Sharing Services and Systems - Progressive Change
2. Delegation and internal communication
3. Templates and resources
4. Policies, procedures and processes
5. Organisational systems eg human resource, information technology
Why shared services? In many partnership models there are implications for partner resources, systems and processes. Merging systems is not an easy process, whether it is voluntary or forced. Some partnership ventures may voluntarily share their "back of house" operations to streamline operations or create economies of scale. Other ventures may lead to mergers. Through working with partnerships we observed that an important contributor to the success of sharing services or integrating systems is the gradual introduction of change. We identified six levels through which partnerships worked to achieve their intended objectives. Work through these levels using the SS Levels of Progressive Change document (downloadable below)
Level 1 - Business Case If the business case and benefits are not clear - the systems sharing process can become confused and unfocused. Business Benefits of sharing services, systems etc
Level 2 - Delegation and Internal Communication
There must be senior level authority involved in the venture. The sharing services arrangement will impact on each partner as an organisation. A terms of Reference document for the change management/leadership team will incorporate the boundaries of authority around decision-making and accountability to the highest level of management.
- Will a leadership team be required? Yes/No
- How will it work (Terms of Reference)? Yes/No
- Is there a communication Plan in place? Yes/No
Level 3 - Templates and Resources This is considered the 'safe' zone because it empowers middle level staff (technicians and/or administration) to share templates and resources around a common interest. As long as change is within a continuous improvement framework, it is relatively easy to adjust operational practices in the interest of being more efficient. This process builds trust as participants are confident in discussing and negotiating the "perfect resource"/ It is too easy to become complacent and stay at this level longer than necessary.
Templates and Resources
☐ Is this a partnership that would benefit from aligning our systems and processes through reviewing and sharing our templates and resources?
Templates /Resources ____________________________________________
Anticipated timeframe ____________________________________________
Anticipated outcomes ____________________________________________
Level 4 - Policies, Procedures and Processes As partnership ventures become more integrative, you may be aligning your policies, procedures and processes. Businesses coming together for joint ventures will require aligned policies and procedures that impact on the activity concerned.
P P and P
Which policies and procedures may require a review and/or aligning?
Which processes will be impacted/require a review?
Level 5 - Organisational Systems The voluntary standardisation of organisational systems involves a high level of trust and commitment a lot of negotiation, significant knowledge of what is required of these systems and the preparedness of each partner to develop and implement a change management process within their own organisations. If partners move to Level 5 too quickly, the partnership may break down or, at best, revert back to the 'safe' zone.
Will this partnership lead to a review of our organizational systems? Y / N / Not sure
Which ones? ___________________________________________________
Resource implications (eg financial, HR, IT etc) ________________________
Level 6 - Integration By the time partners incorporate common templates and resources, policies, procedures and processes and organisational systems, they may consider creating a new singular entity (secretariat) or merge. Operations will become integrated to the point of being able to create a secretariat model with an office entrusted with administration, records management, IT and HR responsibilities, as well as managing working parties on behalf of the partnership. The singular entity may be an independent company or association established by the partners or it may be that the partners merge into one organisation. This is the final example of sharing services.
This is also the first stage of a new partnership company. Whereas the scenarios to date recommend a long-term time frame for implementing the various levels of sharing services and systems, for business partnership ventures,immediate change may be required. Thus, in these circumstances, partners must consider as a priority:
- A clearly articulated business case to provide a focus for the systems
- Clear decision-making and communication structures – who does what, is responsible for what etc , what and how things get communicated and accountability to the partnership
- What resources will be shared with the partnership – including arrangements for copyright and IP of existing resources
- What resources will remain with the partners’ own businesses
- Financial systems, insurance, workplace health and safety and other compliance requirements are in place for the partnership/all partners
- Whether partners are compatible with a strong foundation (see Foundations)
This module explores six levels of Change. For more information on the Change Management Process and Enablers of Change, go to the Managing Change module.
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