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"The future is already here," a technology guru once quipped.
Previous Accenture research has found that high percentages of public service agencies have already implemented shared services programs of one type or another. Yet implementation of truly transformational shared services models is still uneven at best.
Our research found several reasons for the inability of many governments and other public service organizations to achieve the full potential benefits of shared services. Foremost among those reasons are the unique challenges in implementing a program that cuts costs while also improving service, creating greater value for governments and the citizens they serve. Establishing and realizing a business case, and then defining clear goals and objectives, can be difficult in the public sector, especially one with decentralized decision-making authority. The lack of reliable baseline data hampers the ability of governments to assess their progress and the impact of change. Workforce transition and overcoming resistance to change are also extremely vexing to most government executives.
This paper is the second in a series exploring shared services in the public sector. Our first, produced in 2005, discussed workforce issues that can arise when governments move to a shared services model. In this second paper, we focus in particular on the governance structures and tactics most conducive to success. Government shared services are implemented primarily within the four critical functions of human resources, finance, procurement and information technology.
Accordingly, to explore key shared services implementation considerations, we conducted in-depth interviews with public service executives from each of those four functions who have successfully implemented transformational shared services programs. As these executives have become increasingly aware of the opportunities and benefits of shared services implementations, there are now a number of important success stories at the municipal, state and federal levels in most regions of the world.
June 9, 2006
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