LSU’s Technology, Revenue Generation Task Force Groups Hold April 15 Meetings

BATON ROUGE – Two Task Force Groups of the LSU Transition Advisory Team, Technology and Revenue Generation, met on Monday, April 15, at the LSU AgCenter. These task force groups are part of the LSU 2015 process for the reorganization of LSU.

The meetings were streamed live via the Internet for those who could not attend and meeting archives are available at www.lsu.edu/tat.

Task Forces have been formed to focus on specific areas of priority in the realignment process. During these meetings, testimony is provided by national and local subject matter experts. Reports and findings are discussed and input from the public is heard. Information from the Task Force meetings will become part of a final report to be submitted to LSU’s Transition Advisory Team and ultimately to the LSU Board of Supervisors.

The Technology Task Force met from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., and the group is looking at the changing culture, promoting efficiency and encouraging innovation. Academic research, administration and leveraging data to drive innovation are being reviewed.

Lee Griffin, co-chair of the Finance and Revenue Sub-Committee, president and CEO of the LSU Foundation, welcomed the team and kicked off the meeting.

“Nothing is easy in this world today, particularly when you are talking about IT on nine different campuses … all of it’s going to pay off with a better LSU down the road” Griffin said.

He reminded the group that their task is aimed at providing a best environment possible to both students and professors for teaching and research.

Pat Bodin, former CIO and vice president of ExxonMobil and one of the executives who was instrumental in the technology decisions related to the Exxon and Mobil merger, addressed the team on her experiences with that important project. Bodin is a graduate of LSU and is a member of the Technology Task Force.

Bodin first presented “IT Aspects of the ExxonMobil Merger” and led a discussion on her experiences at ExxonMobil and how this related to LSU’s reorganization process. She outlined the process the company experienced during the merger and focused especially on the IT aspects related to the merger.

Bodin said it’s important to not underestimate how common IT tools can bring an organization together.

“While there’s investment, there’s significant large dollar savings that can be realized … if you are going to have to do it, do it right and make it last,” Bodin said.

She discussed the IT/business partnership, IT organizational synergies, technology synergies, pre-merger planning, the new service delivery model, initial priorities, transition strategy, key challenges, lessons learned, results to-date and benefits realized.

The ExxonMobil merger was geared to create a global, functional organization, which allowed the ability to build and maintain excellence within each business line; better leverage skills and capabilities globally; and create step change in best-practices.

Bodin outlined some of the important lessons learned included effective pre-merger planning; management support to invest; be ruthless with standardization; and be sensitive to people issues.

Bodin said that IT was a big enabler of bringing the company together. From simple items such as a common email system to more complex issues of the complex changes taking place simultaneously, IT played an important role in developing a sound plan and strategy that resulted in success after the merger.

Following the presentation, the task force discussed the ExxonMobil experience and related it to the LSU reorganization process. Members of the task force asked Bodin about the use of consultants during the process and where outside expertise had been brought in during the merge.

Bodin said consults are very important and can lend their experience in helping with planning and training, but cautioned to make sure the consultants are a part of the process and not driving the process themselves.

The ExxonMobil merger took place on a quick timeline, and while the LSU reorganization doesn’t have as tight of a turnaround, Griffin said that there is a sense of urgency with the process and shared the saying, “a good decision made on a timely basis is better than a good decision made too late” to note the importance of the reorganization having a timely outcome.

Bodin also presented “Delivering Value through Integration of Business and IT Strategies,” during the meeting. The presentation outlined the ExxonMobil business model, information technology at Exxon Mobil, business governance, the integration of business and IT planning cycles, IT technology strategy and IT service strategies.

Bodin said that the “Delivering Value through Integration of Business and IT Strategies” presentation touches on how develop IT structures that keep business strategies in place. She said this is an on-going process.

“There’s always some new idea, some new technology,” she said.

The Revenue Generation Task Force is focusing on identifying new revenue streams. Areas of revenue generation include self-generated streams, governmental (primarily federal) sponsored research and monetized assets.

Christel Slaughter of SSA Consultants opened the meeting with a review of revenue enhancement initiatives at other universities around the country. Slaughter said that universities are being creative in finding revenue sources.

“As we look at opportunities around the country, there are quite a few,” she said.

Slaughter outlined opportunities in educational revenues; academic entrepreneurship infrastructure; branding licensing and affinity; auxiliary services; student fees; campus operations; and facilities and real estate.

The task force discussed the opportunities in each area, and SSA Consultants will gather more details on these and will contact representatives from other universities who can speak about how their university has taken advantage of alternative revenue sources.

A panel discussion on the Foundations throughout the LSU System followed. Cliff Vannoy, executive vice president/chief operations officer for the LSU Alumni Association, and Mike Garner, chief financial officer with the LSU Alumni Association, gave an overview of their operations.

The LSU Alumni Association owns and operates the Lod Cook Conference Center, Cook Hotel and Conference Center and the Jack & Priscilla Andonie Museum. The association has revenues of $10.2 million per year and an endowment of $16 million. They support the Chancellor Alumni Scholars, Flagship Scholars, and LSU Alumni leadership scholars
Support 46 professorships.

Vannoy said that the culture at LSU is changing and the entire university is encouraging the love of LSU, which helps to get students involved and to join the Alumni Association and to make contributions after they leave.

Jeff McLain, LSU Foundation vice president for development, provided an overview of the LSU Foundation, which was chartered in 1960 under Troy Middleton’s leadership. The LSU Foundation serves the teaching, research and service missions of the LSU AgCenter, LSU Law Center and LSU main campus.

The LSU Foundation raises about $30 million per year and has the desire to double that by 2016 and in the past 10 years, the foundation has returned a quarter of a billion dollars in donor-directed giving back to the university.

The LSU Foundation and the LSU Alumni Associate share a database of alumni and potential donors and McLain said that in fundraising, having data is everything. McLain said it’s important to develop a culture of philanthropy in everyone at LSU from the top level administrators to faculty and students to greeters at the parking lots.

“I think we have an opportunity to infuse our campus with a culture of philanthropy, but that just doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.

Rick Perry, Tiger Athletic Foundation senior vice president, provided an overview of TAF’s fundraising efforts. TAF, which was started in started as the Varsity Club in 1978, has 28 full-time employees. They currently bring in just under $30 million in revenues.

“We’ve grown rather quickly, and we’re still learning,” Perry said.

Perry talked about the importance of the three foundations sharing resources and how much the three areas work together on fundraising efforts. He said the areas of growth he sees for TAF include the opportunity to grow other sports that have not been revenue generating before, growing TAF’s endowment, and having more of an emphasis on the Texas area, especially with the recent SEC expansion.

Following the foundations discussion, Danny Mahaffey, director of Facility Planning for the LSU System, gave an overview of LSU System facility assets. Mahaffey provided the number of buildings on each campus and when they were built, a replacement cost and sight plans for each campus.

The task force discussed the real estate available in the LSU System and the possibilities of finding new revenue sources and opportunities with the facilities and properties in the system.

“This is ripe for opportunity,” said Clarence Cazalot, co-chair of the Finance & Revenue Sub-Committee and chairman, president and CEO of Marathon Oil Corporation.
Agendas for this and all LSU2015 sub-committee and task force group meetings can be found at http://www.lsu.edu/LSU2015/subcommittees_meeting_schedule.shtml. The names of Transition Advisory Team Sub-Committee members, along with Task Force Group members, are available at http://www.lsu.edu/LSU2015/subcommittees.shtml.
More information on LSU’s reorganization process can be found at www.lsu.edu/LSU2015. Information on the site includes meeting schedules, minutes and video and presentations from past meetings. Also, visit LSU’s reorganization Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LSU2015transition.