A look at BPR with Charlie Matteis

Charlie Matteis has spent the better part of his career helping work teams become more effective and efficient. He has partnered with departments throughout campus since joining the University in 2002 as the first director of Organizational Training and Development. From the Ben Samuels Child Care Center and the Center of Pedagogy to Facilities and Student Accounts, Charlie has been called upon for his experience and expertise in performance management, leadership and team development, and training.

As part of the OneMontclair team, Charlie is overseeing the business analysis and campus readiness effort. “Our job is to understand the changes and the impact the new systems will have on students, faculty, staff and customers,” he explained. “We want to ensure a smooth transition and get everyone ready for this positive change.”

Charlie came to the University from Ciba Geigy, where he was director of Organization and Leadership Development for the chemical and pharmaceutical company. He holds an MBA from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Human Resources Program and Columbia University’s Advanced Organizational Development Program.


Q: What is your primary role for OneMontclair?

A: Currently I’ve been focusing on business process review, which is a thorough examination of our processes—how we do what we do—to see if we are being as efficient and effective as possible. The OneMontclair project is not about simply automating what we do now. As we define what we want to be in the future, we need to come up with solutions that make sense.

In the long term I will be leading the campus readiness efforts, which means making sure we are ready for the changes the OneMontclair project will bring. This means understanding the changes, the impact they will have, and providing the necessary communication and training to be successful.  


Q: How has your prior experience prepared you for this work?

A: My past experience has been in the areas of organizational development, change management, team building, leadership development and business process re-engineering. At Ciba Geigy I helped create an internal virtual consulting organization that partnered Human Resources with Information Technology to help customers look at how they were working and discover more efficient and effective ways of doing things.  The marriage of HR and IT was particular significant because most technology processes do not fail because of the technology but because not enough attention is paid to the people implication of the proposed changes.

I’ve also done extensive change management work as an independent consultant. That experience plus my understanding of the University’s operations from working in the Human Resources department for the past decade gives me an even greater advantage in doing this work.


Q: What does Business Process Review entail?

A: BPR is a structured way of challenging the rules and assumptions surrounding the way we work today to find better ways of doing it now and in the future. For OneMontclair, it starts with identifying key processes, and then working with the people who provide the services to examine how it is done today. We then bring in the customers of the process to get their point of view about the current process and what changes they would like to see in the future.

Hearing the customers’ voice is an important aspect of the process. It not only gives us their perspective, it gives them an opportunity to provide their input before decisions that will ultimately impact them are made. Our customers have really appreciated being brought into the process in the early stages.


Q: Why is this process important to the success of OneMontclair?

A: For many years the University has been constrained by old software. While our processes have evolved, we have had to work around the outdated software and systems. Over the years these workarounds and exception processes added to the complexity of the rules and regulations under which we operate.  There are clearly opportunities to get to the right outcome in more effective and efficient ways. This is an opportunity for us to take advantage of software and systems that will allow us to operate much more efficiently, so we need to think about our business processes in a different way.


Q: Finance was the first area to complete the business process review. What successes came out of that?

A: We looked at more than 30 processes in the Finance area and identified hundreds of potential changes that would lead to more effective ways to operate. More than 100 of those recommendations are what we consider quick wins­—changes we can make right now that will benefit the campus community. Not every change needs to wait for the new systems to be in place. In Finance, changes already have been made from the way an invoice is paid to how vendors are identified that improve the processes.


Q: What lessons were learned?

A: The work we have done in Finance has shown us that we can reap benefits right now that have nothing to do with technology. It’s affirmed that as an organization it is beneficial to take the time to step back and reflect on how we are working.

It also reminded us that change of any kind is difficult. Sometimes to come up with a breakthrough idea you have to let go of an old one, and that can be challenging. But our work in Finance showed that it can be done and we can be successful.


Q: What is the change management component of OneMontclair and what impact does it have on University employees?

A: Research and studies have shown that a major success factor in any comprehensive project like OneMontclair is having a change management plan in place. In fact, projects have been known to fail because the change implications were not a priority from the start. The changes that will come about from OneMontclair will have an impact on our service providers, customers, students, faculty, and staff. The more we can understand those changes in advance and plan accordingly, the more successful we will be as an organization at the end of the day.