University of Illinois System

System Offices Shared Services

All System Office units can leverage a set of business professional services made available through the Chief Financial Officer. Business/Finance Solutions, Instructional Design, Ability LMS Support, Online Conferences and Events, Change Management, Communications, and Project Management are all services now being offered and provide the following benefits:

  • Staff experienced in and/or professionally certified in areas outside of the unit's areas of expertise
  • Staff coming from a resilient team with an established support structure
  • A set of methodologies and processes that have been tested and proven in the university environment

Details and contact information are provided below and all services are made available as resources allow. For questions about our services, please email us at or call Karen Mayberry McFarlin, Director of System Offices Shared Services, at (217) 333-5713.

Ability LMS Support

Learning Systems Support assists all users of the Ability LMS system by offering technical support and responding to questions and inquiries about system functionality and training content. We also offer support to trainers and instructors who use Ability LMS to deliver training, which includes adding and updating courses, scheduling live training sessions, and providing technical support.

  • User Support
    All users may submit a support request to us at any time during normal business hours to obtain assistance using Ability LMS or to address errors and other issues. All requests will receive a response within one business day and many requests are resolved within the same day they are submitted.
  • Adding Courses to Ability LMS
    Web-based and instructor-led training courses are created by the SOSS Instructional Design team for System Offices customers or created by the customers themselves if based outside of the System Offices. Learning Systems Support loads and tests these courses in Ability LMS and creates any post-course activities, such as assessments and surveys. Please contact us four weeks prior to your desired launch date for new courses.
  • Updating Existing Courses
    Basic updates, such as course descriptions, start times, course duration, and user access, should be requested at least one business day in advance. Updates to web-based and instructor-led courses may require assistance from the Instructional Design team for System Office customers or a university-specific training specialist. Please contact us at least two weeks in advance for such requests.
  • Elevated Access Requests
    Any university employee may request elevated access to Ability LMS if they have defined training responsibilities. We offer a set of elevated access profiles that range from basic reporting access to the full creation and administration of online training. Please contact us one week in advance for all access requests, as there are training requirements that will need to be completed before access can be established.



The Accessibility Services at SOSS aids units in identifying and correcting accessibility issues, so that any unintended barriers preventing access or understanding can be removed. We also offer consultation to assess accessibility concerns on projects and to provide education on accessibility issues and their resolutions.

As a state institution, we are required to make all public digital content (websites, trainings, reports, etc.) accessible to people with disabilities. For example, all text, images, and other elements need to be read accurately and in the correct order by assistive technology such as screen readers. Similarly, video and audio elements need captions or transcripts for deaf and hard of hearing people. Feel free to reach out to us if you'd like us to review your content, consult with you on how to produce your content accessibly or enhance accessibility on your communications, websites, trainings or any other deliverables.


Budget and Finance

Operations support assists System Offices units by entering the department’s budget into Banner, processing JVs, automating, and customizing monthly reports, assistance with closing orgs, and providing detailed monthly statement reconciliation services.

  • Budget
    Operation support reviews an organization’s prior years spend and recommends allocations for the next fiscal year. This includes entering and posting budget allocations into the Banner budget tool. Operations Support acts as a liaison with UAFR to ensure the unit’s budget entry is complete.
  • Journal Vouchers
    We process transactions in Banner using the Journal Voucher function and provide confirmation that the transaction is complete.
  • Reconciliation
    We provide Financial Activity Reporting upon request or as scheduled. Recommended reports include:
    • Revenue/Expense Transactions
    • Revenue/Expense Detail Statement
    • Payroll Expense by Person Month End
    • Payroll Encumbrance by Person Month End
    • Please contact us at any time for assistance.


Business Continuity

Operations Support assists System Offices units to ensure accurate, comprehensive, and up to date business continuity plans are on file.

  • Business Continuity Planning
    The operations team supports the governance and structures necessary to execute plans effectively and efficiently to ensure key business processes continue uninterrupted. This includes delivering training to BCP Unit Liaisons and others as needed. Operations Supports assists System Offices in managing, updating, and creating business continuity plans in Kuali Ready tools software. Please contact us at any time for assistance.


Card Services

Operations Support operates as a Department Card Manager for System Offices customers.

  • Department Card Manager Responsibilities
    The operations support team is responsible for supervising, administering, and monitoring the card programs for assigned business unit(s), including but not limited to:
    • Auditing transactions and addressing non-compliant card activity
    • Verifying signatures and approval authority level(s) on the P-Card and T-Card Authorizations/Agreement and Application Information forms and the P-Card and T-Card Exception Request forms, before each is submitted to UPAY Card Services for processing
    • Submitting the electronic applications for the P-Card and T-Card to UPAY Card Services using the P-Card Web Solution (P-Card Software) or T-Card Solution (TCS)
    • Using TCS or P-Card Software to submit modifications to existing Cardholder profiles and limits
    • Notifying UPAY Card Services, collecting cards, and ensuring outstanding transactions are reconciled for employees who:
      • Leave their unit or the University
      • No longer need a card


Change Management

We deliver project-based training, communications, resistance management, coaching, and sponsorship management services to support system office initiatives. These services provide the necessary support for staff to grow, adapt to change, and reach excellence in achieving the University of Illinois System’s mission.



The Communications and Change Management team provides professional solutions to meet and overcome customer challenges. Our team tailors and distributes strategic communications through multiple channels, including the Business and Finance News Service, to help you reach your audience. Our communications service also includes graphic design and videography.

  • Copywriting
    The Communications team works directly with customers to craft communications to their unique specifications. Copywriting includes: writing, editing, proofing, routing and sharing communications through a variety of channels and sending to different distribution lists.
  • Communication distribution
    We create custom distribution lists (based on customer metrics) for distributing messages to a variety of audiences, large or small. These messages reach a variety of audiences through multiple distribution channels including: Deans, Directors and Department Heads (DDDHs), Business Managers Groups (BMGs), Webtools, Business & Finance News (B&F News). We also work with customers to send out communications through client-owned department channels.
  • Project-based communications
    Communications for projects can be extensive depending on the project. The Communications team collaborates with the customer to design a unique communication strategy to meet their project needs. We work on both large and small projects and can handle everything from consulting with customers on their project needs to designing, implementing and executing the communication plan.
  • Graphical design
    The Communications team takes the lead on the graphic element of a communication. We strive to make communications accessible, visually appealing, and easily understood. To give communications that something extra, we can take customers’ content and create eye catching visuals and accessible documents, including: reports, newsletters, power point presentations, brochures, interactive graphics, and project-based or event-based fliers through the use of Adobe Creative Cloud products.
  • Web Content Management
    The Communications team helps with administering Content Management Systems (CMS), managing customer-owned content, performing content change requests, webpage redesign requests, website design, web development, html, JavaScript and JQuerry content implementation, administering web files on variety of servers, and maintaining documents. We also consult on new projects, assisting and performing website design proposals, developing and publishing new, design-based websites, ensuring web content is accessible in accordance with WCAG standards.


Instructional Design

Instructional Designers (IDs) work with System Offices units to create accessible training deliverables, including job aids, participant guides, webinars, videos, and stand-alone web-based training. IDs work with experts to design training adhering to learning principles while determining the audiences, overall objectives, and deadlines. IDs perform all steps of the instructional design process to help analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate training, including adding accessible enhancements.

  • Job aids are documents that capture the steps to complete a specific task. We usually schedule time with our customers to show us the task, document steps, and apply our System Training formatting. Typically, the amount of time to create a job aid on one basic task is not lengthy. Please contact us about a week in advance for assistance.
  • Participant Guides are companion documents that usually accompany live training, either online or face-to-face. In addition to including step-by-step instructions and policy explanations, participant guides often include best practices, simulations, and case study examples. We also will assist with additional materials to accompany the participant guide including PowerPoints or job aids. The amount of time needed depends on the length of the topic. Please contact us about a month in advance for assistance.
  • Webinars typically involve a live session where a facilitator displays a PowerPoint or simulation of an application and answers questions live. We can assist with all components of creating a successful webinar including development of a script, PowerPoint, pre-recorded video, and rehearsal. Please contact us at least five weeks in advance for assistance.
  • Videos are stand-alone recordings with closed captioning that usually involve a facilitator discussing a system or explaining a process. We assist with creating the script, PowerPoint, and recording of screens and audio. Depending on the length and complexity of your request, we ask that you contact us six weeks or more in advance for assistance.
  • Web-based Training are asynchronous, stand-alone courses that are required to gain access to a system, certification, pre-requisite to another required course, or required for certification. The time needed to create a web-based training is lengthy due to the complexity of the software used and may take a few months or longer to complete. Please contact us as soon as possible for more information.
  • Updates to existing training materials – We in SOSS also update existing training materials. The length of time to update existing materials depends on the complexity of the update requested. Please contact us as soon as possible when requesting updates.


Event Planning

Operations Support assists System Offices with reserving spaces, arranging catering, and providing pre/post administrative event assistance for events. This unit will assist you in determining the size, scope, and needs for each event and coordinate services and support.  We provide pre-planning assistance with meetings and events and will work with you prior to the event to develop the agenda.

Event Planning Services


  • Finding conference date options
  • Assisting with invitation list and communication plan
  • Assisting with procuring items for events
  • Processing requisitions as needed
  • Researching conference location options
  • Room set-up arrangement
  • Finding equipment options for events
  • Ordering food and drinks
  • Arranging meal delivery
  • Meal payments (Pay with T-Card and JV to your CFOAPAL later)
  • Communicating with attendees about food restrictions
  • Arranging Travel and Transportation
  • Booking guest hotel rooms
  • Please contact us at least 45 days prior to your event, or as soon as an event date is established.


Inventory Services

Operations Support assists System Offices with equipment information in FABweb​ and coordinating Biennial Inventory.

  • FABWeb Support and Biennial Roles
    Operations Support assists departments with keeping fixed asset data current. We will help process new acquisitions that require a Property Tag (PTag), update existing assets with a P-Tag, transfer assets with PTags to other units, process surplus, provide fixed asset reports, and assist with biennial inventory. This includes Operations Support printing fixed asset reports from EDDIE. Also, Operations Support can assist in an advisory role during the inventory process. Please contact us at any time for assistance.


Online Conferences and Events

Learning Systems Support offers online conference and event management that includes scheduling, facilitation, planning, project management, registration management, and reporting. We can schedule and support large capacity meetings and webinars with up to 1000 attendees via Zoom and can also work with event sponsors on planning and executing multi-day online conferences.

  • Online Meetings and Events
    We schedule large-capacity meetings and events using our large meeting and webinar licenses. We will work with you prior to the event to develop the agenda and will be available the day of the event to provide facilitation and technical support services. Additionally, we can assist with the planning, facilitation, and support of smaller events, depending on availability. Regardless of event size, we provide a robust registration and reporting service pre- and post-event. Please contact us at least one week in advance. For larger events, a two-week lead time is recommended.
  • Online Conferences
    We work with you to schedule and develop an online conference space designed to meet your specific needs. This includes providing project management for conference development, assistance developing detailed and comprehensive agendas, orchestrating the execution of plenary and breakout sessions, registration management, and reporting. Please contact us four weeks in advance for assistance.
  • Hybrid Conferences and Events
    We work with you to schedule and develop a hybrid event designed to meet your specific needs. This includes providing project management and technical consulting on selecting an appropriate in-person location, as well as developing the online component. Please contact us six weeks in advance for assistance.
  • Registration Only
    In addition to comprehensive online event management services, we also offer a registration-only service. If you have a meeting, event, or conference and only require assistance setting up registration, we are happy to help. We develop fully customizable registration forms, including full reporting services. Please contact us one week prior to the launch of the registration.



Operations Support assists System Offices with purchasing and payment processing activities such as purchase order creation, invoice processing, P-Card transactions and reconciliations, Reimbursements, Create Campus Ship labels, and iBuy ordering.

  • Procurement
    Operations Support reviews order logs and receipts for accuracy and compliance, including allowability of the charge, and correct account code selection. Discrepancies, such as transactions without sufficient documentation will be brought to the unit's attention, along with recommendations to resolve the issue. Operations Support assists with the following:
    • Closing purchase orders
    • Credit card payments with P-Card or T-Card
    • iBuy Shopper and Requestor
    • P-Card Reconciling
    • Creating expense reports in Chrome River
    • Assist with expense report questions and compliance
    • Charge code reviewer function within Chrome River
    • Receiving purchase orders in Banner
    • Requisition Processing
    • Assist with updating vendor information when needed
    • Processes Journal Voucher transactions in Banner
    • Assists with travel arrangements, lodging, and transportation
    • Assists with catering needs

    Please contact us at least 45 days prior to your travel and catering needs, or as soon as possible.


Surveys and Forms

Learning Systems Support builds custom surveys that can help you gather information to inform future decisions or to evaluate the impact of a program or initiative. We will work with you through the entire lifecycle, including developing survey questions, building and administering the survey, and analyzing and reporting on survey results. We can also assist with developing and implementing web forms for the gathering and transmission of data.

  • Surveys
    We develop and deliver custom surveys designed to meet your unique needs. This includes designing effective questions, building robust and user-friendly online surveys, thorough testing, and the release and administration of the live online survey. We also offer complete reporting and analysis to help you get the most out of your survey data. Please contact us two weeks in advance for assistance.
  • Web Forms
    We build and administer online smart forms to help you receive the information you need from your customers. From the simple to the complex, we can design a web form that ensures you can successfully collect, transmit, and report on the data you need. Please contact us four weeks in advance for assistance.



Operations Support acts as Unit Security Contact (USC) to process security, telecommunications, and Pinnacle requests.

  • Security
    Operations Support serves as Unit Security Contact to process security requests. This includes submitting requests for staff to have access to files, databases, email addresses, calendars, applications, and systems.
  • Pinnacle and Telecommunication Requests
    Operations Support assists with Pinnacle and telecommunication requests. This includes assisting systems offices with submitting requests through the Pinnacle application for Microsoft Teams access. Please contact us for assistance.


Travel and Reimbursements

Operations Support aids System Offices with travel arrangements including car rental, hotel and miscellaneous reimbursements, flight reservations, food, and act as a Delegate in Chrome River.

  • Travel
    Operations Support arranges travel and books guest hotel rooms. This includes arranging flights and ground transportation such as university cars or buses. Operations support assists with adjusting or cancelling travel arrangements. Also, Operations Support assists with conference registrations. Please contact us at least 45 days prior to your trip, or as soon as a travel date is established.


SOSS Communications Team can assist System Office units and university leaders in creating short informational videos for internal audiences to aid your communication efforts, projects, programs, awards, and conferences.

For your marketing and promotional video needs aimed at external audiences, including the promotion of programs, services, or university branding, we recommend reaching out to the External Relations and Communications or Public Affairs’ Video Services Team. They can provide valuable guidance to ensure your message reaches the intended external audience effectively.

Below are guidelines for communication/informational videos:

  • Communication/Informational Video:
    • The main objective of a communication/informational video is to provide valuable information, educate, or raise awareness on a particular topic or subject.
    • The focus is on conveying the message clearly and concisely to ensure the audience understands the information being presented.
    • The content is organized logically with a clear introduction, main points, and a conclusion to maintain audience engagement.
    • Videos often utilize visual aids, such as charts, graphs, and animations, to enhance understanding and clarify complex concepts.