The concept of shared services is not a new one, and for many organisations particularly in the private sector, the challenges of initial implementation are now past. By contrast in the public sector, shared services implementation is very much a ‘here and now’ issue.
Either way, the basic challenge is the same – to create a service based environment that enables customers and suppliers to work together effectively to meet the overall needs of the organisation, in areas including Finance, Employee Services, IT, Procurement, Estates and call centres.
The key issues
For existing shared services, the key issue is to drive greater efficiency across end to end processes and develop new professional services higher up the value chain. Leading providers now look to move beyond transaction processing and reporting towards value adding analysis and business partnering.
However, this isn’t just a shared service organisation issue – it is an issue for the whole organisation, as customers and decision makers address what they need and how they will realise the benefits. For the provider the issues extend beyond the implications for ERP and into the world of professional services and relationship management.
For new shared services the key issues include significant ERP implementation activity as well as the equally challenging management issues around governance, commissioning, performance management, costing, pricing and SLAs.
In the public sector there are additional challenges associated with creating shared solutions across Departmental boundaries such as the application of Government economic and accounting rules (such as full economic costing and cross subsidisation).
Increasingly the shared service agenda sits in parallel to the agendas of contestability, VFM and outsourcing and this places additional demands on the management of strategic policy, tactical and short term planning.
Our approach to shared services includes:We believe that to create an effective shared service solution requires a wide range of skills and experiences to be brought to bear. Our consultants bring business, change, functional and technical skills to help our clients manage each step of the journey. Our approach is equally focused on creating the new customer service environment, as it is the specific process and ERP solutions. Solving the latter will give you a shared services – however solving the former will enable you to reap the full benefits of that solution.