Today’s segment on shared services and outsourcing with Colin Cram went to where we need to go, but where few dare to tread

Posted on April 9, 2010


Today’s PI Window on Business segment “Towards Tesco: Saving the Government £25 Billion Per Year” was one of those times when the old saying about the chickens coming home to roost . . .

I of course opened up this afternoon’s broadcast with the comment that “those of you who have followed me for the past few years will note that I have never been a fan of the overarching, monolithic pursuits of a government looking to “centralize” the procurement function under an enforced compliance model.”

Citing failed public sector programs around the world, in which shared services and outsourcing of the procurement function have consistently produced dismal results, one might correctly conclude that my criticism of these kinds of programs was solely directed at the concept of shared services instead of the actual execution.

As it turns out, and according to 30 year public sector veteran and expert Colin Cram, it is at the execution level and more specifically the lack of a collaborative process that has been one of the main reasons why so many programs have failed.  That, and of course the absence of tangible data or intelligence, an abdication of responsibility through an over reliance on technology and, the failure to openly acknowledge that public sector job loss is the primary savings mechanism with a shared services strategy.

What was also worth noting is Cram’s position regarding an “in” or “out with accountability” approach to dealing with government departments or agencies that express a reluctance to becoming part of a shared services initiative.  In more concise (although “line in the sand” would seem to be more applicable) terms than those associated with the North Carolina conciliatory 2004 MOU with the State’s higher education institutions, if a department chooses to go their own way they will be held accountable re penalized if their results or outcomes are not equal to or better than, those of the main shared services program.

While I could write about the insights from today’s show at great length, given the limitations of the average blog post in terms of size, and the fact that the dynamics of a live, on-air interview provides unique audio perspectives that are not always easy to capture in print, I would encourage you to tune into the on-demand version of today’s broadcast.

It will be time well spent.

Colin Cram to join the PI Window on Business Thought Leaders Series in quarterly segments titled “Public Sector Procurement Across the Pond.”

Colin has also decided to join our growing group of business thought leaders to provide his perspective on public sector procurement practices overseas.  If today’s show is any indication, these quarterly segments promise to stir up the sediments of long-held industry beliefs.

Media Bite: Shared Services is Nothing New

Segment Sponsor:

"Building Bridges"