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7 Tips for Moving to a Global Shared Services IT Model

Vanguard CTO and principal of global investment systems Carol Dow shares insights gained during the firm's multiyear transition to a global shared services IT model.

[More About Vanguard's International IT Consolidation: Leveraging Advances in Bandwidth and Optimization Technologies ]

1. Do get commitment from the top.

"Having buy-in from both business and IT leadership is critical," Dow says. "Such a major endeavor requires cooperation and collaboration enterprisewide."

2. Don't underestimate the change management required.

"It's about the business and IT," Dow notes. "How you will deal with different regions, time zones, environments and cultures needs to be well planned."

3. Do implement strong master planning and coordination.

"While each business unit should manage its own decision making, planning and execution, ensure that you have a master plan — and a centralized project management team — that coordinates activities across the board," Dow advises.

4. Don't be opaque.

"Communicate your decision-making model, conflict-resolution process and all the other moving parts," she emphasizes. "Keep your employees top of mind, not only for how they participate, but also their morale and their future."

5. Do analyze and document completely.

"Know your dependencies from a business and IT perspective," Dow says. "Then fully document the dependencies and the architectural implications."

6. Don't underestimate the importance of 'local.'

"Whether it's local policies, procedures, compliance or legal, understand what needs to be globally consistent and what needs to remain local," she adds. "Striking the right balance is important for your business to be successful."

7. Do value diversities.

"We've shared best practices across the organization for both IT and the business," Dow relates. "It's enriched both sides."

[Vanguard Consolidates IT Infrastructure and Implements Shared Data Center.]

Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio

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