Shared Services works, but we’re different!

How many times as either a practitioner or consultant have you heard, we’re different?  Or perhaps, I  know shared services has worked in this industry before, but we are not like everyone else.  We are unique.  If you’ve been working in shared services for any length of time, you have absolutely heard these exact statements or something very similar.

Throughout my 18 years, as a practitioner and consultant, it is impossible for me to count how many times this has come up in discussions where someone is telling me why shared services won’t work.  Fortunately I have been lucky enough to work for companies both public & private, domestic & international, and diversified & specialized and what I have learned is no one company or industry is so unique that shared services can’t be successfully implemented in some capacity.  The key in convincing some to at least evaluate shared services is to start simple and don’t over promise.  It’s amazing how many organizations I encounter that are still extremely inefficient at paying bills, applying cash, collecting money or paying employees.  The best practices and lessons learned within these functions are so proven and so common within all industries that it’s almost hard to fail.  So when you encounter resistance that is based on the company or organization being unique, remind the doubters that all enterprises have bills to pay, money to collect and employees to pay and that many companies in many industries have used shared services to optimize these functions.

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