01 Apr What are Shared Services?
Shared Services are when an organisation or group of people, provide or receive a service as one entity, thus reducing the cost of provisioning or providing that service and reducing the subsequent overheads involved in the management of it.
One of the areas where shared services have really been embraced is by local government provisioning for services to be provided to councils. Examples include things from the provisioning of IT equipment across several authorities to gain a group discount to the setup of virtual co-located teams providing similar services, using one piece of software and hardware, often hosted and managed in a cloud computing environment.
What are the key benefits of shared services?
- Cost Reductions – If providing a service the cost of establishing and maintain that service is vastly reduced and administered by one central team.
- Group Discounts – if provisioning services groups will often achieve best value by purchasing in bulk.
- Streamlined Services – by using the same systems to manage customers or projects the cost of training through to application and maintenance is vastly reduced.
- Increased Expertise – by utilising the skills of the workforce within the group you can increase your level of expertise and experience. For example by merging two authorities legal departments they will have expertise in particular areas and can therefore share work and distribute it to the most suitably qualified professional – See our Suffolk County Council Case Study in which this has been achieved.
Improving shared services
Before councils can begin to understand or know what services to streamline they must first have a full register of what services are being provided. For this purpose Tricostar have produced Timebase Contract Management which maintains a record of all of an authorities contracts, enabling them streamline the services both between internal departments, and other authorities with whom they have joint initiatives.
This may be as simple as achieving the best price for replacement printer ink across departments and then the wider group of shared service authorities.