outsource issue 31 - (Page 44)
Paul Wickens is the Chief Executive of NICS Enterprise Shared Services, an
SSO established three years ago to serve the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
As part of an ongoing research project into shared services, researcher Kathleen
McLoughlin interviewed Paul on the formation of his organisation
and the importance of developing a coherent brand, embedding the concept
of enterprise right at the heart of the structure…
is an academic
Kathleen McLoughlin: How was
Enterprise Shared Services formed?
Paul Wickens: ESS was established in
January 2010 and tasked with integrating
six previously separate NI Civil Service
reform projects into a single, cohesive
organisation. For example through the NICS
reform programme we developed an IT
shared service centre from the ground up
called IT Assist. A strong business case was
made to bring it and the other IT, finance
and HR projects together within ESS – a
new directorate within the Department of
Finance and Personnel.
rationalisation and co-ordination of
specific skills (for example, contract and
supplier management) and the opportunity
to benchmark and share best practice.
Costs had to be reduced and there
was a range of systems and services that
required attention – many of which were
outdated and no longer fit for purpose. The
main problem was that all we were doing
was fire-fighting: putting out one system
at a time, without the opportunity to look at
the big picture.
As an example of this: HR had a number
of different payroll systems, some in a
fragile state, and with various contracts
that were due for renewal. On the finance
side there were different implementations
of Oracle financials throughout the NICS.
We then took the opportunity to look at
cost, but simultaneously, to consider an
overall transformation process, which would
consequently drive step changes in
quality, efficiency and effectiveness in five
areas (see Figure 1).
KM: What would you say was the
single driving force for developing
shared services? Was it the need for
civil service change or was it cost
reduction, quality improvement, and
better, more joined-up thinking?
PW: It was all of those things. The business
case gave us a mandate to have greater
clarity on accountability, a sharper focus
on customer experience, an enhanced
level of collaboration, co-ordination and
integration, improved efficiency through
“The Opposition aren’t really the Opposition. They’re just called the Opposition. But in fact they
are the Opposition in exile. The Civil Service are the Opposition in residence.” – Antony Jay
p44-47 Paul Wickens APP.indd 44
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of outsource issue 31
Keys to Driving Supply Chain Outsourcing Success
Biography of a Carve-Out
Culture and Values
Redefining the Law Firm Delivery Model
Sharing the Glory
Breaking the Outsourcing Conundrum
Back from the Summit
Losing the Race Before You Put On Your Trainers
Innovate to Accelerate
Making an Impact
Home or Away?
Dead and Buried?
So What Now?
The Legal View
The Deal Doctor
The Last Word
outsource issue 31