In April 2012 I appointed the Committee on Business Productivity to study UT’s business operations and to make recommendations on increasing our efficiency and effectiveness. The committee, consisting of 13 business leaders, submitted its report, “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT,” to me earlier this month. I’m very grateful to its members for their thorough and thoughtful work.
Earlier today I shared my thoughts on the report in a speech on the campus, and I want to convey a few of the highlights. The Committee studied three large areas of University operations:
- Administrative Services. The decentralized structure of the University has served us well on the academic side of our operations. The Committee, however, concluded that the University was not as well served by similar decentralization of business processes. It therefore recommended consolidating certain transactional administrative functions in a shared administrative services model. Most of the savings in this area can be achieved through natural attrition over a multiple-year period.
- Asset Utilization. The Committee recommended selling the excess power generated by UT on the open market and incentivizing units to conserve energy. Instead of continuing to operate parking, food, and housing a cost-recovery basis, it recommended a strategic and more market-based approach.
- Technology Commercialization. The Committee recommended investments to streamline the process of licensing UT-generated technology and suggested the University focus on maximizing the volume of licenses, leaving to the private sector the business of picking “winners.” It also recommended organizational structures that would further promote an entrepreneurial culture on the campus.
Implementing these recommendations will be a thoughtful process that will happen over a period of several years. I am committed to a measured and inclusive process that will seek input from the community. Kevin Hegarty, our vice president and chief financial officer, has accepted the responsibility for driving this process forward, and I’m thankful for his leadership.
While change is always challenging, these initiatives will strengthen the University and infuse its core academic mission with new resources and energy. Ultimately, the more efficient our business systems become, the better we can serve our students and the people of Texas.
The Committee’s report and the full text of my speech are online at: http://bit.ly/smartersystems