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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Change Lessons: College exec & former leader of Univ of Michigan AST downsizing initiative takes Chicago job

Change Lessons: College exec & former leader of Univ of Michigan AST downsizing initiative takes Chicago job | Change Management Resources |

"The man who championed the University of Michigan's Administrative Services Transformation (AST)— the controversial downsizing and consolidation of administrative staff — is leaving Ann Arbor for a job at the University of Chicago."


Faculty ....criticized the implementation...calling it a poorly communicated, top-down initiative.


 the AST effort Miranda was tasked with leading, his role at the university was controversial. Last month he was removed from leading AST.
.....Faculty also criticized the implementation of AST, calling it a poorly communicated, top-down initiative. 


Miranda will become U-C's treasurer and senior associate vice president for finance and administration.

Miranda came to Ann Arbor directly from the Chicago office of Accenture, the consulting firm U-M is paying $11.7 million to implement AST. He was a partner at Accenture, leading its North American Finance and Performance Management Service Line offerings for State and Local Government and Higher Education.

The companion, earlier ScoopIt on this AST story is here.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

An earlier ScoopIt on problems with downsizing initiative, where Accenture was the lead consulting firm selected for the AST project, is here.  

McKinsey, a rival consulting firm, also has published recent research on the limitations of downsizing, mentioned in the comments in the earlier post on this story here.

As mentioned in that earlier post, this now will probably stand as a cautionary tale about under-communicating during change, which often occurs by a factor of four in many change efforts. 


Why did a faculty body (UM's Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs) have to unanimously pass a resolution to ASK top administrators to involve faculty before hiring consultants to change key U-M practices?  What's wrong here?  ~  D

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Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Business transformation!

Putting Customers as the Center of Your Business ~ Forrester

Putting Customers as the Center of Your Business ~  Forrester | Change Management Resources |

"Does everyone in the organization have a clear picture of the processes customers go through when interacting with the organization?"

Forrester recently released a book ' Outside In : The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business'. The book highlights that customer experience is the greatest untapped source of cost savings ...

Understanding customer behavior and interactions can lead to the following benefits:

Identify New ‘Niche’ Customer Segments – Just because people share some similar characteristics  (e.g. female in the age group 35 – 45) does not imply that they share the same passions and interests. 

Deliver Targeted, Personalized Content and Advertising – Moving beyond ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ – to create a 360 degree of the customer ...for improving customer understanding and targeting them with personalized content.

Increase Customer Loyalty – Gaining deeper insights into existing customer segments as well as discovering new customer segments by developing a multi-channel strategy and aggregating data across mobile, social and digital channels.

Via Tom Debruyckere
Robin Martin's comment, November 4, 2012 11:09 AM
Thanks Deb!! ; )
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, November 4, 2012 4:49 PM
You are most welcome Robin!
Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Accenture's Cost Cutting Change Plan at University of Michigan

Accenture's Cost Cutting Change Plan at University of Michigan | Change Management Resources |

Early [in November] university administration rolled out the “Workforce Transition” phase of its “Administrative Services Transformation” (AST) plan.


...50 to 100 staff members in the [University of Michigan] College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LS&A) departments were informed that their positions in HR and finances (out of an anticipated total of 325) would be eliminated by early 2014.

Outside consultants [Accenture], none of whom actually visited individual departments for any serious length of time, reduced these positions to what they imagined as their “basic” functions: transactional accounting and personnel paperwork.


Read more: 


From another source, also published in Inside Higher Ed:
...Nineteen department chairs in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts -- the largest college on campus -- wrote a Nov. 1 letter to senior administrators protesting an “air of secrecy” around the effort and raising concerns that longtime staffers, particularly lower-income women, would be hurt by the changes, either because of layoffs or pay cuts. In response, senior Michigan officials wrote a Nov. 14 letter acknowledging they were “not sensitive or consultative enough in the planning and communication of this initiative.”



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UM Law Quad arch photo by  Phil Roeder

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Sounds like overpromising and underdelivering, by quite a lot.  According to McKinsey consulting: many cost-reduction programs are "illusory, short lived, and at times damaging to long-term value creation."  Their own research concluded that only 10% of cost reduction programs show sustained results three years later.

Through my network, I heard there was confusion, moving goals, and all around strangeness, including the staffing of interviews for this planned reduction.  Also, jobs targeted are held by many over-40 low to mid-wage earner women.  

From the AST's information page (FAQ), besides Accenture, there were two other consulting firms:


  • The university is working with Accenture, a global consulting company, on the AST Finance and Human Resources Shared Services initiatives, and Global eProcure and Huron Consulting Group, two firms that specialize in helping organizations transform their procurement operations to achieve substantial savings, on the strategic sourcing initiative.

The change & communication process for the reductions program also excluded the faculty voice, a rare, unexplained move compared to many program & change planning efforts affecting faculty.   This may stand as another cautionary tale about communication during change, which usually is under-planned and under-resourced by a factor of four in most change efforts.

~  Deb

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