The Common Solutions inventory is part of a broader strategy to support academic units and to encourage collaboration among departments across campus. If you use a tool you think other campus units would find useful, or if you have an idea for a much-needed tool, template, or best practice, please fill out this brief form or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For an overview of the inventory, please see below.
“The 4 Cs” The inventory was developed with four main objectives in mind:
Compile -- The inventory provides a single point of access into a variety of tools, regardless of the type of tools, their owners, or the processes they are designed to support.
Contribute -- The inventory makes it easy for academic staff on campus to offer up a tool they’ve used successfully in their department that could prove useful to colleagues in other departments.
Consult -- The tools are available on an optional basis to anyone interested in finding out who has already found a peer-tested solution to a common business process or problem.
Collaborate -- The inventory is an opportunity to showcase creative solutions but also to facilitate new partnerships among academic units and with administrative units.
What is a Common Solutions tool?
The Common Solutions Inventory is home to a broad variety of tools -- from Excel spreadsheets with built-in macros and report-generating capabilities to new modules developed as companion pieces to an enterprise system, or a new software program built to address an unmet need.
To be considered a Common Solution, a tool must meet four major criteria:
Utility to other academic units;
User-friendliness and shareability and/or scalability;
Availability of user support; and
Compliance with policies and regulations, when relevant (e.g., AP regulations, data security/privacy).
Contributing a tool
Contributions should be made by the owner of the tool, or in close collaboration with the owner. For our purposes, an owner is defined as the home department that developed and maintains the tool.
Looking for a tool?
Vetting, adopting, and maintaining tools
To ensure the tools are ready for broader adoption and to comply with campus policies and regulations, the Common Solutions Team meets at least once a quarter, or more often as needed, to review new submissions to the inventory. The Team coordinates with the home department to obtain any missing information and answers to questions that may surface during this process.
The Common Solutions Team is also responsible for consulting all appropriate groups, including campus functional owners. For example, the Academic Personnel Office is consulted to ensure AP tools are consistent with policies Berkeley must follow for merit and promotion, faculty hiring, etc. Similarly the Office of the Chief Financial Officer is consulted for finance tools, and Information Services & Technology will be asked to review certain tools for security, privacy, viruses, malware, etc. in advance of offering up the tools to a broad range of academic units.
Once approved, each tool is featured in the Common Solutions Inventory in an at-a-glance summary with key characteristics, including: tool name, description, owner, application, target audience, contact information, notes, and/or links to available support and training materials. Whenever possible, support and training materials are included in close coordination with theowner of the tool, taking into consideration the potential broader range of users and expanded future capabilities.
Once a tool or set of tools is added to the inventory, the Common Solutions Team will initiate a series of communications to raise awareness about the tool(s). The Team will work with the home department and the campus functional owner to ensure word gets out about what the tool is and who might benefit from using it. Whenever possible, the campus functional owners will take the lead on these communications. They will be encouraged to insert a news item in their existing email newsletters, quarterly meetings with academic staff, websites, and other communication venues. In addition, the Team will arrange for a news item to be posted on the Common Solutions website and for key campus groups (Chief Administrative Officers, managers, etc.) to be briefed periodically about new additions to the inventory.Eacy year, to ensure the usefulness and accuracy of all entries in the inventory, the Common Solutions Team coordinates a review/refresh/sunset process annually, in close collaboration with the owners of existing solutions.