As part of an effort to maximize administrative efficiency and save $30 million annually, the University of California hopes to consolidate its 11 payroll systems into one centralized entity.

The Payroll Personnel System replacement project will be implemented over a four-year period and allow the UC to pay its 180,000 employees from a single payroll system. The project aims to streamline the payroll process and save the university money that could be reallocated to its academic and research programs.

The PPS replacement program is part of a system-wide initiative to maximize budget allocation efficiency. The project aims to save half a billion dollars as well as elevate the UC’s business practices to match its quality of research and education.

Leslie Sepuka], UC Office of the President Media Representative, said the initiative aims to improve UC business practices.

“The Payroll Personnel Program is part of the overall efficiencies, part of our Working Smarter Initiative and our administrations efficiency program,” Sepuka said. “All of this will save the University $500 million annually. There are many parts to this and a lot of the work has just begun.”

The targeted departments include payroll, timekeeping and human resources.

Anthony Lo, UCOP PPS Replacement Project Director, said the project will address the technical shortfalls of the current system.

“Because it is almost 30 years old, PPS does not meet the technology platform and architecture requirements for the evolving needs of the University of California,” Lo said. “There is also a tremendous amount of redundancy having to update and maintain 11 different instances of the system.”

According to Tricia Hiemstra, UCSB’s Human Resources Dept. interim director, the UC’s antiquated payroll system varies by campus.

“Each campus has slightly different payroll systems. For instance ours is done through the Office of the President and at UCLA it is done on campus,” Hiemstra said. “In my view consolidating this would be a step in the right direction.”

Updating the technology will also allow checks to be processed more efficiently and payroll information to be available in one place online.

Lo said the project has changed drastically since its nascent stages.

“The initial discovery and analysis phases are nearing completion and the project is now moving into pre-implementation planning,” Lo said. “The University anticipates that implementation activities will begin in July 2011 and implementation of all phases at all campuses and medical centers will be complete in four years.”

The effort is also projected to increase payroll transparency. Hiemstra said she considers the program an effective strategy for saving money and maximizing accessibility.

“It is a very good idea to have all of the 10 UC campuses on a single instance of payroll,” Hiemstra said. “From my perspective it would create some standardization and efficiencies to get standard reporting and payroll information across the system.”