Designing shared services processes : Inspired by the Gilbert model

During a shared service centre (SSC) project, my client, who was also the client of the SSC project team, asked me what was meant by the term “a holistic process design” and why it was important.

I drew the picture below on my pad to show four different types of processes. “I see!” she said, “a rugby ball.”  Thus the “Gilbert model” was named.

Gilbert Model of Shared Services Processes

The Gilbert Model

The problem for my client was that her SSC project team was focussing only on the processes for which the SSC itself would become responsible once the service went live.  Little if any thought was being given by them to any other processes, such as those my client operated, or to how these processes would connect with the SSC processes.

The SSC project team was also pre-occupied with the new technology it was introducing and was not giving very much attention to the manual parts of any of the processes that would form the overall future service when completed.

My client needed the project team to pay attention to the impact the SSC would have on the entire range of services and in particular the existing processes that she already operated and would continue to operate.

The Gilbert model describes four types of processes and how they fit together.  It provides a simple framework to group processes in an SSC project.

An SSC project must consider all the process types and their connections.  Though a focus on what will be new is understandable, some of the most strategic processes do not use new technology and do not involve the SSC. The Gilbert model helps to stop these processes being overlooked.

For my client, the Gilbert model illustrated the scope of her requirements and helped her to refocus the project team on vital aspects of the overall solution they were missing.

Paul McLintic is an adviser in HR shared services.

Email Paul McLintic at Blue Alumni