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Freqently Asked Questions

What is Business Practice Improvement?

Business Practice Improvement is a structured approach to problem solving and improvement.  The professionals in the office of Business Practice Improvement seek to improve and enhance processes, apply industry best practices, reduce redundancies and increase efficiency.  In doing this, BPI seeks to improve business services, thus improving the satisfaction of faculty, staff, students, and constituents.  This will also enable the institution to grow in activity and service levels in the face of increased demands and constrained resources.

OK, really. What is Business Practice Improvement?

The BPI office is focused on improving Emory business functions, operating akin to an Emory University "internal consulting group."  We take on large, broad issues, investigate and facilitate new opportunities, and offer project management resources.  We take on and face a variety of problems, opportunities, and challenges.  Our projects tend to be broad in nature and touch or affect multiple units of the university.

Why should I use BPI?

BPI brings previously unavailable resources to the Emory community.  We are colleagues, part of the Emory community, and committed to the university's longevity and success.  Our office devises an approach to solving a problem or looking at an issue, builds an appropriate team of resources from across campus, facilitiates meetings and tactical work, and drives consensus to reach solutions.  BPI has the dedicated resources to approach issues objectively, drive solutions, and bring them to resolution in a timely fashion. We rely on the skills and talents of Emory employees across the University to staff and serve on our working teams.  Moreover, we have strong relationships with Emory units and leaders.  And, given our long-term perspective and presence at Emory, we can assist more closely in the implemention of our recommendations.

Has BPI been used at any other universities?

Sort of.  BPI is a novel idea at universities. There have been efforts at other universities to improve performance and/or increase efficiency; most of these efforts have been done to specifically cut costs.  What makes BPI different is that, while we welcome the cost savings that comes along with efficiency, our explicit goal is not reducing costs or headcount.  Our peers routinely hire external consultants to look at issues and problems from our holistic view.

Is BPI focused on cost savings, revenue growth, headcount reduction or restructuring?

With efficiency and effectiveness often comes re-structuring and savings.  Our goal is to foster the most efficient use of the university's resources - both monetary and human resources. While we welcome (and expect) cost savings that come with efficiency, we are not explicitly focused on cost cutting in BPI.  Likewise, we are not focused on headcount reduction.  We also work on projects that can produce new revenue streams.

How do I know if the issue that I have in my department is appropriate as a potential project for the BPI office?

See our Project Request section.  We have a series of questions to help you think through your project.  This will facilitate our discussions.  Potential projects are evaluated by BPI leadership and the BPI Steering Cmmittee.  Typically, our resources are utilized on broad reaching projects that affect multiple university units.

Does the BPI office have anything to do with the former PACE projects at Emory?

PACE projects were the predecessors to the BPI office.  The BPI functionalities and mission are broader and deeper, leveraging past PACE efforts at Emory between 2005 and 2010.

How can I be involved in a BPI project or effort?

If you have an interest in process improvement, a desire to leave Emory a better place, and a love of working on teams, we welcome your interest.  We are continually seeking strong resources.  Please contact us and we will contact you to see if your talents and skills are a good fit for an upcoming project.

Is BPI a substitute for external consultants?

BPI is another way that Emory University is being smarter with our limited resources.  BPI should replace some of the work that was formerly done via external consultants, but it cannot fully supplant the expertise, skills, or horsepower that external experts can bring.