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Defining the Blueprint for Shared Services / GBS Scope


Implementing Shared Services and related organizational models including Integrated Business Services and Global Business Services creates a unique opportunity for companies to redefine work processes and dramatically change how work streams are defined and accomplished.  By taking activities that were secondary and making their optimization a primary objective, by being part of an organization dedicated to delivering processes that can be leveraged broadly across businesses, functions, and departments, companies can create and leverage designs that would otherwise be unachievable.

While many companies continue to focus Shared Services on traditional functions, most companies are moving beyond traditional functions, with some pushing the envelope for what is possible to include in the blueprint for Shared Services / Global Business Services (GBS).

iPolling Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPolling was used to provide insight into the blueprint that Peeriosity member companies have for Shared Services / GBS, including details for the approach that leading companies take to determining the scope of their Shared Services / GBS initiatives.

The first poll question asked about overall blueprint design parameters and the extent to which they included pushing towards more progressive and less traditional functions in Shared Services.  The largest single response, at 42% of Peeriosity member companies, reports that they are mainly focused on traditional functions, such as Finance, HR, IT, and Procurement.  However, the remaining 58% are either beginning to evolve beyond traditional functions (29%) or they already perform many more advanced functions in Shared Services (29%).

iPolling: Defining the Blueprint for Shared Services: results if organization is pushing towards progressive functions

The second poll question asked about the approach that Peeriosity member companies take to determine their blueprint for Shared Services.  For 70% expanding their blueprint is being actively pursued, with 35% indicating the approach is to have senior leadership across the organization leverage a standard decision framework to objectively evaluate all functions in the company, and an additional 35% reporting the approach is for Shared Services leadership to suggest new evolving scope opportunities and work with the business to ensure alignment.  Finally, 12% indicated they follow a more passive approach with scope selected based on requests from the business, and 18% reporting that scope is focused on routine transactional processes.

iPolling: primary approach to determine the scope

Here are some of the comments from Peeriosity members:

  • We are still expanding our geographic footprint due to M&A, so quite busy with traditional activities. We are in the process of evaluating sales order processing in North America to come into Shared Services.
  • Executive management is pushing digitalization and Shared Services; however, they are allowing functions to set up interim, functional SSCs leveraging our footprint/location wherever possible, with a longer-term move into one, cross-functional organization. I do not think this is the best approach and will lead to higher costs and slower implementation and realization of benefits as well as excessive change for employees but that is the course that has been set and it – at least – is moving in the correct direction.
  • We are mature in shared services and the company seeks opportunities to leverage the scale and standardization that shared services can bring to various areas, such as real estate.

Closing Summary

How you define the blueprint for Shared Services / GBS at your company will set the framework for the extent to which your Shared Services / GBS organization is able to grow and develop its service offering.  Actively engaging with senior leadership to define a standard decision framework will create the most opportunities to improve what were formerly secondary processes by making their optimization the primary objective.

How does your organization define the blueprint for Shared Services / GBS scope?  Do you take an active approach, do you wait for requests to come from the business, or is your scope primarily focused on routine transactional processes?

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


“iPolling” 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 Mail, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

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