The Downside of Shared Services

Making the Call

But, before you get to this point, you have to decide a few things, said Eric Feldman, a senior architect in the Global Business Services Optimization Practice at CA. What services are going to be shared; How you are going to measure what is to be shared; How are you going to include truly shared costs, such as datacenter power consumption, as well?

This last can be a real sticking point, said Feldman, and a lot of analysis is going on at companies today to figure out what costs should be borne by all and what costs can be metered out on an individual basis.

“There’s a lot of these questions and I think part of the challenge here is that there is no out-of-the-box model that says this is the way you do it,” he said. “Your shared services model may be completely different the next company even though you’re in the same vertical.”

But the move toward shared service is happening because, for the business, the benefits far outweigh the headaches for IT. IT becomes more transparent from a cost point-of-view, business managers can see just what they are consuming, upper management can get better picture of the value of IT, and cost savings can be enormous, to name just a few of the many pluses shared services offer. For IT, IT becomes easier to manage and CIOs can make a stronger case that IT, overall, does matter.

The trick to making chargeback’s work in this environment is to think like a business manager, not an IT manager.

“It’s all about management,” said SIM’s Pickett. “It starts with budgets and cash but really it’s about management practices and strategy.”
And if that doesn’t work? “[R]emind them this isn’t a democracy, it’s a corporation.”