Police forces could save tens of millions of pounds through better procurement and leaving more duties to the private sector, a report said.
The CBI called on forces across England and Wales to share more back office functions and further integrate businesses in support services.
Researchers said putting private sector staff in jobs which did not require special police powers would boost frontline numbers and save cash.
The call echoed many senior officers who have said sharing expensive equipment and systems could help manage increasingly tight budgets.
A Government White Paper published last year spelled out how police must save £100m this year, rising to £545m annually by 2014.
But the CBI report was met with derision by frontline police who accused the organisation of simply attempting to fuel the interests of its members.
Paul McKeever, from the Police Federation of England and Wales, said many of the suggestions were "ill-informed" and policing cannot be treated like a business.
The report, A Frontline Force: Proposals For More Effective Policing, calls for a wide-ranging overhaul of how police services are delivered.
It focussed on administrative functions, such as human resources and IT, equipment procurement and the use of private staff in custody suites.
Researchers also said forces should share resources to meet peaks in demand and officers should receive performance-related pay.