2.8 Shared Services

2.8.1 Introduction

Shared Services (SSs) have been in use since the 1980s and were originally deployed to create cost savings and improve efficiency by convergence of services from different organisations or parts of organisations to one source of the shared service.

'People will often ask for a particular software system when there is already something in place that will provide for their needs.'

A Shared Service is just one of a number of strategic sourcing options that an HEI can chose. It takes different forms but is normally operated through the creation of an internal or external consortium or joint venture that is able to work together in establishing common core services that are used by its members. The creation of a consortium, or joint venture, by which members have stakeholder influence and share commercial operating costs is not the same as outsourcing which involves external suppliers providing such services for profit. However, definitions vary and SSs are often implemented in a combination with other procurement approaches such as outsourcing. Today SSs are seen as one of a number of ways in which HEIs can become more agile and sustainable.

Now consider these key questions:

  • What ICT services are currently 'Shared' within your institution?
  • What business services are in use that may be relevant or support business requirements elsewhere within the institution?
  • What is the quality of institutional data? Why?