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FY 2016
Year in Review
Celebrating Five Years of Collaboration and Creative Problem Solving
The Ascension Ministry Service Center provides human
resources, supply chain, and finance services to Ascension, its
ministries, and associates. The work of the Ministry Service
Center supports 27 Ascension ministries and 140,000
associates in their efforts to lead healthcare transformation.
Rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as healer, we commit
ourselves to serving all persons with special attention to those
who are poor and vulnerable. Our Catholic health ministry is
dedicated to spiritually centered, holistic care which sustains
and improves the health of individuals and communities.
We are advocates for a compassionate and just society
through our actions and our words.
Service of the Poor
Table of Contents
Message from Ascension CEO Anthony Tersigni . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Executive Summary: Connecting Our Ministry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The Story of the Ministry Service Center .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
A Special Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Our Approach to Performance Continues to Adapt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Client Account Managers Are Key Collaborators .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Our New Focus: Improving the Associate Experience .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Key Projects FY 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Benefits Optimization Efforts Gaining Momentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Digitization Is Transforming the Back Office Experience .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Outlook FY 17: New Alignment, Capability, Stability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
“ Bringing our capabilities together in
one place to serve the national health
ministry in vital support areas allows us
to develop new capacity and expertise,
lower healthcare costs, support our
Mission, and improve our ability to
serve overall.”
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Message from Anthony Tersigni
President and CEO of Ascension
July 2011 was a pivotal time in the history of Ascension – that’s the month and
year that the Ascension Ministry Service Center became a reality. Over the last
five years, the Ministry Service Center has been at the heart of the ongoing
transformation of our One Integrated Ministry.
At the Ministry Service Center’s blessing ceremony and ribbon cutting in 2011,
I noted that “bringing our capabilities together in one place to serve the national
health ministry in vital support areas allows us to develop new capacity and
expertise, lower healthcare costs, support our Mission, and improve our ability
to serve overall.”
We are profoundly grateful for the Ministry Service Center, which is called to
serve Ascension’s caregivers in such a way that our Mission might be fulfilled for
the benefit of those we are privileged to serve in communities around the country.
As a catalyst for change, Ascension’s Ministry Service Center team has blazed
trails that no one could have foreseen at the beginning of our journey.
Through the commitment and dedication of the people of the Ministry Service
Center, Ascension’s caregivers are positioned to confront the opportunities and
challenges of living out our Mission in the 21st century.
Anthony R. Tersigni, Ed.D., FACHE
President and Chief Executive Officer
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Connecting our Ministry
The Ministry Service Center was born on July 5th, 2011. This
year marks our fifth anniversary. As we began with our partners
at Sacred Heart, and continued with Providence and St. Thomas,
and then every other part of Ascension, we have brought our
Ministry together in a way that has been truly transformational.
It has certainly not been without its challenges. Standardizing
processes, policies, and introducing new structure has been a
massive change. The transformation program was measured
on four key objectives:
cope – D
id we transform the processes we originally
• Time – Did we stick to the timeline?
ost – D
id we stay on budget and actually hit the
business case?
• Key
Objectives – Did we succeed with the
transformational goals?
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
To get to the point, after objective measurement, we and all of
you should be proud to know that we were in the top 5% of all
organizations that ever attempted such a transformation. It is
almost hard to remember what it was all like before.
Today, the connectedness we achieved over those difficult
five years served as a foundation for the One Ascension
transformation. Simply put, we could not have contemplated
coming together as One Ascension without the hard work and
dedication of every person across our National Ministry.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 was significant for us in that Ascension
achieved new levels of clarity in terms of its enterprise
governance model. Global Process Owners supported by
comprehensive Centers of Excellence are now providing clear
leadership to our future transformation as we organize to
meet the ever-increasing challenge of our healthcare industry.
Making and Meeting Commitments
As Ascension’s leaders gained forums for decision making and
guidance, our ability to fulfill our intended role improved. Our focus
has turned to delivering value by working across the system to create
new and better ways to deliver service. In addition to meeting
97.8% of our service levels, we also reduced costs by 11% and
returned $6 million back to our ministries. We have developed key
priorities that will improve service, cost, capability, and experience.
e are installing new technologies that give Ascension a fully
electronic relationship with vendors in purchasing, data, and
• We have united as a system to build world-class business
continuity in supply chain and payroll services, ensuring we continue
to serve in the face of disaster.
• We made significant progress in our multi-year controls initiative
related to accounting standards, security, availability, processing
integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
• We have aggressively implemented intelligent process automation
technologies across our organization eliminating manual processes
and improving the quality of our work. This work enabled the
Ministry Service Center to absorb 19% increased work volumes
from Release 7 without adding any incremental costs.
450 associates
contributed to the
Shaping the Experience
Perhaps the most relevant outcomes this year have been our CX or
Customer Experience improvements. In the last seven months, we
have focused on “Resolve on First Contact” which means a customer
should only have to contact us once to get what they need. In the last
seven months, we have eliminated 50% of the calls from customers
calling a second time, and are now resolving 82% of all requests on
the first contact, with a goal to get very near to 100%.
We are committed to exceeding Ascension customer expectations
every time they interact with us. This is our #1 priority.
Symphony cost
savings $3.2 billion
over 10 years
On time
on budget
Thank you for allowing us to serve you and know that we are
focused on service that inspires confidence and trust.
Lee Coulter
Chief Executive Officer
Ascension Ministry Service Center
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Left to right: Ann Esposito, Former Senior Vice President and
Program Executive, Symphony; Monsignor William F. Stumpf;
Former Indianapolis Mayor, Greg Ballard; Anthony R. Tersigni,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension; Former
Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels; Robert Henkel, Executive
Vice President, Ascension; Lee Coulter, Chief Executive
Officer, Acsension Ministry Service Center
The Story of the Ministry Service Center
and the Symphony Transformation
Symphony, a system-wide tool for enterprise resource
planning, was launched in 2009. It was designed to upgrade
information systems, standardize human resource functions,
improve financial reporting, and optimize supply chain
management. The Ministry Service Center was established
in 2011 to support the new processes and systems. The
combined efforts would increase efficiency and lower
costs through shared services. It also would help Ascension
manage changes in governmental and commercial insurance
reimbursements for patient care, which was estimated to be
a $3.5 billion shortfall.
The size, scope, and complexity of the initiative was staggering.
Challenges included the wide range of sizes of health ministries
and hospitals, and significant variations in technological
capabilities. The new business processes required significant
change management in organizational culture and workflows.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Linda Werbylo, Senior Vice President of Symphony, joined
Ascension after working for the Carondelet Health Network
in Tucson, Arizona. She often shared the story of the legacy
of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and used it as a
reference point with her team.
“Back in Arizona, everyone knew the story of how the Bishop
asked the Sisters to build a hospital and a school,” Werbylo
said. “All associates—everyone—could recite the story and
it always helped us connect to the Sisters and the Mission.
And part of the story was that the Sisters weren’t widely
accepted and neither were we when we started. We had
some of the same scars as the Sisters, but we went forth
with the same values and leadership.”
Failure of previous system-wide projects affected trust
levels throughout Ascension. There was a poor history of
meeting project deadlines and health ministry leaders
believed Symphony was another shallow promise.
Lee Coulter was an executive at Kraft when a recruiter for
Ascension approached him to lead the new Ministry Service
Center. He turned down the first opportunity, but provided
some constructive feedback about the organization’s plan.
Ascension approached him a second time to become the
CEO and presented a plan in alignment with his strategy.
Coulter brought 20 years of experience in the shared services
industry and business process transformation at some of
the world’s largest companies. He worked at General Electric
when Jack Welch was CEO and its stock increased 4,000%,
making it the most valuable corporation in the world at the
time. The culture at GE influenced his leadership and
approach to all initiatives. “I am a fanatic when it comes to
strategic integrity,” Coulter said. “I learned a very simple
thing at GE that I carry with me to this day: Say what you’re
going to do and do that.”
Coulter was overwhelmed to witness the supportive work
of Ascension’s Mission Integration team and its essential
contributions to strategic integrity. Coulter and Werbylo credit
Mission Integration and Model Community with successfully
changing cultures and enabling Symphony to succeed.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
In 2009, Ascension brought together more than 450 stakeholders and subject
matter experts from across the health ministries and the System Office to design
the processes, policies, and data requirements for Symphony. In 2011, an Alpha
version of a Symphony blueprint solution was deployed at health ministries in
Pensacola and the Ministry Service Center. After refinement, a Beta version was
deployed at health ministries in Mobile and Nashville. Extensive challenges
occurred during both deployments.
“Things didn’t work out because there was so much transformation,” Werbylo said.
“We said Alpha was awful, but Beta was better.
“In the beginning, we wanted to make sure we didn’t affect patient care and
paychecks. But the process was transforming all business operations. It was a lot
of work to manage the change.” It also was a tremendous amount of work to
assemble Symphony and Ministry Service Center teams and structure. Many
fundamental functions rested on Coulter and the first associates. He recalled
giving his home address and cell phone number in order to open the first checking
account for the new enterprise. He calls the first 120 employees “faith hires,”
who were influenced by the organization’s story.
“Those first 120 people were joining an idea,” Coulter said. “They asked about
holidays, benefits, job descriptions, and where they’ll work. We told them we didn’t
know all that but we were going to create something new. It was a remarkable time.
And most of those first 120 are still with us today. They were inspired by our
Mission and the boldness of what we were setting out to do.”
“We literally changed the way
every human being at Ascension
does their work.”
—Lee Coulter
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Coulter said the amount of change was unprecedented, the pace frenetic, and
the chaos profound. He referred to the popular business book, Who Moved My
Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life—
a fable about the necessity of proper organizational change for success—to
describe the transformation process. “We moved everybody’s cheese not just from
one side of their desk to the other, but to another building in another state,”
Coulter said. “We literally changed the way every human being at Ascension does
their work.”
During a conversation with Bob Henkel, President and CEO of Ascension Health
and Executive Vice President of Ascension, Coulter remarked the organization
was embarking on one of the most ambitious initiatives ever attempted by any
business or any industry.
“I looked Bob straight in the eye and asked if he had any idea of the magnitude of
the change he committed to,” Coulter said. “I told him I haven’t been a part of a
transformation this broad and deep and I’m not aware of any organization on earth
doing all three functions—HR, finance, and supply chain—simultaneously.
“I told him it was good this was a faith-based organization because before this is
over, we were all going to need it. He chuckled, but he stayed the course because
this was essential to the future of Ascension.”
Werbylo and Coulter believe the initiative’s success can be traced to dedicated
people on the Symphony and Ministry Service Center teams and relentless
repetition of stories connecting the project to organizational mission.
“I’ve never met more passionate people than those who worked on this project,”
Werbylo said. “It was a tough lifestyle and they would work 70 to 80 hours each
week as we got closer to launches. We would have calls every four hours on the
weekends before we cut over.”
Coulter repeatedly communicated to associates how Symphony and the Ministry
Service Center contribute to Ascension’s strategic direction of delivering
Healthcare That Works, Healthcare That Is Safe, and Healthcare That Leaves
No One Behind, for Life.
“I probably made that presentation 150 times and still use an abbreviated set
of slides at least once a year on how we contribute to the Mission,” Coulter said.
“I challenged my leadership team to make sure every person who works here
understands how what they do every day connects to the patient, caregiver,
and our Mission.”
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
The Ministry Service Center introduced the power of stories to their culture
through a daily reflection and now publishes a compilation of the best 100
reflections each year. Despite some criticism, Coulter took his leadership team
offsite for a whole day each month for “cultural blueprinting.” Even though
employees worked seven days a week for as many as 14 hours each day to
meet deadlines, he believed the investment of time was critical.
“Cultural blueprinting was establishing our values,” Coulter said. “We created the
blueprint of our culture and what a Ministry Service Center leader would look like.
We studied our interactions and connection to the Mission.”
Business transformation initiatives often are judged on four indicators of success:
the amount of money spent, adherence to the determined timeline, remaining
within the scope of the project, and achievement of the project’s benefits.
The original projections for Symphony were $1.1 billion in cost and $1.6 billion in
savings across 10 years. Current cost estimates are approximately $1.4 billion,
but savings are approximately $3.2 billion. Symphony reduced the number of
third-party health plan administrators from 31 to six and decreased paid-time-off
plans from 250 to 55. Symphony replaced 85 instances of legacy information
systems. Symphony was implemented on time in all 17 planned Health Ministries
prior to June 30, 2014, and 16 of 17 on the original scheduled date.
“No one else accomplished almost double the projections on a project of this size,”
Werbylo said. “It’s a huge success story. We were pioneers because we helped unite
people. We tell people we are the forerunners of One Ascension.”
“ Cultural blueprinting was establishing
our values. We created the blueprint of our
culture and what a Ministry Service Center
leader would look like. We studied our
interactions and connection to the Mission.”
— Lee Coulter
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
A Special Culture
Ascension is committed to creating a “model community of Mission-centered, healthy
Eric J. Potts, Project Manager, and
associates.” That means that our ultimate aim ­­­­­­­­­– extending the healing ministry of
LaToya Shepherd, Senior Accountant,
Jesus in clinical settings, relationships, neighborhoods, and our own lives ­­­­­­­­­– cannot
remain on a piece of paper, framed and hanging on the wall. It must become part
and parcel of our everyday culture. The word that best captures our aspirations is
transformation. Transformation means new behaviors in old contexts. Our quest
for personal and community transformation has led the Ministry Service Center
to establish a four-dimensional culture of workplace spirituality.
•Pray and Reflect: Our associates begin each day with a morning reflection that
centers us on core values, publicly share prayer concerns, tackle life’s most
significant questions in weekly gatherings like TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday),
and join in seasonal worship events.
• Learn and Grow: All our employees, within their first year, are expected to attend an all-day team-building retreat; a course on living a values-based life; and “Poverty 101,” a comprehensive presentation on how to understand and break the cycles of poverty in our communities.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
volunteer during a mission activity for
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
are and Support: It’s our aim that our associates “bring their whole selves to
work” every day. We recognize that we are much more likely to achieve our
business goals if we acknowledge the fullness of what it means to be human.
On a daily basis our Mission Director is available for counseling, encouragement,
and spiritual direction.
Local Mission Work
The transformation that we seek has to begin within our own lives. But it cannot
end at our personal workspaces. We cannot, in other words, be cul-de-sacs or “end
users” of the grace that God generously shares with us. A healthy culture must be
outward-focused. That’s why the fourth dimension of the Ministry Service Center’s
workplace spirituality is Serve and Engage.
Each of our associates is given a gift each month: three paid Mission In Action hours.
Associates are urged to use their MIA hours to live out the “most core of our core
values,” Service of the Poor. We have established official partnerships with 14 local
ministries and programs. Individuals, small groups, and sometimes entire teams go
into the streets and neighborhoods of Central Indiana to serve people who, for one
reason or another, have found themselves on the margins of life.
Forty associates in the Ministry Service Center, or approximately 5% of our work
force, serve either as liaisons to our 14 Mission Partners or as Mission Captains
for their own departments. Mission Captains advocate upcoming opportunities for
15,000 items
donated to local
food pantry
volunteer service, thereby encouraging their coworkers to seek new ways to
connect with others.
Our goal is transformation. By God’s grace we hope to experience healed and
changed lives so we can help be agents of change and healing in our broken world.
700+ letters
written to our
armed forces
1,600 meals
served to the poor
10,000 hours
of volunteer service
and distributed
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Our Approach to Performance
Continues to Adapt
Performance at the Ascension Ministry Service Center is a partnership among many
partners including the Symphony team, Ascension policymakers, and health ministries
across the country. Internally, the Ministry Service Center measures its performance by
creating targets in all areas of operations and monitoring them monthly. Those targets
include time, quality, and cost considerations.
“We adopted an approach that manufacturers use and adapted it to shared services,”
said Christine Beard, Senior Director of Operations Support.
In fact, the approach is so unique that the Ascension Ministry Service Center has been
awarded an innovation award from the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network.
The methodology involves breaking down the key activities into sub-components and
performing time studies on each piece to develop a labor productivity model for the
entire service. And while continuous improvement has been a part of the culture at
the Ministry Service Center from day one, the approach continues to adapt.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
“We adopted an approach that
“Automation is another tool in our continuous improvement tool belt,” said Brent
La Roche, Manager of Process Excellence. “We don’t assume automation. We go
after waste first and then automate. If you don’t lean before you automate, you
manufacturers use and adapted
it to shared services.”
- Christine Beard
now have automated waste.”
According to La Roche, the Ministry Service Center is using automation to augment
the role of the human in the process, not remove the human. “ We examine the endto-end process and look for automation opportunities,“ said La Roche. Business
Change Management is another key element of the performance culture at the
Ministry Service Center.
“It’s been around from the very beginning of the Ministry Service Center, but only
recently has it been fully integrated into our culture,” said Patrick Johnson, Senior
Manager. According to Johnson, the Business Change Management process at the
Ministry Service Center serves as a protective force. The BCM process serves as
an awareness tool and provides leaders across the organization an opportunity to
weigh in on any potential changes that might have downstream impacts.
“It protects our associates and our service lines from unintended consequences
of a system change,” he said.
Moving forward, the Ministry Service Center anticipates that it will formally adopt
measures related to Customer Experience as part of its overall performance
measurement program. The Contact Center has already begun work in this area
and the entire Ministry Service Center plans to adopt customer-experience
measures moving forward.
volume increase,
no added cost
Kaizen savings
cut 1.3 million
minutes saving
FY 16–
savings at
Under budget
by $5.9 million
over $1 million
in transaction
savings to date
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Client Account Managers Are Key
One Ascension Collaborators
Trusted partnership between Ascension Ministry-Wide Function teams, health
Carol Reinken (right), Client Account Manager
ministries, and the Ministry Service Center has been fundamental to the success
for the Indiana and Tennessee Ministry Market,
of the One Ascension transformation. The imbedded account managers have
been instrumental in supporting the needs of health ministry leaders and
associates as we experience the One Ascension journey together.
The Client Account Management (CAM) team was created in direct response to
the support needs of Symphony deployed health ministries. Health ministry
leaders would express issues they experienced with the services supported by
the Ministry Service Center to their Client Account Manager, who would seek a
solution within the Ministry Service Center or appropriate Ascension organization.
In many ways, the CAM team has been the voice of the Ascension associate
during the deployment of Symphony across the organization and they continue
to provide that same level of support throughout the transformation to One
Ascension. “In the last four years since its launch, Client Account Management
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
worked with Aaron Caudle (middle) at St. Vincent
Indianapolis on a project to help operationalize the
Healthy Indiana Plan. Also shown is Tom Deuschle,
Director of Client Account Management.
has grown from simply individual incident management, to a formalized
proactive approach to meeting health ministry needs before an issue arises,”
said Tom Deuschle, Director of Client Account Management.
During the past year, the CAM team has continued to operate as a key interface
when local health ministry activity, such as acquisitions or large associate transfers,
requires additional support in order to ensure the successful delivery of Ministry
Service Center services. The CAM team is responsible for engaging the Ministry
Service Center Project Management team in order to provide assistance in
driving successful transitions. The two teams are working together to implement
a strategy to mature project management capabilities and thus better serve our
health ministries and associates during significant change.
The CAM team is also working closely with the Ascension HR Operations and
Technology team and the Ministry Service Center’s new Customer Experience
team to ensure the associate feedback they receive leads to a better overall
associate experience.
“While partnering with Ascension’s newly formed HR Operations team, Ministry
Service Center Client Account Managers will be able to provide our Customer
Experience team with the needs and wants of health ministry associates, so that
the Ministry Service Center can continue to optimize services that meet the needs
of our clients while providing a positive associate experience,” said Deuschle.
“In the last four years since its launch,
Client Account Management
has grown from simply individual
incident management, to a
formalized proactive approach
to meeting health ministry needs
before an issue arises.”
—Tom Deuschle
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Our New Focus:
Improving the Associate Experience
Five years ago, when the Ascension Ministry Service Center went live, the goals
were very clear. Create a service center to provide Ascension associates with a
set of services that meet financial and quality targets as part of a broader
transformation initiative.
In the first year, the basic service machine was up and running, fulfilling associate
service requests. Next, teams engaged in continuous improvement efforts began
to tackle the issues of transaction volume, velocity, and quality. Asking how many
transactions can we complete? How fast and at what quality level?
“Continuous improvement has been in our DNA from day one,” said Charlie Bell,
Director of Operations Delivery. “But, process improvement tends to focus on the
machine. How is the process working and can we make it better? Today, we are ready
to ask better questions on behalf of Ascension associates and bring another lens
to process improvement.”
1220 2016
“We have a track record of continuous That lens, according to Bell, is the practice of Customer Experience Management.
Customer Experience is defined as the entire interaction that an Ascension
associate has with the Ministry Service Center. It includes their frame of mind,
complete journey, and even the emotions they experience on the customer journey.
improvement and listening to
associates. But this will amplify the voice of the associate in the
process improvement.”
- Charlie Bell
“We have a track record of continuous improvement and listening to associates.
But this will amplify the voice of the associate in the process improvement.”
According to Bell, the Ministry Service Center is in the early stages of integrating the
practice of Customer Experience into its culture and continuous improvement efforts.
“We are really excited about being able to facilitate the Ascension Mission by
creating experiences and a work environment that meets the needs of our
associates in a meaningful context.”
55% reduction in
repeat contact
78% first contact
resolution within
24 hours
27 ministries
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Project Management Office Key Projects FY 16
Symphony Release 7 Deployment
Chilton County Hospital Expansion
St. Thomas Acquisitions
Digital Commerce Technology Implementation
Human Resources Benefits Optimization
Interactive Voice Recognition Chat Pilot
Document Imaging Technology Implementation
Ascension Benefits Open Enrollment
Ascension Medical Group - Virtual Company Reporting
Proscheduler - Loxysoft - Workforce Management Solution
40 automation
Cash Centralization
Ascension Business Continuity Planning
Service Organization Control Program
Mass Communications Service
16 Major Associate Moves
HR Ops & Tech Services Delivery Optimization
106 total
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
51 operations
“By the beginning of next year, we are Project Profile:
Tool Enables Targeted Communications
As Ascension has grown so has its challenges related to communicating with
associates across the enterprise. Not only must Ascension reach all of its associates
planning to release this to every
deployed health ministry. That’s
going to be a huge leap forward for
Ascension’s internal communications.”
— Charlie Bell
quickly, but it needs the ability to pinpoint specific groups or types of associates
for targeted communications.
“Our clinical leaders were early advocates for a tool that could reach targeted
audiences across the enterprise,” said Nick Ragone, Senior Vice President, Chief
Marketing and Communications Officer, Ascension. “Targeting specific associates
by role, job code, or function is essential to providing strategic communications on
a daily basis and in the event of an emergency.”
The Ministry Service Center has led a collaborative project to stand up a robust
communications tool that could meet the unique needs of Ascension and its health
ministries. Ascension Information Services and the Ascension Marketing and
Communications team have played key roles.
“We’re moving Ascension away from the manual maintenance of spreadsheets and
Outlook distribution lists, to a system that allows our health ministries to pull live
data,” said Trudy Hopkins, Project Manager, Ministry Service Center.
The project involved the selection of a software tool, the creation of data feeds by
Ascension Information Services, the development of policies, and the creation of a
service team at the Ministry Service Center.
After an extensive software search, the IBM Marketing Cloud was selected. It allows
Ascension’s communicators to create graphic-rich emails, find the exact associates
to send to, and track the results of the work in real time. Eventually all of Ascension’s
communications teams – from the health ministry to the system level – will use the
same internal communications system.
The Ministry Service Center and St. Vincent Indiana were the first health ministries
to adopt the software service. Additionally, Ascension Benefits, Payroll, and Travel
Services are also using the service.
“We are about to launch our Beta release, which will include St. Mary’s Evansville,
Indiana; the Ascension Medical Group; and St. Thomas in Nashville, Tennessee,” said
Charlie Bell, Director, Operations Delivery. “By the beginning of next year, we are
planning to release this to every deployed health ministry. That’s going to be a
huge leap forward for Ascension’s internal communications.”
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Project Profile:
St. Thomas— Four-Hospital Acquisition
Managing a four-hospital acquisition for St. Thomas, Nashville, was a key project in
Fiscal Year 16. The acquisitions included the transfer of about 1,000 associates.
“For this project, we transitioned the associates and changed their supply chain and
finance configurations due to the acquisition,” said David Francis, Ministry Service
Center Project Manager. “The St. Thomas, Ministry Service Center, and Symphony
teams worked well together, which was very helpful when you have hundreds of
tasks to track and complete.”
Key objectives of the initiative included:
• Verification and configuration of company codes and business units
• Transition associates to the new business units
• Transition supply chain and finance for all associates
• Transition and audit associate benefits and payroll
According to Francis, the Ministry Service Center’s role as Ascension shared
service provider has positioned it with the organizational knowledge and insight
to be an effective leader of enterprise projects. The Ministry Service Center
Project Management Office continues to expand its portfolio of projects to
include mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures in addition to operational and
strategic projects.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Benefits Optimization Efforts
Gaining Momentum
Improving the associate experience was a key focus for the Ministry Service Center over
the past year. Teams partnered with Ascension Human Resources leadership to initiate
the optimization of HR service delivery and the Customer Experience. The work included
immediate fixes to the benefits experience as well as the development of a long-term
strategy for delivering human resources across the enterprise. The immediate
improvements to the associate’s experience with benefits included:
• Finding new ways to resolve associates’ issues within one contact
• Implementing new process automation technology
• Improving the Benefits Open Enrollment experience through enhanced
project management and planning
Behind the scenes and less noticeable to associates, Ministry Service Center teams have been
busy automating parts of HR service delivery. Because much of the work of a shared service
organization is manual, all processes are being evaluated for opportunities to automate.
Our increasingly digital world combined with newer automation software is enabling these
process automations, which are improving the quality, cost, and experience of transactions.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
For example, the Center processes approximately 80,000 licensure records
each year, and new software has automated part of that process, saving time
and increasing the quality of the transaction.
The most impactful initiative of the year was the kickoff of the human resources
delivery redesign. That project is designed to improve the associate experience
through policy administration, technology, data, and service delivery optimization.
“With the initial Symphony transformation complete and Ascension governance
being stood up at the enterprise level, we’re experiencing all new levels of strategic
alignment,” said Tony Nebesny, Senior Director, Hire to Retire, Ministry Service Center.
Some of the big issues that the project is tackling include:
• How can we improve HR service delivery?
• What organization or professional should own what HR service?
• What technology shall we use?
• What should the long-term strategy include?
Some of the long-term tactical outputs that are being considered include:
• Enhancements to HR portal technology
• New knowledge management and case management capabilities
• New communication channels – such as chat and mobile applications
• Changes to PeopleSoft and adding new HR technologies
benefits events
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Digitization Is Transforming
the Back-Office Experience
Whether it’s ordering an e-book, downloading music, or exploring other website
content, we’ve all become accustom to digital experiences that are designed to delight.
A second wave of digital experience transformation is now taking place within
businesses, like the Ministry Service Center, that provide back-office services.
“It’s a digital age and the opportunities for us are astounding,” said Scott Etheredge,
Senior Director, Procure to Pay at the Ministry Service Center. “The work of back-office
providers has traditionally resulted in a significant amount of manual transactions.”
A multi-year digitization project that launched just after the Ministry Service Center
was created has hit key milestones this past year with more coming in FY 17. New
technologies including smart optical character recognition, complementary tools for
our electronic data interface exchange, and an electronic payments platform
will enable digital commerce, such as electronic invoicing, vendor self-service, and
real-time electronic visibility into orders, order acknowledgments and shipping
notices, with Ascension suppliers.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
“Instead of spending time on manual Not only does digitization return immediate benefits in the form of improved
transactional quality and speed, but it provides a new foundation upon which new
automation software can be layered.
and somewhat repetitive processes, our associates will dedicate their days working to achieve a higher level of care and improving the experience for “A digital work environment provides more opportunities for us to build automation
our customers.”
on top of our systems and processes,” said Etheredge.
—Scott Etheredge
An increase in electronic transactions and automation means that providers, such
as the Ministry Service Center, can spend more time on work that requires human
analysis. This in turn means a better experience for the customer and more work
satisfaction for the associate.
“Instead of spending time on manual and somewhat repetitive processes, our
associates will dedicate their days working to achieve a higher level of care and
improving the experience for our customers,” he commented.
“The work of back-office providers
has traditionally resulted in a
significant amount of manual
—Scott Etheredge
is the process
of converting
information into a
digital format
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Outlook FY 17: New Levels of Alignment,
Capability, and Stability
We have so many exciting things coming in the next year, but I will start by sharing
that FY 17 will be a major deployment year with Release 8 and 9.
Our ability to accelerate the transformation to One Ascension is dramatically improved
by having Global Process Owners in place for all of our delivery towers. We are working
with each of them to develop shared goals. We also now have a place to go for policy,
process, and service-related decisions and issues. We are laying out strategic plans
with each to align with the objectives of our Ministry Wide Function Clients.
Experience, Experience, Experience
Of all of our strategic platforms, this is chief among them. We have already begun to roll
out our Customer Experience (CX) program in earnest. This is already starting to move
the needle. We are changing the way we deliver service to do everything possible to
fulfill each person’s need on the first contact. This means either the first person you talk
to is capable of handling your need or they get another person on the line right then and
there who can.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
We are working with our Global Process Owners and our technology partners
to deliver a prioritized list of fixes and enhancements that will, in some cases,
dramatically reduce or eliminate work that goes back to the ministries or work
that we have to do. We will have new channels available such as chat and a mobile
app to give people easy ways to interact with us.
Our Procure to Pay Digitization program will deliver new capability to our health
ministries with e-forms replacing manual paper forms and electronic notification
of the status of supply orders. Our electronic exchange and electronic payment
platforms will provide new rich sources of information while they take cost out
and improve reliability.
Our Blackline software implementation in Record to Report will provide a
new paradigm of automated and collaboration capability for financial close,
reconciliations, and control work.
Overall, our automation program continues to expand with several new tools
being introduced that enable what is called “assistive automation.” This is
automation that a person uses to complete tens to hundreds of small tasks
that they would ordinarily do manually.
We are replacing all telephone-related technology. Our gear today is old and
is not upgradeable to do the things that you all have come to expect.
We are also moving more things to and to mobile devices.
This year’s Benefits Open Enrollment is portal-driven and mobile-enabled.
Focus on our People
Finally, we are rolling out a whole new program to leverage the input we get from
myVoice and expand programs in response to what our folks are telling us. We
will start our third year of leadership and management development as well. All
aimed at ensuring we have a vibrant culture securely anchored in the identity and
values of Ascension.
Lee Coulter
Chief Executive Officer, Ministry Service Center
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Thank You
for taking time to learn more about the Ascension Ministry Service Center
and our role in helping you deliver compassionate, personalized care to all
with special attention to persons living in poverty and struggling.
One Mission. One Integrated Ministry. One Ascension.
2016 Ascension Ministry Service Center
Ascension Ministry Service Center
4040 Vincennes Circle
Indianapolis, IN 46268
Community Initiative - RCCG Cornerstone Worship Center
Community Initiative - RCCG Cornerstone Worship Center