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Business Support Services Assessment
As a part of the FY11 adopted budget, County Manager Harry Jones proposed a strategic path to envision a new future for Mecklenburg County, highlighting the need to reshape and redesign Mecklenburg County government to fit the new economic reality. A key initiative of this strategic path is reorganizing, restructuring, and realigning the organization.

In a memorandum dated October 1, 2010, the County Manager informed department directors that the County was going to explore opportunities for resource sharing and the possible consolidation of business support functions, with a specific focus on the formal sharing of internal resources among IST, HR, PS&I, and Organizational Development (OD). Key drivers in the exploration include reducing costs as well as increasing capacity by leveraging existing resources, with the goal of identifying a model that would mitigate the impact of funding reductions that have occurred over the past two years, as well as potential additional reductions in budgets.

Subsequently, General Manager John McGillicuddy created a design team to develop a process to guide the shared services analysis.

Update December, 2011

The Business Support Services Agency (BSSA) is becoming more consistent.
In December, the BSSA launched a BSSA Style Guide to help employees understand the various divisions, components of the four groups and how they should be represented in multiple venues. 
The Guide defines the Agency, lists accepted acronyms and abbreviations, and provides BSSA employees with editorial and style guidance for business cards, answering the phone, letterhead and other issues related to consistency and branding.
The Style Guide committee continues to meet and is develop additional style suggestions that will be communicated and posted over the next several months.  

Update July 26
County Manager Harry Jones announces that Brian Cox has accepted the position of Director of the newly formed Business Support Services Agency (BSSA). Brian is a 25 year employee of the County, serving most recently as eGovernment/Customer Service Manager and Interim Director of Information Services & Technology (IST).

The BSSA will be a shared services agency comprising the current functions of Human Resources, IST, Real Estate Services, and Public Service & Information.  New and/or reorganized functions of the BSSA will include organizational improvement, project management, web management, and an internal customer service center.  A business and financial support team will support the collective functions of the agency.

Directors of these functions will join Brian on a leadership team that will have shared accountability for the overall agency goals and performance, as well as individual responsibility for designated functional units. The leadership team’s charge is to address inefficiencies inherent in silo organizations and capitalize on opportunities to improve and/or expand internal support services.

Update June 15
The BSSA Diagram illustrates the major functions and services of the Business Support Services Agency (BSSA), which will be  implemented starting July 1, 2011 and completed in 12 to 18 months.

The diagram also illustrates how the BSSA will move from primarily operational silos to shared accountabilities among the BSSA leadership team and other staff across BSSA functions. This is not intended as an organizational chart and therefore does not identify positions and reporting lines.

Details regarding roles, responsibilities, service locations and organizational structure will be developed as part of implementation.  

Update June 10
The County Manager’s Executive Team has approved moving forward with the implementation of the Business Support Services Assessment (BSSA) recommended by Ashlin Associates. It is envisioned that the implementation will occur in three phases and take from 12 to 18 months. First steps include recruiting a Shared Services director and establishing an implementation coordinator to manage the transition. 

Update April 20
The Steering Committee for the Business Support Services Assessment met on April 20 to continue its review of the data gathered by the department work teams. The Committee is working with the project manager for the assessment, Ashlin Associates, to identify functions and services that are common among the internal business support departments  (e.g., HR, IST, PSI, Real Estate Services) to discuss options for resource sharing or consolidating functions for greater efficiency and effectiveness.  Ashlin Associates is scheduled to provide recommendations to the Steering Committee on May 26.

On May 6, there will be a special gathering of all the work team members to celebrate and recognize their work and let them know how their work is contributing to the assessment.

Update April 1
The Steering Committee for the Business Support Services Assessment (BSSA) met March 30. Project Manager Paulette Ashlin of Ashlin Associates updated the group on the progress of the department work teams. So far, the teams have completed data gathering. Each team has completed a S.C.U.D. (a vertical analysis of each department’s services based on Scope, Criticality Urgency and Degree) and is nearly finished with another integration analysis tool called a S.O.N. (Same or Similar/Overlapping/Non-essential), which compares services horizontally among the departments that are part of the BSSA.

All the S.O.N. data will be discussed by the Steering Committee at its April 7 meeting and then analyzed by Ashlin Associates, which will make recommendations for a future state that could include possible organizational changes. Once the Steering Committee reviews and provides feedback on the proposed future state, the Steering Committee members will seek additional input from County department directors on potential impacts to service and support provided by the BSSA departments. This additional input will be provided to the Steering Committee and Ashlin Associates for further consideration.

Final draft recommendations developed by Ashlin Associates will be reviewed by the Steering Committee, with final recommendations provided by Ashlin Associates to the County Executive Team on May 18.  Given this timing, BSSA recommendations will not be factored into the County Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY12, which will be presented to the Board at the Board’s May 17 meeting. 

Update March 17, 2011
The BSSA Steering Committee got an update on the work team data collection process at its March 17 meeting. The work teams have been loading their department’s data on SharePoint for ease in reviewing. Steering Committee members were instructed to review their own team’s data to make sure everything they want is included and to review the overview document for each of the other departments. The project manager team acknowledged the high volume and superior quality of work being done by the work teams.

Starting week of March 21 Ashlin Associates will begin to look at customer satisfaction measures and whether each key service is measured. For services without proper measure there may be a need to use focus groups. Also week of March 21 work teams begin to use a SCUD analysis of their department services. SCUD is a technique that causes teams to think about and rate the Scope, Criticality, Urgency and Degree of impact for each of the identified services. Work teams will start comparing their department services with those of other public and private entities during the benchmarking phase starting April 1.

Updated February 28, 2011

The County has taken the next step in the Business Support Services Assessment (BSSA) with orientation for work team members. The work teams were created by the Directors of the departments directly impacted or potentially impacted by any recommendations to come out of the assessment.

The BSSA will explore opportunities within the County’s internal business support services, functions and processes to streamline, share resources, consolidate and/or improve collaboration to ensure consistency and efficiency of these services. Key drivers in this exploration include reducing costs as well as increasing capacity by leveraging existing resources.  The scope of this exploration are the services, functions and processes provided by HR, IST, Manager’s Office (excluding budgeting), OD, PSI, and RES.

Work team members were briefed at the February 25 orientation about the work they will undertake. Members will participate in the Discovery phase (gathering information) and the Deliberation phase (analyzing information).  Members of the work team will help with the following:
• Defining current processes, positions, responsibilities, organizational structure and reporting for the department they represent.
• Collecting performance data, program review information, etc.
• Comparing job descriptions vs. actual work completed by position.
• Participating in focus groups, surveys, interviews with customers to determine actual service provided.
• Identifying and grouping similar and/or identical services and processes
• Identifying and reviewing best practices in organizational structures
• Helping to evaluation findings.

Project Manager Paulette Ashlin of Ashlin Associates told work team members that their work will be intensive over a short period of time.  Teams are to identify each targeted department’s purpose, jobs & responsibilities, work functions, employees who initiate services, key customers and any available metrics. Assistant to the County Manager Janet Payne is the internal point of contact for the project. She has created a SharePoint site for work teams to share their data during the assessment. Ashlin Associate John Kello walked the teams through the work flow process which is aimed at identifying the current state of how work is accomplished and what could be done to make the work flow more efficient.

The project team will report findings and progress to all County employees throughout this exploration, especially at the end of each phase of the study. The assessment will be complete by early May and recommendations, if any, may be included in the County Manager’s recommended budget May 17.

Memo to Department Directors from General Manager John McGillicuddy about the work teams dated February 28, 2011

Updated February 10, 2011

The County has hired Ashlin Associates to be the Project Manager for this exploration. Ashlin Associates President Paulette Ashlin met with the project Steering Committee on February 9 to kick-off the assessment by outlining the project plan, including scope of the project and the timeline. The Steering Committee endorsed the project plan, which will be carried out in five phases over the next 14 weeks. The Steering Committee, which is made up of the directors of the identified departments, will be identifying staff work teams soon. These staff work teams will be asked to gather data and other information on business processes in these departments to assist Ashlin Associates and the Steering Committee analyze the current operations. Work team members may be a mix of employees from the departments involved in the assessment as well as internal customers of these departments.

The project plan calls for Ashlin Associates to make recommendations to the Executive Team by early to mid-May. Updates on the progress of the assessment and the work of the Steering Committee will be posted here at the end of each of the five stages of the assessment.

Update, February 8, 2011

The assessment has taken a step forward with the hiring of locally owned Ashlin Associates to provide a full service approach to the project. Work continues to complete a services agreement with Ashlin Associates, with the goal of beginning the 14-week (the deadline for providing recommendations) project the week of February 14. This will include announcing the project kick-off to the organization and convening an organizational meeting February 9 with the steering committee and Ashlin & Associates.




































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