South African Environmental Observation Network

National Office Portfolios


The National Office is the administrative and coordination hub of SAEON. It houses the Office of the Managing Director of SAEON.

Other components of the National office include:

  • Science Engagement Unit comprising of office of the Coordinator of Education Outreach, 
  • Research Management unit comprising of offices of the EFTEON Manager, Observation Science Specialist and Research Administrator.
  • National Office Operations which essentially is the Shared Services Unit that provides supportive services to the nodes in an integrated manner.

Shared Services

The National Office Operations is the largest unit at the National Office in terms of numbers of portfolios and personnel. Its essence is the ‘Shared Services Model’: the concentration of company resources performing like activities that are typically spread across the organisation, in order to service multiple internal partners at lower cost and with higher service levels, with the common goal of meeting the expectations of customers and enhancing corporate value. From this concentration of resources comes a concentration in focus and an ability to keep all of the organisation’s goals in management’s line of sight. 

With respect to SAEON the Shared Services Model has meant that instead of having support services replicated at each of the seven nodes, they are rather concentrated and delivered from one location: at the National Office in Pretoria. All nodes share the services provided which include: 

  • Financial services
  • Procurement services
  • Assets management services
  • ICT services
  • Payroll services
  • HRM services
  • Corporate communication services
  • Corporate reporting services
  • Branding and marketing services

The Shared Services Business Model offers the following advantages:

  • Standardisation of services – all nodes obtain the same type and quality of service
  • Reduced operating costs –  same people provide services to all nodes as opposed to each node having its own full suite of support staff
  • Reduced transaction costs – all services provided from one location
  • Economies of scale – through central buying
  • Increased levels of compliance with statutory requirements
  • Concentration of competence results in greater efficiency and responsiveness
  • Suppliers deal with “one” SAEON – good for building a brand


The National Office Operations Unit is also responsible for reporting, enforcement and monitoring of the compliance with corporate governance dictates, as well as events management.