The Transition to a Shared Services Model
The evidence from all sectors and across the spectrum of shared service ‘types’ appears to agree that shared services can bring some very positive benefits in the long term – but even those who are happy with the outcome of a transition to shared services stress that in practice implementing this change takes a great deal of time, pain and money to get right. It should therefore not be considered an ‘easy option’. The following (taken from the sources below) stand out as challenges and lessons that those considering a move to a shared services model might consider
- There is some evidence that shared services has a higher success rate when larger numbers (of individuals and costs) are involved – certainly it will not be right for every case.
- Organisations need to be clear about what their objectives are (cost cutting, improving services, redesign of structures etc).
- Start up and implementation costs are high – and an organisation is unlikely to see cost savings in the first year or so.
- To gain greatest benefits the merging of services (or creation of a new unit) should be accompanied by service and process redesign.
- The shared services unit must offer competitive (in terms of time, cost and responsivity) services.
- The transition can be extremely difficult for employees - there is likely to be a loss of some roles altogether and employee morale can be affected. The approach an organisation (and individual leaders) take towards staff will be extremely important.
- Implementation of shared services requires strong leadership and a great deal of effort to ensure ‘buy-in’ from across the organisation to be successful.
- Accountability lines must be clear throughout the process.
For more information about the Knowledge Resouces contact:
Eleni Stamou, Research Manager