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Driving Shared Services Success with Innovative Organizational Design


A significant number of Shared Services organizations utilize unique organizational designs and have experienced excellent results in improving not only the overall performance of their operation, but also the satisfaction level of their employees.  There are a number of effective strategies in the area of Shared Services organizational design, including how the overall operation is structured, if a matrix type reporting structure is utilized, and if a team-based approach is incorporated in the design, to name just a few.

Company Experience

On a recent PeercastTM, a large global company with operations in over 150 countries, shared their experiences in both implementing their Shared Services organizational design and administering its use going forward.  Their Global Business Services operation is centrally positioned to deliver value for the Company, with a mix of global and local services being delivered by more than 5,000 employees.

From a geographic standpoint, there are three large regional service centers located in Central America, Europe, and Southeast Asia supporting the majority of the globe. 

Several years ago, the company made a shift from a horizontally aligned organization with the service centers having overall operational responsibility to a vertically aligned organization that is driven by the global process leaders.  Some of the advantages and challenges associated with this new design include the following:


  • Aligned portfolio management
  • Standard service line approach with global impact
  • Builds capability / mastery
  • Clear service line goals


  • Maintain site culture and focus
  • Talent management

As a result of this organization realignment, the overall reporting structure is matrix-based, with dotted-line reporting occurring between the global process owners and the service centers.

iPollingTM Results Review

An important part of the research related to Shared Services organizational design was a poll recently created using the iPollingTM technology.  The first question looked at what the participating companies considered as the most significant factor related to organizational design that has helped Shared Services to be a success.  Reviewing the results, the implementation of global process owners was the most prevalent response, with 37% selecting that response.  This was followed by making Shared Services an autonomous operation within the company, which was the response of 26% of the companies.  An additional 21% indicated that use the of a matrix reporting relationship was the most significant factor, followed by 16% of the companies responding that the utilization of a team-based structure contributed the most to their success.

The second polling question then addressed the level of satisfaction the surveyed companies have with their current Shared Services organizational design.  The results were very favorable, with 95% being either Very Satisfied (11%) or Satisfied (84%) with their organizational effectiveness and the structure of their reporting relationships.  Many companies realize that organization structure can be ever-evolving and that there is always room for improvement in this important aspect of their Shared Services operation.

Some of the member comments related to this poll include the following:

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Our company would be a combination of Global Process Owners with decision making authority and standardization of processes through end-to-end process design.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Organizational refinement like GPOs will be needed. It really depends on where you are in your build-out of the program.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Always room for improvement in this area.

Manufacturing Member: We continue to develop our Shared Services and look towards a Global Services offering.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Due to the maturity level of our Shared Services, we almost operate as a COE, which really translates into a team-based structure. It’s working great, and we are seeing major improvements to the way we offer our services.

Closing Summary

Shared Services operations have typically invested a lot of time and effort in establishing and improving their organizational structures as their centers have progressed through the Shared Services lifecycle.  The only constant that appears to be the case in this area is the need to continuously monitor the effectiveness of the organizational structure and to have the flexibility to make the necessary structural changes as Shared Services continues to evolve in a variety of different ways.

What is the status at your company with respect to the organizational design of your Shared Services operation?  Is your current approach as effective as it should be or is it time to take another look at this critical aspect of your long-term strategy for Shared Services?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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