Since opening nearly 18 months ago, the Shared Services Center (SSC) has changed the way Virginia’s Community Colleges do business. With the modernization of back-end functions like travel and expenses, procure-to-pay, and time labor & absence management (TLAM), the VCCS has been able to focus efforts on realizing our mission of putting students first.To
To date, the Travel & Expense function is live at 22 colleges and the System Office. TLAM processing is occurring at all the colleges and the System Office. Procure-to-Pay is live at 13 colleges, and Payroll is currently in Wave 1 at four colleges. A pilot roll out of the Collections process will begin in early 2018. (See the Roll Out Plan for exact timing of process implementations.)
The 49 employees of the SSC (that number will rise to approximately 88 by the end of this fiscal year) have been hard at work. For example, in FY 2017, the SSC processed 6,204 invoices. In just the first four months of this new fiscal year, that number increased to 15,568.
In addition, the SSC is working toward gaining Level II authority in procurement from the state, which would give us more autonomy from some state requirements. Benefits of obtaining Level II authority include more independence in contract negotiations, less reliance on mandatory sources, and more options to improve the process for buying from SWAM vendors. To obtain Level II authority, we will have to improve our compliance with state rules, enhance our policy development, and obtain more certifications for procurement staff.
As with any new process implementation, there have been bumps along the way, but the SSC has risen to the challenge. “By adhering to our core values,” said Kathy Metts, executive director, “the Shared Services Center strives to deliver for our most important customers: the colleges. We work for you. If you have a specific need or question, we encourage you to contact the Help Center at HELP@SSC.VCCS.EDU or call (877) 340-5577. We will do our very best to listen and resolve any issues.”
In these days of declining state budget funds and decreasing tuition revenue, implementing an innovative technology solution such as that offered by the Shared Services Center is a smart move. However, Ted Raspiller, president of John Tyler Community College and chair of the SSC Executive Council, also noted that these types of changes are never easy. “In the short term, there are always challenges and frustrations, but also opportunities. But, as we all embrace this change, we will see that the SSC will provide our institutions with consistent, quality services and expertise. In the long run, the adjustments we are making will put us in the best position to serve our students. We thank our employees for hanging in there with us.”
To stay up to speed with the latest at the SSC, please subscribe to the monthly newsletter by sending an email to Newsletter@ssc.vccs.edu and typing “Subscribe” in the subject line.
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