The Qatar Foundation's shared services promotes "knowledge economy"

Posted: 08/10/2012

Qatar has the world's highest per capita GDP, grew by 14% in 2011, and tops the Forbes’ list of the world's richest countries. Its growth to date has come from oil & gas, but with what could be described as brave foresight and ambition, Qatar’s rulers have made the "knowledge" economy the focus for the future.

Gary Critchley, whom many of us know from his days as head of business services at the UK’s Marks & Spencer, has taken on an exciting new role to develop the Qatar foundation’s four-year-old shared services organization. So, what’s in store?

As Gary explains it, the Qatar foundation is pushing forward with a three-pronged approach: promoting education; building for research and development; and maintaining its culture through community development. The shared services organization is supporting each of these three pillars with 10 different service lines, so that they can focus on driving this challenging change project through.

Still relatively new to his job, Gary’s primary focus is on getting transparency across cost, service, and customer satisfaction. In this interview, he also tells us about one of his more unusual customers: Qatar’s unparalleled Equine Center,Al Shaqab,which contains a breeding and show program within a world-class facility. "Facilities management" as a service takes on a whole different meaning when you are talking about air-conditioned stables; and the "procurement" service lines includes buying foals and young mares.

Gary is working towards a 2020 strategy of achieving sustainable financing, i.e. self-funding status, for this not-for-profit organization. That, as well as "clear and efficient governance" are his primary goals.

The Qatar Foundation plans to be active as a thought-leader in the shared services world, joining in debates on best practice, and taking a leading role in setting standards. As such, Gary’s role as moderator of the 2012 European G6 panel puts the Qatar Foundation right where they want to be: center stage.

Watch the interview.

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