Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Smooth Operators: The Finance Engagement Team plans for a more streamlined customer experience

Across UVA, FST project team members and our partners in schools and units are diving into the Configuration & Prototype phase of Finance Transformation.  As deeply immersed as we are collectively in the building and refining stage of UVA’s Workday Financials tenant, it may be hard to imagine that time in the not-so-distant future (July 2022 to be exact) when the system goes live.

Within UVAFinance, the future state is very much on our minds.  Under the leadership of Bill Ashby, AVP for Financial Strategy, the Finance Engagement team is already making strides toward their vision of an exceptional customer service model to complement Workday Financials.  A large piece of the future-state finance service model involves the incorporation of Salesforce to manage customer interactions. 

Team members Scott Adams and Andrew Sallans are taking the lead on the implementation of Salesforce in UVAFinance.   Salesforce was a natural fit for UVAFinance’s complex nature and its desire to provide the best service possible. 

In the past and up to the present, service in finance had been provided via email, and largely by individuals as opposed to teams.  We have learned to rely on the institutional knowledge of long-term employees (which is difficult in a large, complex, constantly-changing organization), and our customers have had to navigate the clunky process of explaining the problem all over again when another department is brought in to help.  All in all, it’s a manual and time-intensive process.

Salesforce alleviates those issues:  when a question or issue is logged, all finance team members have visibility into the problem, and can easily see the whole story at a glance and join in as needed with helpful context.  Within Salesforce, issues are less likely to fall through the cracks, and the team will be able to provide answers more quickly and comprehensively.

The data that can be collected and tracked via Salesforce will also allow UVAFinance to identify opportunities to improve and identify trends that would otherwise be hard to spot.

Adams and Sallans are working with central finance departments to gradually roll out the use of Salesforce; the first department to go live this November will be Travel & Expense.  From the customer perspective, Adams says, the changes will be barely detectable at first, but as we move forward, they should start seeing better and more consistent service, along with faster and more comprehensive answers.

Although Salesforce will enable finance departments to provide the top-level of service they’ve been aiming for, Adams says the technology isn’t the end-all, be-all.

“We aren’t here just to build the technology,” he says.  “The technology allows for tracking, reporting, and automation, but we’re also doing intensive process-building with the departments we’re working with.”

Sallans notes that the T&E team has been an ideal pilot for the implementation of Salesforce in UVAFinance.   

“We’re building interfaces, layouts, and things that make the processes repeatable, and the T&E team is excited to leverage the tool.  They didn’t know anything about Salesforce when we began, but they’ve been inspired to pursue the potential of the tool.  We’re helping them improve their processes and removing manual transactions so that they have more time to provide actual customer service.”

The choice of Salesforce also means that UVAFinance will be able to work more closely with UVAHR, which already utilizes Salesforce, to provide a single view of those we serve at UVA, from all angles.

“It’s an opportunity for us to deliver a superlative vision of service on the Operations side of the house at UVA,” says Adams, adding that the Engagement team will remain a steady presence even after go-live to keep driving change, asking questions, and providing the necessary support. 


Adams, Sallans, and Raegan Harouff (of T&E) will be guests on an upcoming Challenging the Status Quo panel series webinar -- read more on the blog!

Watch your inbox! The Finance Engagement Team will be are surveying stakeholders over the next month to get an understanding of current perceptions of UVAFinance service, to serve as a baseline for comparison as we make improvements.

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