Capital Budget and Planning


As a result of UW System Administration’s Office of Capital Budget and Planning being given the authority to negotiate its own leases, real estate specialist Ellen Rosner was able to examine the particulars of a pair of leases and renegotiate them, avoiding unnecessary overpayments.

Rosner realized that in 2016-17, Continuing Education, Outreach and Online Learning (CEOEL) ihad received a $28,000 refund of the operating expenses they had pre-paid at the beginning of the year for their offices in University Research Park in Madison, which amounted to a $1 per square foot overpayment on their 26, 704 square foot office space.  Rosner promptly renegotiated the terms of the lease to reduce the pre-paid expenses and effectively lower CEOEL’s  monthly rent.  In 2017-18, Rosner noticed the reconciled expenses were showing that Research Park owed CEOEL $20,000 in pre-paid expenses, and Rosner again reduced the amount for the following year. While this number doesn’t represent a direct savings–according to the terms of the contract, CEOEL would have been refunded the amount of the overpayment at the end of the year–it does give CEOEL the ability to budget realistically from month to month and benefit from the time value of that money.

Similarly, Rosner was able to renegotiate the lease on the space on the space UW-Whitewater (UWW) leases in the Global Water Council building in Milwaukee, where UWW researchers collaborate with other tenants in the building. She discovered that UWW was being charged a per-square foot at an Executive Office suite level, even though the researchers weren’t using the space’s conference rooms or reception areas. The new lease saves UW System $37,300 over the three-year term.

90 Days

As part of CORE, the Office of Capital Budget and planning was also granted the authority to manage capital projects funded by gift and grant dollars. Previously, such projects had to undergo review by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Administration, a time-consuming process that often took 6-9 months to complete, depending on how frequently DOA’s Board of Estimates met each year. Under the new process, these projects now typically take less than three months–a reduction of 90 days–to approve. Currently, UWSA is managing 28 capital projects that fall under this designation, including the $23 million dollar expansion to the UW Medical School in Madison.

6 to 15 Days

One of the most common occurrences on a capital construction project is a change order, in which work is either added to or subtracted from the original project plan.  Change orders require multiple authorization signatures before the work can proceed. Prior to CORE, a single change orders was hand-delivered or mailed to the required parties, taking between 8-22 working days to get the required signatures to execute it.  Changing to a parallel process that relies on technology and internal processing has reduced that range to 2-7 working days, a potential savings of 6-15 days.

Human Resources

2,000+ hours

For the last year, employees of UW System Administration’s Service Center have been entering data into the Process Improvement Evaluator (PIE), an online tool that tracks and validates the amount of work hours saved by specific business process improvements.  During Fiscal Year 18 (June 30, 2017-July 1 2018), employees logged more than 2,000 hours saved.

74 percent

Last fall, the UW System Office of Human Resources debuted Ask Alex, an online tool to help UW System employees get answers to their questions about benefits during the Annual Benefit Enrollment period. Between September 30 and October 31, 2017, 14,911 of UW System’s 42,000 employees visited and made use of the tool to get information about their medical, dental and vision benefits, as well as their flexible and health savings accounts. Nearly 74 percent of users who responded to a survey about Ask Alex indicated that they had a better understanding of their benefits package after using it.

Ask Alex is the first of several planned online improvements to employee benefits administration. Tools like this redirect HR staff time from explaining benefits to other tasks.

400 employment verifications

When an individual applies for a job at UW System, the hiring process includes an employment verification–i,e, confirming that the applicant has actually worked where he or she claims to have worked on their resume. Prior to CORE, these verifications were conducted by HRS employees. Those requests have now been combined into a standardized process and have been outsourced to a third-party, reducing the more than 400 verifications formerly conducted each week by staff–a number that extrapolates to more than 20,000 verifications per year– and also the cost, as outside requesters are now charged for this service rather than UW institutions. There’s also a considerable time savings involved: The amount of time saved by having the verifications processed externally equates to three full-time positions. That’s more than 6,000 hours of staff time now available to perform other functions.

900 Job Titles

One of the key goals of UW System Administration’s Title and Total Compensation Project was to simplify and reorganize the more than 1,800 different job titles that existed within UWSA as of the project’s  launch in late 2016.  Following months of careful study and review, that number has been reduced to 900, with each job given a new function-based description and mapped to a a newly developed job framework and family that makes it much easier for employees to understand their roles and map a clear path to career advancement.

Information Technology


Earlier this year, UW System’s Central Information Technology System (CITS) replaced several thousand aging Centrex desk phones–phones that were obsolete and expensive to maintain–with new Cisco Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones. The new VOIP phones offer multiple advantage over the old ones, including a video camera and the ability to pair with a mobile device. Between replacing old phones at UW System Administration and UW Colleges and Extension offices and installing VOIP phones in new locations where no phone had existed, CITS installed 2,475 phones. reducing the annual telecommunications costs by $124,166. Over the course of the first five years of the contract, that equals $620,830 in total savings

8 Policies

A Central part of CORE is re-examining and updating the policies that govern standard business practices to ensure that that they align with the current state. Over the past two years, a total of eight information technology and information security policies have been updated and/or standardized in the areas of information technology and information security, including:

  • Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
  • Information Technology Acquisitions Approval
  • Information Security Authentication
  • Data Classification and Protections
  • Information Security Incident Response



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