Organizational Excellence

Engage. Simplify. Enable the Mission

Benchmarking of Administrative Services

In 2013-14, the University partnered with The Hackett Group to conduct a comprehensive benchmarking study of administrative services. The purpose was to learn about the University’s effectiveness and efficiency in delivering administrative support services across six functions – Finance,  HR, IT, Procurement, Student Services, and Research Administration. 

The study provided detailed information about each function’s structure, costs, and performance across the institution, including central offices and school/units. The results helped shape and inform numerous improvement initiatives to support core activities of teaching, research, and public service.


This project aimed to:

  • Employ a standard methodology to analyze current state performance  (Data collection included function-based questions, activity across 90 processes, and stakeholder surveys)
  • Compare performance to other higher education institutions and similar private sector, non-profit, and government organizations
  • Leverage stakeholder feedback for insight and context
  • Interpret analysis and recommendations in order to identify opportunities for improvement and integrate findings into current projects
  • Conduct additional analysis as needed


  • Planning, training, data collection and validation (October 2013 - January 2014)
  • Review initial findings (February 2015)
  • Interpretation and application of results (March 2014 to present)


High-level findings across all functions:

  • Functional costs are almost equally distributed across central services (44 percent) and the schools and units (56 percent)
  • Work is highly-distributed across the institution
  • Many staff performing these functions have fragmented roles and are not dedicated to a specific function
  • There is significant/y higher transactional activity relative to analytical and strategic work
  • The effectiveness of technology support systems varies from highly-effective to ineffective
  • Stakeholders view the functions more as gatekeepers rather than valued business partners
Project Type: 
Completed Sponsored Project
Current Phase: 
Completed Date: 
April 1, 2014