We were in danger of spilling our coffee when we saw this story online, in which the White House appeared to be proclaiming that it wanted to move to a shared services model for its IT but complained that this was “hard“. You might think that an organisation involved in running a country, particularly a country of the size and complexity of the USA under a president whose approach is individual to say the least, would be used to “hard” as a concept.
The thing is that the actual clipping, from the Fedscoop site, confirms to us that nobody is shying away from the difficulties of the task. The approach being taken includes a shared services playbook and urging everyone whose services and systems might be affected to evaluate first and then take a methodical approach from there.
The headline, however, suggests that the White House has underestimated the task and that it’s deriding the whole process as “hard”. Frankly this is more than a little cheap. Yes, they were saying that moving to shared services is appealing but it’s hard (almost the exact wording of the headline) but everything is in the tone. They were more or less saying: yes, we see the benefits of shared services and we want to share insights about how to make it work and why it isn’t going to happen overnight.
It’s amazing how easily a bit of rephrasing can give you an entirely different impression. We wonder how many other reports on outsourcing and shared services make it look undesirable when all the interviewee is saying is “here are the practicalities”.