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Distance Learning
Distance Learning

OD: Call the Internal Consultants: Lessons from Business Practice Improvement at Emory University

Recorded on: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 1:00 PM ET


In challenging economic times, universities seek to improve operations and effectiveness. We all try to do more with less. Also, many schools have experienced growth over the past decades, putting strain on resources and requiring process and system improvements to accommodate that growth.
In late 2010, Emory University founded an internal strategic consulting group to address large-scale business challenges, suboptimal operations, and ineffective processes. The Business Practice Improvement (BPI) office is a dedicated team of experienced consultants, analysts, and project managers, with backgrounds in higher education, consulting, and operational improvement.Since its inception, BPI has led several transformational efforts, planning projects, and other initiatives.
BPI has also developed two successful staff development programs, BPI Fellows and BPI Scholars, focused on project analytical, management, and consulting skills. These programs augment traditional training programs, advancing the capabilities of future university leaders. Their approaches can be adapted and beneficial to any college or university.We will discuss their curriculum and application.
This presentation will discuss BPI’s concept, development, methodologies, staff development programs, and the value that it brings to Emory University.It will also contain brief project case studies related to financial operations (travel & expense payments including the roll-out of a new Corporate Card) and other efforts within a large research administration redesign.We will share the context of our initiatives, our analytics and methodologies, our collaborative approaches, and our lessons learned.

What You Will Learn

  • Learn about how one university underwent a process to identify improvement opportunities in both finance and research administration activities, implement change, and manage the effort to build campus-wide acceptance.
  • Understand key lessons learned in practice improvement and transformation projects.
  • Gain a stronger understanding of the structure and scope of operations for a university’s internal consulting group.
  • Learn about the BPI Fellows and BPI Scholars staff development programs and how those programs can be applied to any educational institution.
  • Explore case studies from the change implemented by BPI at Emory University (Case Study: Financial Operations - Corporate Cards and Travel & Expense system and Case Study: Design & Build a Tool to facilitate financial reconciliation of sponsored programs)

Meet the Presenters

  • William (Bill) Dracos, chief business practice improvement officer and associate vice president for administration, Emory University
  • Jamie Smith, director, business practice improvement, Emory University
  • Tony Armstrong, director, business practice improvement, Emory University
  • Ashley Teal – associate, business practice improvement, Emory University

Who Should Participate

  • Chief business/finance officers
  • Vice president finance and administration
  • Directors of research
  • Unit business officers
  • Business partners and/or consultants

Course Information

  • Course length: 110 minutes


Member Site Registration: $189.00
Non-Member Site Registration: $219.00


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