There are three major reasons that the Shared Services Team believes this program will succeed in improving state operations:
While the scale and formal creation of the Shared Services Centers will be unprecedented in Illinois state government, the concept of one agency/division providing services for another agency is actually already being practiced at the State. For example, the Department of Human Services, Offices of Human Resources and Management Information Systems, currently provides payroll services for four other completely separate and distinct agencies. Also, the Department of Corrections, Division of Finance and Administration, currently provides fiscal/HR services for the Department of Juvenile Justice, as well as fiscal services for the Prisoner Review Board. Cumulatively, these existing “shared services” arrangements, while limited, provide a successful precedent for a more expansive Shared Services Program.
Often, many reorganization efforts are performed and managed by a very small group of elite “specialists,” most often for logistical ease. This traditional approach, however, has many drawbacks; chief among them is that critical input from employees with experience and institutional knowledge is not adequately incorporated. Additionally, reorganizations are typically instituted on extremely aggressive implementation schedules. While this “big-bang” approach allows for quick transition to the new systems, it also fails to provide adequate time for testing of new systems and quality assurance. The Shared Services Program is taking a fundamentally different approach. First, the “team” designing the new program includes not just the principal sponsors of the project and their assistants, but also over 300 representatives from all agencies that are currently in scope for the Shared Services Program. Also, the implementation timeline for this project, while aggressive, spans several years, so that large amounts of time will be available to design, implement, build, test and optimize this new system for performing fiscal and HR functions.
Several other large states have successfully launched statewide initiatives to standardize fiscal/HR processes and implement technology solutions to support these redesigned processes, which are two of the essential elements of the Shared Services Program. Additionally, shared services initiatives based upon creating shared services centers have been popular and widely implemented by private sector organizations, such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Dow Chemical, and are increasingly being implemented by public sector organizations, such the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Shared services initiatives have been popular because they have produced dramatic, quantifiable service improvements for their organizations.