Achieving Success With Shared Services

Achieving Success With Shared Services

The shared-service model offers a host of business benefits, including lower cost, process innovation, improved service quality, and even harmonization of operations and culture. Why then are there so few shared-service success stories? What’s the catch, and how can CIOs avoid it?

Validate your shared-service business case

Before embarking on a shared-service undertaking, you must be convinced that this is the right service delivery model for your enterprise. Consider your other options: leaving local services as is, simple centralization, simple outsourcing and industry-wide shared services.

If shared services emerge as the best solution for you right now, confirm that you have answered the nine key questions as presented. Finally, formalize the vision for your shared-service initiative into a comprehensive business case to help justify the investment and, on an ongoing basis, review progress, benefits realization, and center upgrades or redesigns.

Consider extending shared services beyond the enterprise

Opportunities for shared services extend beyond the enterprise, often to players in the same industry with the same geographic presence. Most current examples of this are in the public and nonprofit sectors, largely because competitive pressures there typically are much lower. In any case, proceed with caution and don’t underestimate the resource commitment and management attention required for success.

As enterprises globalize, the shared-service model has become increasingly powerful as a means of balancing efficiency and control with responsiveness and innovation, improving agility, gaining scale and spreading best practices across the enterprise. In effect, CIOs will have a greater opportunity to help minimize the risks and maximize the rewards associated with shared services, and grow their own shared-service leadership role.

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