The PEAK Initiative

PEAK (Positioned for ExcellenceAlignment and Knowledge) is a systemwide strategic initiative that supports MPact 2025 by transforming how we administer critical services across Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Marketing & Communications for consistent delivery and equitable support to every campus, college and unit of the University. 

Through PEAK the University will create opportunities for our people by offering career growth, improving consistency and capability of services, and reducing associated risks and costs for the University while keeping pace with leading peer institutions.

  • People: Provide opportunities for growth and specialization within newly created functional teams and scale service to support flexibility, enhance work and life balance, and remove bottlenecks. 
  • Partners: Create equitable coverage, consistent processes, and improved capabilities for core Human Resources, Finance, and Marketing & Communications services regardless of the size of the campus, college, or unit. 
  • University: Reduce compliance risk through consistency, reliability and responsiveness. Address budgetary pressure caused by enrollment demographic changes, fluctuations in public funding, or rising costs. 

Learn more about why the University is implementing these changes. 


Working together better
people working with a laptop and project board together

What is Changing?

PEAK is a transformation that changes how the University will conduct some Finance, HR, IT, and Marketing Communications services by moving work being done today within each academic and administrative unit across the system into a central service model focused on specialization in these service areas. 

Organizing teams around expertise creates opportunities for meaningful career growth for employees, while also creating more equitable coverage across our University system with consistent application of best practices and policies. This new service model creates a scalable base of operations that can adapt to the needs of the University to ensure business always happens, and continues to get better over time. 

As work moves centrally there will be opportunity for academic and administrative units to refocus resources on their strategic priorities. 

Today, many University employees are in positions where they conduct a wide variety of service-related tasks, ranging from purchasing to workforce data entry to answering questions regarding benefits to name a few. We are gradually transitioning away from this model locally and creating central teams where employees can collaborate with others in their field, support each other's work, and grow in a new career path.

These central teams include:

Finance Operations Center: Purchasing, accounts payable, accounts receivable/billing, payroll accounting, and general ledger accounting work

Human Resources includes the Operations Center (workforce data management, leave of absence, and staffing operations), and Talent Acquisition (full-cycle recruitment support and background checks) 

By enhancing collaboration and accountabilities between the Office of Information Technology and local IT leadership, systemwide IT will continue to expand upon its existing model of integrated, collaborative, non-competitive service delivery  

Common Good Services: Digital communications, creative services, account services, and measurement and analytics

What can I expect?

Following a multi-year effort of deep analysis and design work in collaboration with faculty, staff and graduate student input, the PEAK Initiative is now working through Implementation. The PEAK Project Office is partnering with each of the University’s campus, college, and administrative units to work through the stages of implementation. The University’s 40+ academic and administrative units are spread across four phases to better partner and support each unit through the transition. 

Learn more about the PEAK Implementation process

FinOps all staff event
FinOps all staff event, 2024

New Opportunities

As Finance, HR, and Marcom work moves from units to central teams, employees who are currently doing that work today will likely see some change to their roles.

People who join these teams will share their knowledge of local needs and work every day with people on campuses, in colleges, and departments across the University system. All of the people who provide support services, whether they are in a shared service area or remain in a department, help deliver on our collective promises to UMN students, sponsors, and to the broader communities we serve. 

The roles created in the operations centers and common good services teams are designed to provide meaningful service and support on a variety of critical processes at the U, while also being opportunities to develop skills through training and a community of practice or team around them. In practice this means there is opportunity for continued development and advancement in an area of interest and more collaboration and support from other central team members - built in coverage for taking time away.

In IT, virtual teams provide development opportunities for technologists systemwide to work collaboratively on priority projects.  

Learn more about the transition of work and the opportunities with PEAK