According to TechTarget, the consolidation of business operations that are used by multiple parts of the same organization is referred to as shared services. Although not a new concept for agencies, the Obama administration has made shared services a key element of its management agenda.
A Partnership for Public Survey found that the shared services mandate has been met with mixed reviews. FCW outlined survey findings as follows in its recent article:
CFOs and other senior management officials were polled about their experiences with four lines of business: acquisition, financial management, human resources and IT.
Some respondents said they are implementing select shared-services initiatives and eschewing wider implementation because of past experiences or the challenges of sustaining long-term government transformation efforts. Other reasons respondents gave for not adopting shared services include the inability to build effective business cases, difficulty managing their workforce under a shared-services model, a lack of transparency across services and cost concerns.
On the other hand, the study said CFOs are becoming more astute about how they implement and manage the services. Some of the promising practices that agencies are exploiting include designating a leader to manage the services and forming enterprise-wide leadership councils to understand the full implications of the services. Furthermore, CFOs are incorporating accountability measures for the services into the performance reviews of senior executives and building relationships with other agencies to share lessons learned and emulate successful service-level agreements. They’re also integrating the services into workforce planning and focusing on making changes incrementally in areas where they make the most sense.
Recommendations: OMB should set clear deadlines for shared-services implementation and hold agency leaders accountable. OMB should develop service-level agreements that agencies could use as templates and work with the GSA to fund pilot programs and build a team of experts to help agencies. OMB should also publish a strategic guide to managing the workforce transition to shared services.
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