Shared Services Model

Transform the shared services model to deliver business value

Develop shared services model strategy and structure

Five key trends and best practices are impacting how to design, operate and evolve the shared services model. Assess the applicability of these trends and best practices to ensure the success of your shared services model.

  1. Run shared services like a business via the shared services model.
  2. Expand support and geographic coverage of the shared services model.
  3. Increase shared services model scope.
  4. Enable value delivery via effective governance of the shared services model.
  5. Embed growth-focused principles in shared services model operations.

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    Shadow teams are emerging in the business, since we [shared services] have gone too far with standardization and our staff can’t manage customization requests.

    VP of shared services in high technology industry

    Current shared services model inflexible to change

    Due to heightened uncertainty stemming from COVID-19, the shared services model must simultaneously optimize costs and increase flexibility to support a return to growth. Internal customers’ needs and circumstances will evolve dramatically, so the shared services model must be agile. But unfortunately, less than half of shared services models are prepared to support these business changes.

    Invest in future shared service capabilities. 62% of organizations view robotic process automation projects to be just as critical to improving shared services process and operations as before the COVID-19 pandemic, and 21% of organizations view them as more critical.
    Increase readiness to support changing business needs. 27% of shared services leaders indicate they are not ready to move new work into their organizations.

    Prepare shared services models for a new economy

    The shared services model must be flexible in migrating work into — and out of — the shared services organization, while keeping costs under control and employees engaged and productive. This will be a difficult balancing act, but shared services organizations that succeed will deliver outsize value via the shared services model.

    Increase readiness to support changing business needs. 27% of shared services leaders indicate they are not ready to move new work into their organizations.

    Insights you can use

    Gartner provides the benchmarking data, roadmaps and practical tools you need to build a shared services model that rightsizes spend, drives fast execution and improves business decision making in today’s changing environment.

    Continuously Improve the Shared Services Model

    Many companies implement global business services to improve shared services model maturity but end up with little to no return. The best companies improve shared services model maturity by driving value, enhancing credibility and staying ahead of new technology trends.

    Prioritize Activities in the Shared Services Model

    It’s hard to build an effective shared services model when competing priorities leave you wondering where to focus attention, time and money. Gartner knows the 13 management activities most important to shared services model success.

    Implement Digital Solutions Via the Shared Services Model

    For shared services organizations looking to implement digital solutions, the shared services model must identify and improve high-value processes. Because technology is highly versatile, use the Gartner solution evaluation tools to compare competing solutions and make the right choice for your business.

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    Client Success Story

    Expand Shared Services’ Scope

    A large manufacturer looked to Gartner to expand the scope of its shared services. Our tools and real-world insight helped save time, secure buy-in from corporate leadership for scope expansion, drive process consistency and improve decisions related to resource allocation.

    Shared services model transformation experts

    Meet a few of the Gartner experts on shared services model transformation.

    Cliff Struhar
    VP, Advisory

    Joey Mixon
    Director, Advisory

    Sanjay Champaneri
    Director, Advisory

    John E. Van Decker
    VP Analyst

    Shared services model: Frequently asked questions

    Many business, finance and shared services leaders seek a common or consistent shared services model definition. A shared services model delivers services to internal customers by consolidating, standardizing and automating processes in low-cost locations. Services are delivered to many different divisions, departments and groups within an organization, and may include: accounts payable and receivable, travel and entertainment (T&E) reimbursement, payroll, general ledger and cost accounting. Any process that can be centralized and would benefit from increased customer focus is a candidate for a shared services model. Internal customers include anyone within the organization who would benefit from increased focus on value-add activities. The purpose of a shared services model is to run, grow or transform the business. Effective shared services models are defined by an unrelenting focus on customer value and satisfaction, being competitive and continuous improvement.

    When establishing a new shared services model or expanding on an existing one, business, finance and shared services leaders may seek shared services model examples. Some examples show work retained in-house because they require direct customer or investor interaction, specific business or product knowledge, or have the potential to put sensitive information at risk. In-house work may include legal, investor relations, tax, treasury, and planning and analysis. Other shared services model examples show work outsourced because the work is process-driven, routine and easy to teach. Outsourced work may include accounts payable, T&E reimbursement and payroll. Before adapting your approach from shared services model examples, it’s important to evaluate your current processes for their level of complexity and their degree of commonality across multiple business units. Key questions you should ask yourself are: How well-understood and documented are the management and operational activities associated with each process? How mature is each process and how much will the organization benefit from process improvements? Is there any resistance from business units and local IT?

    The shared services model and centralized services both promise significant process standardization and economies of scale, making them popular among business leaders needing low-cost and reliable services. However, shared services model benefits are distinct from the benefits generated from centralized services: better expectation setting with the business, greater motivation to reduce costs and increased responsiveness to changing business needs. Because the shared services model has a strong focus on transparency, continuous improvement and customer centricity, shared services model benefits include equipping the business to deliver sustained impact in the face of constantly evolving needs.

    Shared services model price plays an important role in defining the degree of control over customer behavior. Organizations need to balance efficiency when pricing and charging out costs against effectiveness in influencing customer behavior. Since there isn’t a “one size fits all” shared services model price, shared services leaders should understand the pros and cons of various mechanisms for pricing or charging out the cost of shared services and determine which shared services model price approach is most suitable to support their services. Shared services leaders developing or revising shared services model price should determine the level of transparency and flexibility in pricing by assessing business unit customers’ needs and objectives.

    Gartner enables shared services model transformation

    We can help you build a shared services model that meets today’s business demands.