Overview: The Operational Excellence Program at UC Berkeley

Launched in Fall 2009 and transitioned to operations in 2016, UC Berkeley’s Operational Excellence (OE) Program was a multi-year, multi-project initiative with three key goals:

  1. To reduce the campus’ administrative costs
  2. To ensure efficient, effective administrative services; and
  3. To support a culture of continuous improvement.

Former Chancellor Robert Birgeneau initiated OE during a time of unprecedented state disinvestment from the UC system. The program was designed to not only address the campus’ budget challenges but also, as Birgeneau described,“to reflect our commitment to an administration that is as effective and as excellent as we are in teaching and research.”

In addition to generating cost savings, OE was responsible for foundational technology systems and upgrades that are essential for running a leading public research university.

Key Accomplishments

  • Prior to OE, the campus had an unstable email solution that was prone to outages. The introduction of bConnected (Google Apps for Education), including stable email, calendar and file-sharing, has improved communication and collaborative work across the campus. Prior to the implementation of bConnected, the campus email system went down for a week toward the end of one semester.

  • Prior to the introduction of CalTime, the online timekeeping system, employees used more than 60 different manual, mostly paper-based timekeeping processes that varied across the campus and made it challenging to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

  • With BearBuy, our procurement system, the campus saves millions of dollars a year through volume discounts and preferred purchasing arrangements.

  • CalPlanning made it possible for campus units and leadership to more fully understand their financial situation and to make informed, data-based decisions.

  • CSS IT was the first reliable, large-scale end-user support service for computers on campus.

  • Cal Answers provides accessible, reliable, consistent, and secure analytics to support informed planning and decision-making.

  • Cal Student Central is improving the student experience by providing a one-stop resource where students can go for key transactions related to financial aid, fees and billing, registration and enrollment.

  • The campus reduced greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy costs through the Energy Management Initiative.

For more information, please review the OE Program Office Progress Reports for 2014 and 2015