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New Zealand's push towards shared services labelled 'ambitious'

NewsSusie West, CEOContent Plus11.06.2012 Comments (2)Bookmark

The New Zealand government's plans for shared services in many of its operations have been labelled "quite ambitious" and "not an easy ride". Peter Blades, who recently retired as Chief Executive of the Australian state-owned IT services agency CenITex,…

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shared services, finance shared services, shared services Australia, CenITex, Department of Internal Affairs, iGovt, shared services New Zealand

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Howard Clark Calchas PSS 12.06.2012

There is a great gap between hype made by those selling shared services and the reality of performance on the ground.

These are commonly reported and persistent features of shared services:

• High entry or up-front costs
• Long time to realise small savings (years ... if at all)
• High failure rates (as much as 70% have been quoted)
• Loss of local knowledge
• Loss of service visibility
• Loss of control & accountability
• Locking-in failure and waste
• Worker dissatisfaction & union troubles (industrialization & standardization)
• Costs of failure pushed onto service users
• Costs passed onto to service users
• Costs pushed into other budgets
• Savings in 1 budget as costs are pushed into other parts of the system
• Failure and waste displaced over a longer period of time

There is much work needed to study the damage and impact of shared services, but very few organisations once they have spent millions of pounds want to open the doors to critical questioning.

David Turner Harrogate UNIT4 Business Software Ltd 12.06.2012

The negative sentiment towards shared services highlighted here is sadly predictable. However, it's not true that there are no success in Australia and New Zealand - certainly not in the commercial sector - and in the public sector successes are growing around the world.

At UNIT4 we can point to a rapidly growing number of successes, many of them very established, from Scandinavia to the UK and beyond. So the New Zealand government can draw on the many positive experiences around the world to ensure success.

Let's hope they're not put off by such negative feedback.