Shared Services is a term defining an operational philosophy that involves centralizing those administrative functions of a company that were once performed in separate divisions or locations. Services that can be shared among the various business units of a company include finance, purchasing, inventory, payroll, hiring, and information technology. For example, a central headquarters might control all the hiring for an entire chain of retail stores. The term "shared services" can also apply to partnerships formed between separate businesses. In this case, the tenants of an office building might share telecommunications or maintenance service. Shared services are also available on the Internet. An example of this form of shared services is Application Service Providers (ASPs) who offer numerous business clients access to online applications so they can avoid purchasing special systems and software.