff that have knowledge of the processes as well as the time to dedicate to the redesign. Once the pool of nominees is received, members will be drawn over the next two to three months to support process redesign, testing, training, implementation, and go-live activities for the prioritized activities.

If you have questions relating to the University of Alberta for Tomorrow, Administrative or Academic restructuring, visit the U of A for Tomorrow FAQ.