Optimizing Overhead: From Cost Center to Competitive Advantage

A strategy+business Reader | 2008

Great companies are always looking for ways to reduce general and administrative expenses — finance, human resources, information technology, legal services, facilities management, communications, procurement, and strategic planning. But cutting costs is counterproductive when it shortchanges your ability to grow, or hamstrings your best people. The answer lies with optimizing overhead: designing services from the market back, using IT more effectively, and looking beyond conventional approaches and geographical borders for solutions.

This in-depth guide by Strategy&’s unparalleled team of organizational experts is now in its second edition. It shows how to emulate the world’s most effective administrative leaders. Create a highly scalable strategic overhead structure that can shift quickly in the wake of mergers or new regulations. Use demand management to put market-facing decision makers in the driver’s seat. Align internal services with strategy. Capture the full value of your collective expertise through shared services. Distinguish those cases where outsourcing does and does not pay off, and then find the best providers offshore and on.

Optimizing Overhead: From Cost Center to Competitive Advantage includes an introduction authored by Vinay Couto and Dave Mader.