“I like to equate shared services with electricity. Very few people care how electricity is generated, where it's generated or anything like that. What they care about is availability, reliability and cost.” — John Kost, Gartner
That was the consensus at GITEC 2012. IT leaders understand the need for the Office of Management and Budget's strategy for implementing shared services, but the concept is easier to swallow than the details associated with actually implementing changes. Among them are security, communication between agencies and resistance to change from employees. Simon Szykman, CIO of the Commerce Department, addressed that issue:
“I think the biggest challenge is always the cultural change and the change management. Not in a technological perspective, but really just getting people on board and thinking about services in a different way.” — Simon Szykman, Commerce
For IT personnel, the focus should remain on cost and return on investment so the front office can focus on mission-critical strategy. As Joseph Klimavicz, CIO of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, points out, the savings are very real:
“We moved a total of 25,000 mailboxes to the cloud. Going to a shared-service environment resulted in a 50 percent cost savings, [compared with] if we had to build a similar capability in-house." — Joseph Klimavicz, NOAA
As shared services progress, success will hinge on the details.