Shared services save money

Gartner believes shared services can cut costs by 20%

October 19, 2009

Gartner believes shared services can cut costs by 20%

Organizations can save as much as 10 to 20 percent of their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) costs by moving to a shared services model, according to Gartner.

Gartner analysts said that shared services have become a practical way for enterprises to provide ECM services, and vendors under pressure from the economy are now willing to work with the shared services model as a way to drive business.

“Enterprises have long struggled with multiple ECM deployments which have, in turn, created information silos and caused enterprises to pay for separate sets of software licenses, maintenance and support skills for too many ECM vendors,” said Mark Gilbert, research vice president at Gartner. “The troubled economy has forced many IT organizations to cut ECM costs, but traditional approaches to consolidating are slow, complex and costly. The shared services — or ECM as a service — approach promises at least a partial solution.”

The shared services approach is a delivery model in which an enterprise purchases ECM functions centrally and governs the types of services offered, while granting users a degree of ownership. The enterprise itself, or cloud-based service providers, can deliver these functions over the Internet, much the same as service-oriented architectures (SOAs) make reusable software procedures identifiable and callable. Shared services may also include support from experts on a particular topic, computing infrastructure and reference architectures.

Gilbert said that information architects and business planners involved with ECM should consider the benefits and limitations of shared services, whether they are practical today and the steps involved in implementation.