Shared service has proven to be a key element when it comes to increasing government efficiency by collaboration. Here, we seek to investigate into the shared services phenomenon in the context of government reforms. For this purpose, an interview and document analysis-based multiple case study has been conducted in Germany. The qualitative analysis covers three shared service implementations on the local government level and identifies important preconditions for shared service emergence, namely cost pressure as motive, the existence of key actors promoting the topic and the existence of prior cooperation. Moreover, it is shown that the structure of such previous cooperation determines, if shared services are being organised in a centralised (shared service centre) or decentralised format (shared service network).