Shared services or Shared Services Center (SSC) refer to a dedicated unit (including people, processes and technologies) that is structured as a centralized point of service and is focused on defined business functions. These functions are supported by information technology (IT) and IT services for multiple business units within the enterprise.

As a point of reference, public sector institutions in Europe have been applying a shared services delivery model, both for IT and non-IT shared services for decades. Governments in the Middle East and Africa have deployed it more recently. Canada, through its newly formed Shared Services Agency, is adopting an aggressive stance on commodity-style business such as data centers and email.

Shared services continue to be attractive because they hold the potential for:

  • Faster decision making, more informed policy making, more effective workforce management and improved resource alignment with agency mission goals
  • Improved servicing ration/response times, reduced cycle times and improved automated reporting
  • Reduced duplicative software/hardware/operations/labor resources
  • Increased interactivity with constituents including, improved communication and responsiveness
  • Enhanced quality, timeliness, accuracy and consistency

However, these goals are not always realized because even though the functions seem duplicative and logical candidates for shared services, they are not always severable and/or have complicating factors. In this white paper, we explore a history of shared services in the U.S. federal government, explore different types and added complexities for government shared services and provide recommendations to help create successful sustainable shared services