The CGIAR Consortium and its members form the largest international agricultural research network in the world, uniting research organisations for a food secure future. Entities like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many governments across the world contribute to an operating budget of over $1bn per year. With over 10,000 staff in more than 70 countries, the CGIAR Consortium is one of the most complex organisations we have worked with. 

The problem

Rapidly growing investments, which had doubled in the five years from 2008, brought opportunities and challenges to CGIAR. The potential to increase the total research base of the CGIAR Consortium was exciting, but the challenge was how to ensure and measure ongoing value for money. Having hit the $1bn mark, they had to make sure science translated into impact. They faced growing pressure to increase performance levels and meet exacting donor expectations of transparency and accountability.

The solution

The CGIAR Consortium engaged us for our shared services expertise. Implementing a shared services function reduced cost, meaning more funds could be directed to science. Integrating key functions led to a higher level of service from the back office and they can now add real value to the organisation.

They were looking to:

  • Benchmark current performance against competitors and other industries
  • Identify potential approaches to implementing shared services for key support functions
  • Calculate the potential savings of implementing shared services

Through the Elixirr Foundation, we worked with the Consortium to develop a compelling case to invest in shared services; both in terms of performance and financial benefits. The rationale for this was to strengthen CGIAR Consortium’s position as a transparent, accountable, cost-effective and efficient organisation.

The results

The case is being presented to the Consortium Board for support and funding. We hope to support the CGIAR Consortium on this journey into the future.