Shared Services Transformation: Conceptualization and Valuation from the Perspective of Real Options
Decision Sciences, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp. 381-402, August 2009
36 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2013
Date Written: July 31, 2009
In today's volatile global economy, where many organizations face severe pressure to downsize, the “shared services” model, in which a firm merges common functions performed by multiple units into a single service delivery organization, provides an innovative approach to make business more efficient and effective. To successfully implement shared services, firms need to strategically decide whether and how to pursue various service transformation alternatives such as simplification, standardization, consolidation, insourcing, or outsourcing. In this study, we develop the notion of real options into a unique theoretical lens for conceptualizing service organizations and their transformation in an uncertain business environment. Specifically, we view service organization as a set of strategic options that give the firm preferential access to future transformation opportunities. We create a taxonomy of these options, and introduce a decision methodology for valuing alternative shared services transformation approaches. We illustrate this methodology by applying it in a real business case to justify a global firm's decision regarding the transformation of its finance organization.
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By Ning Su