Debbie Ellis, head of shared services at the Department for Transport, set out new ways of using shared service systems at the Government IT conference in Westminster last week.
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The department has just seen a change of leadership and, Ellis said, "It has offered an opportunity to really look at how we can use support services and address business outcomes."
Prior to April 2007, Ellis said the focus was on the development of a SAP platform and opening a shared services centre in Swansea last year.
She said, the department had to ask what it was going to do with the system in Swansea.
"Nobody had really thought before about how, for example, we could use shared services to track sickness absence. We can generate a figures and use them to get more staff in the office and get productivity up. This kind of thing is a real busines outcome. Reducing costs just happens to be a benefit."
Ellis stressed the importance of putting customer focus at the heart of corporate strategy, and said "softer skills" such as speaking in "plain English" would help the project succeed.