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Shared services and solid line reporting at NCR

In 2004, NCR, a technology company with five business units and a presence in more than 100 countries, had a law department of about 112 people, including 42 lawyers. As recounted in Rees Morrison, Law Department Administrators: Lessons from Leaders (Hildebrandt Inst. 2004) at 8, the department’s organizational structure consisted of resources dedicated and assigned to business units complemented by “shared services” groups.

In certain functions NCR took advantage of economies of scale to create a shared service. One example was the contract management function where the department had one contract manager in a certain location supporting all the business units because it was not cost effective to create positions dedicated to each of the five business units.

All law department employees, even those assigned to support business units, ultimately reported on a solid line to the General Counsel. Many of them also had a heavy reporting relationship to a client, but “when it comes to where the budget is — who gives them their performance appraisal; who promotes them; who gives them merit increases; salary adjustments; all of that–it’s the General Counsel on a worldwide basis.”

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