Case Studies » Public Research University

Conducting a process analysis to improve a university's data flow and fiscal status

Employees conducting a process analysis on current business processes

Engagement at-a-glance

Celerity partnered with a Public Research University to deliver documentation on 20+ business processes and update the University’s systems architecture diagrams in order to establish visibility and transparency between teams.

Our team of Operational Excellence experts focused on:

Creating comprehensive documentation on the current business processes to understand the data flows from one system to another

Icon, program

Delivering comprehensive documentation on current state of systems architecture to see all their applications in one place and how they worked together

Interlocking gears icon

Providing a framework to capture work instructions for each business and IT process that allow version control and establishes ownerships

Establishing visibility for the IT team within the business process to better understands gaps and challenges and identify opportunities

strategy icon

Creating a strategic roadmap addressing prioritized opportunities, identifying resources required for each initiative

Change management process coaching to establish clear roles and responsibilities within teams

The challenge

A Public Research University offers a world-class leadership and management education to 2,300 full- and part-time students supported by 200 faculty and 250 staff. As the school and its supporting systems evolved, the operating complexity of its IT systems have as well. The University needed to understand how data was flowing through its systems (from admissions, student and faculty on/off-boarding to alumni data processing) in order to boost productivity, reduce the overall cost of IT, and reduce operational risk by reducing complexity. The University turned to Celerity to better understand their data flows and to make critical recommendations for operational improvements in subsequent fiscal years.

The solution

In order to help the University optimize their operations, Celerity recommended the following approach to create the operational transparency needed to develop a roadmap for optimization:

  • Document their current state of business processes
  • Create a current state architecture diagram representing the inventory of web applications supported by current technologies
  • Conduct a transition workshop to coach the team through how to use and maintain the documentation provided, which will enable the University to better sustain future changes.

Celerity started off by documenting the current state of core business processes. Along with the process flow diagrams, the team also worked on SIPOC (Supplier, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers) diagrams and a RACI (Roles & Responsibilities) charts. The focus was to understand how data moves through the organization, who are the primary owners of the various process steps, what are the various hand-offs, and the various technologies being utilized. SIPOC documents helped supplement and provide additional context to the process steps, high-lighting the key data elements and objects moving through the end-to-end process. The RACI charts help to clearly articulate the  roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder within a process. Given the  lack of current documentation around any of the process, Celerity also provided the University team with a flexible framework to document work instructions for better, sustainable future knowledge management.

In parallel to documenting business processes, Celerity also created a system architecture diagram representing the inventory of web applications supported by current technologies. Web applications were organized by the processes they supported. Celerity highlighted gaps and opportunities for improvements along with the documentation with recommendations on either to retain or discontinue/replace applications.

Lastly, Celerity conducted a transition workshop with the stakeholders and the team to coach on how the current state documents should be utilized for future strategy planning conversations. Stakeholders were coached on tools and techniques for maintaining the documentation to keep them up to date, and the value of these documents in providing operational transparency.

Through stakeholder interviews and observations, Celerity was able to document current challenges, pain points, future-state improvement opportunities, and automation opportunities within each process.

Throughout the engagement Celerity also maintained an opportunity log containing potential solutions and improvements for the operational gaps and pain-points identified. The opportunities within the log were prioritized and rated on the scale of potential impact and estimated level of effort with suggested next steps and resource requirements. The opportunity log was a key deliverable for the University, informing their strategic initiatives and planning.

The outcome

At the end of the engagement Celerity delivered documentation on over 20 business processes — process maps along with SIPOCs and RACI charts for each one. Celerity also updated the University’s systems architecture diagrams. By doing so, for the first time in years, they could see all their applications in one place, and how they worked together. Our recommendations and identified opportunities will enable the University’s team to create a strategic roadmap with the understanding of return on investment and level of effort required for each initiative.

At the end of this engagement, the University was not only able to establish visibility and transparency between business and technology teams, but also establish change management and governance, working together to maintain the technical and business processes. These recommendations could lead to a savings in man-hours and software costs per year.

Get in touch

In today's world of relentless change and disruption, you don't need to go it alone. Ready to see how Celerity can help you deliver better customer experiences and create a problem-solving culture that turns change into opportunity? Reach out to us today.