This paper explores the implementation of shared services, and in particular centers of excellence, in Swedish government agencies. It investigates how context shapes the translation of general guidelines on how to implement this type of backoffices. The study shows that the homogeneous picture drawn up in the management literature is not met in reality. Instead, different translations take place based on how context influences the implementation. This clearly shows that it does not exist one common approach as suggested in the literature. It proves that general guidelines cannot simply be applied by organizations, but that they rather need to be translated to fit an organization’s specific preconditions and demands. It also proves that the literature takes a too simple view on implementing shared services centers.