The community for leaders in finance shared services
Keywords: shared services, resistance, support from management, mindset change, boardroom
Susie West | News | 25 June 2012
When moving to a shared services model companies have to overcome many physical challenges, such as creating the right technical infrastructure and phasing out legacy systems.
But they also have to break through mental barriers, and this is where many shared services projects stall. Indeed, for shared services work there needs to be support from across the organisation, and often a dramatic change in mindset is requirement among management.
It's important that everyone understands the benefits of shared services and that leaders in all departments work towards the same goal. Personalities cannot come into it. If they do, resistance to the project can easily emerge and even the slightest resistance can cause major problems.
The two North Yorkshire councils who recently brought their shared services agreement to an end may be a case in point. It's claimed that a personality clash between the leaders of Hambleton and Richmondshire district councils was responsible for the decision.
"The senior councillors at both local authorities just don't get on," a local journalist familiar with the story told Computing.co.uk, claiming that one leader working for both councils was seen as being "in the pocket" of one over the other.
The councils deny this of course. Hambleton District Council Leader Neville Huxtable said: "There has been no big fall-out between the two authorities, we are simply going to look at new ways of providing services for the benefits of both sets of residents."
Whatever the truth, it is surprising that the shared services arrangements have been brought to an end considering that the union has yielded savings of around £2.6m over the last three years.
Mr Huxtable himself acknowledged that shared services has brought "huge savings" for both councils at a time when public spending cuts were being made.
However, he stressed: "Now we want to move on and use some of the savings we have accumulated to bring even better services."
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