Wade Epp, director of service design and delivery
Wade Epp, director of service design and delivery

ConnectionPoint launches travel and expense services

On August 29, ConnectionPoint officially opened its doors, phone lines, email and online resources, an effort that has been almost two years in the making at the U of S.

“I’ve reflected a lot in the past month on what it has taken to get here,” said Wade Epp, director of service design and delivery. “This is a huge milestone in moving forward the work that started as one of eight institutional priorities launched in September 2014 to focus on mission.”

Based on data collected over a one-year period—including a survey of the tasks administrative staff spend time on, a satisfaction survey and countless conversations with groups across campus—Connection Point was developed as a new, central model for delivering administrative services.

“The satisfaction survey really helped guide our focus on where to start,” said Epp, adding that initial services will focus on travel and expense support, general inquiries, and research support.

Later this fall, ConnectionPoint will launch additional services within financial services, human resources and research services, Epp said.

Within the data collected, respondents overwhelmingly indicated a need for better communication of policies and procedures. To address this need, an online resource called Knowledge Base was created within the ConnectionPoint channel in PAWS to house information important to all employees, such as benefits and compensation, payroll, and time away from work.

Epp said the online information is “one of the fundamental elements to what we are trying to achieve in terms of great service for our university community. I would describe it as the Google of the university, providing employees the ability to search for and access information when it’s needed. That said, the content links back to staff at ConnectionPoint if anyone has a question or needs assistance.”

ConnectionPoint staff are currently set up in temporary space in the Health Sciences Building A120 for in-person support, and all initial services are fully supported through telephone, online, email and in-person meetings. In late 2016, ConnectionPoint will move to a permanent, more central location in the Arts Building.

Over the next few years, ConnectionPoint will explore the way seven other administrative functions are delivered at the university: university relations, facilities management, financial services, human resources, information technology, research services and student services. The intent of a phased roll out is to ensure all the kinks are worked out before additional services are added.

“U15 research intensive universities require excellent administrative services that are aligned to support and facilitate its academic mission,” said Epp. “I’m confident this new way of delivering administrative support at the university will help take us to the next level.”

  

Jennifer Robertson is a communications specialist in the Office of the Vice-President Finance and Resources

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