Despite this, the report does indicate that the same organisations acknowledge the role shared services can play in helping to manage budget cuts and improve overall efficiency. Reflecting this, 44% of local authorities are planning to share back office operations and 27% are planning to do the same with their data centre capability over the next twelve months.
“Shared services can significantly improve the efficiency of an organisation, whether through the cost advantages of shared funding and resourcing of certain services, or by the shared adoption of best practice processes. The fact that many local authorities have not adapted to this way of thinking reflects the issues that have hampered the model previously,”
The survey also highlights a number of efficiency initiatives local authorities already have in place. For example, 94% of those asked already have an initiative for enabling a more mobile workforce, while 92% currently have an initiative to integrate business systems to reduce administrative overheads. Such programmes could be aided by shared services yet the lack of confidence in the model is hampering this. For example, 69% of organisations are looking to reduce telephony and IT infrastructure costs, yet almost half (46%) state they have no plans to share these services.
Also emphasised in the study is the importance placed on promoting online citizen services, with 95% of local authorities classing this as at least a fairly important priority, and 69% saying it is either critical or very important. Similar importance is placed on integrating business systems and workflows, with 96% classing this as at least fairly important to improving efficiency and reducing costs. This drive for cost savings is also reflected in that there is a clear move away from using CAPEX to fund such initiatives, for example 75% of local authorities plan to use at least some OPEX to enable a more mobile workforce.
“The fact that local authorities are moving towards using more OPEX than CAPEX reflects the rise of initiatives such as cloud computing, which lets them improve their IT without the need to invest huge sums of money in technology hardware,” added Kamruddin. “Clearly, local authorities are comfortable with innovative IT models and it is unfortunate that they have yet to find the same confidence in shared services. To get past this, authorities must learn from past mistakes and realise that a shared services model is not just about merging ICT departments, it’s about business process transformation. As organisations look to improve efficiency, shared services make sense. The key to success will be to work with managed service providers who have the expertise and resources to ensure that shared services become a benefit, rather than just another IT management pain point.”
The survey consisted of 100 heads of departments from single and upper tier local authorities across England, conducted online between 26 April and 2 May 2011. It was commissioned by 2e2 and conducted by independent research company Ipsos MORI.
About 2e2 (www.2e2.com)
2e2 is an ICT Lifecycle Services Provider; an agile, customer-focused provider of end-to-end next generation IT services. The company creates innovative solutions that transform business processes, reduce infrastructure costs and enhance performance – ‘creating business advantage’ for its customers. 2e2 focuses on solutions and managed services for medium and large private and public sector organisations, delivered on premise, in the cloud, hosted, as a managed service or as a hybrid. 2e2 has worked with many companies within local and regional government, telecommunications, financial services and the commercial sector.
2e2 guides its clients towards their goals through a combination of deep-level business and technical expertise, an extensive knowledge of today’s technologies including innovations around web and cloud computing, and a mature and highly capable delivery and services infrastructure. 2e2’s offerings help its customers improve processes, reduce data centre and infrastructure costs, manage risk and governance and enhance top-line revenue. 2e2 delivers successful programmes through a mix of professional and project resource services as well as training and consultancy.
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