May 2015 Shared Services Update: Central Business Office


Although the name remains the same, much has changed at the Central Business Office (CBO) since it re-launched in April 2014. The CBO, which is the University’s shared services processing unit, assists colleges and departments with administrative functions such as purchasing, accounting, inventory, human resources, and revenue collection.

Launched in 2010 as a unit within Information Technology Services, the CBO has expanded to include several units across campus, including the Office of the President, Dell Medical School, the School of Architecture, and units reporting to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

The CBO processes administrative requests of all types, from inventory reports to transfers and payments. The CBO created over 32,000 documents on behalf of its clients over the course of the past year. Growing steadily, the CBO now processes nearly 4,000 documents each month, up from just hundreds each month one year ago.

Much of this growth is due to the establishment of a comprehensive service catalog. Before the re-launch, the CBO lacked a client guide that outlined its service-related capabilities. Now the CBO has a refined list of every service they offer, more than 75 in total.

In addition to improving processes and refining its service menu, the CBO has also been hard at work piloting processes designed to increase the efficiency of the campus-at-large:

  • Digital Signatures: Allows users to insert a digital signature into any PDF, eliminating the steps of printing out, stamping, and signing hard copies of documents. With the success of the pilot, the University is now moving to DocuSign as a campus-wide solution. 
  • Request Forms System:  The CBO has been working closely with Financial Information Systems to develop an online request system. The current list of request forms includes purchase requests, travel authorization requests, travel reimbursement requests, and human resource related requests (assignment changes, reclassifications, recruit and post a position for hire, and separations). The forms are available for use by any unit on campus. You can contact your unit administrator to determine whether your unit accepts requests in this manner.
  • Paperless Transactions: The CBO no longer sends physical copies of payment vouchers to Accounts Payable. Instead, CBO staff assembles the scanned images received from its clients into a PDF that is programmatically added to the University’s Image Retrieval System (IRS). Before the new process went into effect, the CBO had to print out the scanned image, assemble the paper voucher packet, and courier those vouchers to Accounts Payable.  After approval, the voucher documentation had to be disassembled and rescanned.

It has been an exciting 12 months for the CBO. In the coming year, we will be working closely with the ASMP 2.0 and ServiceNow teams to design and deliver integrated services that leverage the University’s investments in technology and customer service. 

Jamie Southerland
Associate Vice President for Shared Services and Business Transformation Initiatives