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Developing an Administrative Assistant Center of Excellence (COE) in Shared Services


Developing an Administrative Assistant Center of Excellence (COE) as part of Shared Services is a new area that one Peeriosity member company has pursued to expand the scope of its Global Shared Services operation by providing administrative support capabilities to the rest of the company.  This research abstract looks at how they carried out this significant transition and how it is administered on a going-forward basis.

Company Experience

On a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, the feature global company, with over $15 billion USD in revenue, had their Manager of Administrative Services share their recent experiences in transitioning their administrative support capabilities to their Global Shared Services operation.  As is the case at many companies, their cost and productivity levels in this area were not impressive, with low support ratios, high overtime, and temporary labor costs, and the vast majority of admin support being provided on-site vs. virtual.  In addition, the use of a distributed workforce model resulted in no central voice for the employees in this area, no consistent talent calibration, minimal cross-functional opportunities and career pathing for these employees, and limited consistency in how they were handled from a Human Resources standpoint. 

The opportunity for the company by creating an Administrative Services COE was significant, with the projected benefits including increased service breadth, cost savings, improved teamwork and agility across the admin group, and increased utilization of admin talent.  The transition took place by having all Administrative Assistants transfer to the Global Business Services organization, and then dramatically changing the support model, with Director level positions and above continuing to receive dedicated support, although not always on-site.  For VP level and higher, support was 100% on-site, while Directors received 25% on-site and 75% virtual support, with Managers receiving support that was 100% virtual.

The organizational structure for the COE has a Global Service Manager with four Team Leads that have all the Virtual Admins reporting to them.  The Onsite Admins also report to the COE, but the managers they support have significant input into their performance reviews.

The company provided additional details about this transition and ongoing operation, including the Admin Service Catalog, launch commitments, and lessons learned.  Those details are available to Peeriosity members on the member website.

iPollingTM Results Review

In a poll related to this PeercastTM, Peeriosity members provided feedback regarding the current structure of Administrative Services at their companies.  The poll question asked about the status of implementing an Administrative Center of Excellence within their Shared Services organization with just 6% of the companies indicating that they have done so.  Another 13% are evaluating this option, with 6% considering the opportunity and deciding no.  The majority of companies (75%) have not considered this approach.

status of implementing an administrative assistant center of excellence within the shared services org

Some of the comments related to this poll made by Peeriosity members include the following:

Manufacturing Member: Not on our radar at present.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Evaluated, but specific needs of different functions and synchronous timing of needs made it challenging.

Other Industry Member: We are beginning a pilot for our GBS leadership team now with the goal to make this a service offering based on our learnings.

Consumer Products & Services Member: No plans to evaluate at the moment.

Closing Summary

While the number of companies that have transitioned Administrative Services to a Shared Services structure is still small, this can be a significant win for the company, with the results including reduced costs, higher quality service, and increased employee satisfaction. 

What is the status at your company with respect to the implementation and utilization of an Administrative Services Center of Excellence?  Is your current structure meeting your needs or is it time to consider this type of organizational alignment?

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 of 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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