Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Submitted by Lance Billard, director, Enterprise Portfolio Management Office (EPMO), VCCS

This summer, my family is going to Maine for our vacation. We thought about going to Disney World, or possibly to Montreal, but we settled on a trip to Maine. We couldn’t go to all three. Why? We have limited resources – money and time.

Just as families have to make these difficult decisions, every organization struggles with where to spend their limited time and money. Within our organization, who makes these decisions? The VCCS Enterprise Portfolio Investment Council (EPIC).

EPIC members are listed below:

John Capps President, Central Virginia Community College
John Downey  (chair)

President, Blue Ridge Community College

Pat Huber

President, New River Community College

Sharon Morrissey Vice Chancellor, Academic Services & Research
Scott Ralls

President, Northern Virginia Community College

Gary L. Rhodes

President, Reynolds Community College

Donna van Cleave

Vice Chancellor, Administrative Services

In 2015, the chancellor appointed EPIC to evaluate projects with a system-wide perspective. For large investments (e.g., costing more than $1 million, projects affecting multiple colleges), EPIC is charged with ensuring the right human and financial resources are directed toward those systemwide projects that will give us the greatest value.

The first step begins with ideas – innovative and inspiring changes that will drive value to our colleges and help us achieve our common objectives (e.g., the chancellor’s objectives). These ideas are presented to EPIC in the form of value propositions that highlight the benefit of the idea (why we want to make the change) and how much it will cost. Although there are many good ideas, we must invest our limited resources in the best ideas.

The next step is to figure out how we will make the change. This is a much more detailed assessment of the proposed solution, including vendor solicitation, requirements definition, scope and sizing analysis, and an estimate of internal VCCS effort needed to accomplish the goals of the project. This information is captured in the proposal with Cost-Benefit Analysis, which is presented to EPIC for review and approval.

At this point, the idea becomes an active project, with money and human resources set aside to complete the project. As an oversight committee, EPIC continues to monitor the progress of projects throughout their lifecycle and beyond.

Since its formation, EPIC has reviewed and approved numerous projects that help applicants, enable advising services for students, schedule courses, and help them graduate faster, including:

Credits2Careers (C2C): Launched in November, the C2C veterans portal, which helps military veterans turn their real-life military experience into VCCS college course credits, became a reality through support and direction from EPIC.

VCCS Admissions Application: This web-based system is designed to increase the number of students who complete an application and ultimately enroll in a VCCS college. The new Customer Relationship Management features will allow colleges to communicate directly with prospective students at any time during the pre-enrollment activities.

Library System: A modern, scalable enterprise system that will facilitate management of all library assets and provide compatibility with next-generation library systems used at partner institutions statewide. This system will also provide web-based access to electronic content – accounting for at least 60% of VCCS’s library collections.

For a complete list of EPIC portfolio projects, click here.

What’s next? EPIC is currently overseeing 12 active and upcoming projects that will impact all of our colleges in some manner. EPIC’s goal is to ensure these projects are completed in a timely manner and bring value to our colleges so they can better serve our students and communities.

If you want more information about the Enterprise Portfolio Investment Council (EPIC) or its projects, please email'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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