In this blog post, Sophie Mitchell writes about the rise in demand for shared services interims and the reasons behind this increase. What does this mean for the future of interim managers?

Since joining Alium in 2010, I have observed the steady evolution of shared services interims. In 2013, this seems to have picked up apace – but what are the key reasons behind this upsurge? Are businesses finally getting smarter to the benefits of this popular business model?

Shared Services Interims Across Public and Private Sectors

In what is still a cautious and unpredictable economic environment, the encouraging signs for shared services professionals are that both the public and private sector are increasingly adopting shared service solutions – but for very different reasons.

Public Sector Revolution

In the public sector, there is a already a huge amount of consolidation work going on as a result of government measures and the need to cut costs. Being used to working with challenging budgets, many in this sector are already using some form of shared services – but now, with even more austere processes being implemented, the shared service way of working itself is having to be revolutionised so as to continue to be cost  effective, create efficiencies and continue to drive up standards.

Private Sector Shift

Meanwhile, in the private sector, organisations are taking advantage of the cost savings and logistical efficiencies that can be made through models such as business process outsourcing. Increasingly, they are moving away from traditional BPO centres such as India, to more cost effective, emerging geographies such as eastern Europe, while others are finding competitive advantage in returning their shared services to the UK completely.

Against this backdrop, there is a clear demand for shared service interims in both the public and private arenas who are able to demonstrate high quality outcomes and deliverables quickly.

Changing Nature

The other element of today’s shared service industry that must be kept in mind is that demand has now moved far beyond the traditional transactional requirements of the finance, HR and procurement functions. What seems to be emerging now is that shared services is being used to identify efficiencies in areas such as tax and legal, where companies are looking to work smarter and make a demonstrable difference.

Cost and Quality Dominate

However, no matter where the demand is coming from, the nature of the service required or what part of the world it is in, it is cost and quality that are the number one drivers. If you are able to demonstrate real cost savings, whilst still being able to provide effective solutions, then you are truly acting in the spirit of shared services today.

What are your thoughts on the current demand for shared service interims in the public and private sectors? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below. 

photo credit:geralt cc

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