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Shared Services

Getting it together


The shift toward shared services as a means to cut costs and improve quality is well underway. In theory, a shared service organization (SSO) can improve efficiency and control, give business units deeper support and let more people focus on what they do best. In practice, it takes serious planning, coordination and hard work to realize those benefits.

Deloitte’s comprehensive approach to SSO implementation is designed to help organizations extract as much value as possible from shared services initiatives. Whether your company is planning its first shared services structure or working to improve a long-standing operating model, our teams can provide a full range of support tailored to your desired results. Learn more about the offering.

Case studies

Fast, furious – and focused
Unilever sells two major shared services centers in the blink of an eye and refocuses on its core business.

Hot property
Establishing world-class real estate and facilities management operations at a leading global insurer.

Saving the pennies that save lives
Helping a non-profit organization and its chapters embrace efficiency to do more good.

Featured insights

Deloitte’s 2013 global shared services survey results
This year’s survey drew 277 responses, representing organizations headquartered in 38 countries, providing data for 870 shared services centers from around the world.

Case studies in reducing process complexity in general and administrative (G&A) and shared services
Driving to capture the next generation of continuous improvement in service delivery transformation.

Shared services: From “if” to “how”: Insights from Deloitte’s 2011 global shared services survey
Key themes on “how” to establish and improve a shared services organization (SSO), based on the results of Deloitte’s 2011 global shared services survey results.

Shared services: Should you stay or should you go?
Explore the Debate.

Getting the retained organization right
The other half of the shared services battle.

Making shared advisory capabilities work
Sharing internal expertise.

Reports of the death of shared services offshoring have been greatly exaggerated
Learn more.

Shared services and financial systems
Creating value through financial systems–enabled shared services

Meet our people

  • Christine Ann, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Related offerings

Learn more about the offering

Apples and oranges. And maybe fruit salad.
When a company implements an SSO, it brings together a wildly diverse collection of systems, processes and functions that were designed for more narrow purposes. They may not mesh naturally into a larger whole. And as old systems are being disrupted or even dismantled, their users may not be quick to appreciate the big-picture benefits. What began as a streamlining effort can blossom into a complex of procedural and interpersonal challenges.

Making it all work requires effective change management, a culture of cooperation and a fine degree of operational control – driven by a clear vision of the desired improvements. Top-down sponsorship and organization-wide buy-in are equally critical.

How We Can Help

Deloitte’s comprehensive approach to SSO implementation is designed to help organizations extract as much value as possible from shared services initiatives. Whether your company is planning its first shared services structure or working to improve a long-standing operating model, our teams can provide a full range of support tailored to your desired results. We can help your company as it:

  • Develops and evaluates an initial shared services strategy or is considering expanding its existing SSO
  • Evaluates sites and facilities worldwide in support of efforts to select an SSO location
  • Designs and implements the SSO’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and networks
  • Addresses people and change management issues, including workforce transition, training and communications
  • Explores the possible benefits of outsourcing certain processes or services
  • Establishes effective governance procedures and Service Level Agreements for ongoing shared services management
  • Integrates the SSO into its broader Service Delivery Model Organization

Over the past five years, Deloitte has provided services in support of more than 550 SSO projects covering all phases of the shared services journey, from the initial strategy through implementation and optimization. Our network of nearly 3,000 shared services practitioners worldwide gives us the reach to support shared services needs around the globe.

Bottom-line benefits

An effective SSO can help:

  • Reduce headcount (typically 15 to 25 percent) through a combination of process improvement and consolidation
  • Lower labor cost due to relocation of operations
  • Improve cash flows through tax-efficient structures and strategies
  • Improve cost visibility and metrics of back-office operations
  • Improve internal control efficiency and effectiveness
  • Eliminate redundancy and work fragmentation
  • Create a platform for cost efficient growth

Seven ways to get more value now

At Deloitte, we’ve helped some of the world’s leading companies in their efforts to deploy shared services. Here are some key lessons that we’ve learned along the way.

Start at the top. Be sure you have clear and visible support from your company’s top executives. Without that strong direction, business units won’t work together and some individuals will sit on the sidelines waiting for it to all go away.

Choose a strong leader. Deploying shared services is not for the faint of heart. In addition to significant operational challenges, you can expect a lot of resistance. It takes a strong leader to keep a shared services project on track. Choose someone who’s willing to push.

Share the responsibility. A shared services initiative is a team effort that requires full participation from the business units, the implementation team and the new shared services function. Hold these groups accountable to foster cooperation.

Over-communicate and over-train. Resistance to change is the single biggest obstacle for any shared services initiative. Help people overcome fear by keeping them informed. Provide top-notch training.

Make the case. Create a rigorous business case for shared services— and keep it up to date. A strong business case establishes the project’s benefits and helps the team manage risk. It also provides a baseline for measuring progress and success.

Focus on service quality. A good shared services model is efficient, so cost reduction is rarely a problem. When business units worry, it’s about service quality and responsiveness. To alleviate these concerns, make service delivery the top priority.

Establish clear roles and responsibilities. The process connections between a shared services center and local operations can cause confusion at first, so it’s imperative to define roles and responsibilities early.

Shared Services in action

  • A large pharmaceutical company‘s global finance and accounting shared services project consolidated finance functions from more than 50 markets and business units, which helped to drive global savings of $250 million.
  • By consolidating shared services operations, including Finance, Human Resources, IT and supply chain processes, a consumer packaged goods company expects to realize approximately $6 million in cost savings, with more than half of the benefit realized in the first year.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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